How to write a novel if you have no time

Writing every day can sound like a daunting task to many aspiring writers and novelists. I mentioned in my previous blog post about the importance of making time and challenging yourself to commit if you want to make writing a career, and how the prospect of coming home from a full time job and sitting in front of you computer can seem daunting. But let’s tackle this together.


My name is Christopher Sergi. I’m a novelist and a blogger going through the same journey you are: being a writer! Feel free to comment your thoughts below on the topics that come up in this tutorial, for not only do I want you to be a better writer, but I do too! We can learn and have fun together. Want to know more about me? Click here to read my bio, or follow me on Instagram to join me on my adventures. 😉


So, how important is writing to you?

For many, and myself included (just check out my bucket list), the idea of writing and publishing a novel is something so many people wish to do. It’s the dream, right, to take a working vacation, travel somewhere warm and beautiful and put pen to paper, basking in, not only the sunshine, but the validation that you achieved something monumental.

But let’s be realistic. Many of us are still destined to be worker bees, buzzing from home to work and back again to make ends meet, and sadly, that dream of creation and novelisation is but dust in the wind.

So ask yourself, and be brutally honest, how important is writing to you? Is it a hobby? Fine, take your time with it and have fun, my friend. Or is it a burning passion that sears your insides like a nuclear power plant in meltdown? It is? Blooming fantastic! By telling yourself that writing is important to you – that it’s an absolute necessity you can’t live without – then finding and freeing up time for yourself will come more naturally.

Understand we ALL have the same 24 hours.

Believe it or not, but Steve Jobs of Apple, Elon Musk of Tesla And Jeff Bezos of Amazon all have one thing in common, and it just so happens to be the same thing you have. 24 hours in a day. But okay, they have other things going for them I know, things that have helped them achieve what some of us can only dream of, but let’s break this down.

clear glass with red sand grainer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Just like them, regardless of what academic background or luck they all may have, they, like you, have the same time in a day to achieve something. It’s all about making goals and sticking to them. It’s about prioritising even when you have commitments leaking out your ears, and it’s about managing your time down to the minute. Sounds like hard work, right?

So ask yourself: ‘Am I being honest when I say I don’t have time?’ I for one am a prime example of wacky time management. I have a 40 hour a week job in the city, I commute 10 hours a week, I study for 20 hours, I blog like I’m doing here around 10 hours a week and I try to read as much as I can also, and yet I have also managed to write 2 novels. Yes it’s hard. But it’s achievable. And believe me, if I can do it, so can you.

What are you willing to sacrifice?

Does this sound familiar? No? Okay, let me explain. When writing fiction, you have your protagonist, your main character! Now when it comes to writing a good character, one where the readers fall in love with them and support them on their journey and cry when they cry, it’s because you’ve included something important, and that’s the sacrifice.

Sacrifices are important, and you know why, because just like your protagonists in your novels, they help you develop and evolve! Evolution is so important for writers, it will help you move forward and be progressive, and better yet, it will prove to yourself you’ve got the brawn to put what’s important first, and that’s your writing.

So you may be wondering: what sort f things can I sacrifice? Well first of all, make sure your sacrifice is sustainable, and by that I mean something you can keep up for not just a few weeks, but potentially months or even years. Don’t just start sleeping 6 hours instead of 8 if you know it’ll make you unwell. I’m talking cutting out the soap operas, seeing your best friend maybe once a week instead of twice, or maybe, and please don’t bite my head off, quitting your favourite activity.

Identify your priorities. What is urgent and what is important?

Okay I’ll be honest. I do not have children. I do not have dependants. And I do not have a mortgage. At least not yet. So please forgive me if I sound insensitive, but if there’s one thing I do know, is that we are all human, we are all unique and we all have our own whirlwinds and crazy lives to think about. We all have our own set of priorities.

person using mop on floor
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

But please think about the first point I made in this post. How much passion do you have for writing? If it is as you identified, a burning passion that will never be extinguished, then it will be a priority. But don’t be silly about this. Think carefully about what is urgent and what is important in your life.

Urgency is of course something you can hardly avoid. It is urgent to be at your work meetings, and it is urgent to make sure your children don’t go unfed. But is it urgent to get all of your laundry ironed? Is it urgent to spring clean the house? Is it urgent to see that friend you haven’t seen in a few months? Well, it’s up to you to determine whether these things are urgent (meaning they must be done without question) or important (meaning they must be done, but they are not a priority) once you have determined what is urgent and what is important, you can move forward and make time for your writing.

Eliminate non-urgent and non-important activities. What is valuable?

I could go on and on about what is urgent and what is important, but I not want to bore you, but I will come to close with just a few other points about eliminating activities that are not only non-urgent and non-important but also determining what is valuable to you.

Is it valuable to be on Instagram for that 1 hour everyday? Is it valuable to watch Game of Thrones on time, or is it valuable to spend hours cooking exotic and exciting dishes for you and your family? But what exactly is value? Value is when you regard something as useful and progressive to your current situation.

If being on Instagram is valuable to you because it increases your likelihood of garnering an audience for your business or brand, then yes it is valuable, but if you use it for entertainment purposes, then it may be time to eliminate this time-consuming activity to make room for what is valuable, that of your writing.

Conclusion

I’ve just realised something. Everything written here can in fact be applied to any activity  in life. Not just writing a novel, but basically anything you want to dedicate more time to. You can use the points above to cram in more study, read more books, paint more pictures or bake more cakes. Whatever your passion is, you can prioritise your time by identifying what is valuable and eliminating activities that are non- urgent and unimportant.

But just remember, never try to force writing into your life, instead allow it to filter in comfortably until you are as familiar with it as you are brushing your teeth or having lunch. Enjoy it, my friends! 😉


I really hope this has helped you to evaluate your time management. I must admit I love making up a timetable for my writing. It helps me to see myself as a professional, and the skill can be applied to almost any activity as well. It may feel odd at first to find yourself brutalising habits, but hit me up by messaging me if you fancy a chat, comment below to start a discussion, or better yet, sign up to my monthly newsletter to hear the latest. 😉

 

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