Making Time to Write


We’re on the brink of autumn and it seems like everyone is starting something new. School is back in, classes are starting, and most of us are trying to figure out a way to balance work, life, and writing. It’s easy to say “This weekend I’m going to really sit down and get some writing done” and much harder to actually do it. If you’re really looking for the best way to make time for your writing then you have to make yourself accountable.

Here are just a few ways you can make the commitment to show up for your writing.

Writing Buddies
Your writing budding is like a workout buddy. You schedule a time and place to meet every week, and you sit and write together. If you feel like flaking out, you already know that you’ll be letting someone else down, which significantly decreases your flake-out factor. But because you’re meeting with only one other person, be a little picky about who you choose. The rule is that your time is to be spent on writing while you’re together, and if he or she can’t adhere to that then it’s time to find a new buddy.

Writing Groups
I’m not talking about critique groups here, I’m talking about a timed-writing group. This is the way my writing group functions and it’s how I get most of my writing done each week. We meet at a local café and we sit and write silently together for one hour. Sometimes members share afterwards and sometimes they don’t, but the focus is always on the actual writing. You can start your own timed-writing group, or you can look around your local area to see what kinds of other writing groups might be available to you with a similar focus.

Shut Up and Write
This awesome program has meet-up groups in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Santa Monica, NYC and Austin TX, to name just a few cities. You have to RSVP to join one of the meet-ups so you’ll know that you’re expected to really show up and participate, another good way to decrease your flake-out factor. One of the added benefits of this group is that you can network with other writers and there’s a good chance you’ll come out of it with new writer friends. Shut Up and Write is also well-known for its marathon stretches of writing so if you’re one of those writers that doesn’t get really warmed up until you’ve been writing for a couple of hours it will be a perfect fit.

Every Friday night tons of writers across all different time zones tune in to Twitter to join in #WriteClub. Writers participate by writing in sprints and then tweeting their word counts and/or number of pages written to the leader of that Friday night’s round of #WriteClub. You can find out more by following @FriNightWrites on Twitter and reading their post “What Exactly Is #WriteClub?”

Betting to Win
This last method is for those who work better under threat of punishment rather than reward. Pick a friend who will hold you to your word and bet that friend that you will write a certain amount of pages each week. If you fall below your page count, you owe them money. If you don’t write at all, amounts are raised and you owe them even more. The key is to pick someone who will keep you honest and demand to see your pages if they think you’re trying to get out of the deal. The chance of losing money is strong initiative to follow through on your writing goals, plus it makes everything just a little more interesting.

If you want to get serious about cranking out the pages, look at your writing schedule and consider where it can be improved. Think about your particular writing personality and what would work best for your type. Then pick one of the methods above and go for it. You have nothing to lose and only more pages to gain!

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  • Reply Gilly 26 August, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I did not know about #WriteClub or @FriNightWrites. Thanks so much!

  • Reply Marie Ann Bailey 27 August, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Great tips, Lauren. I’m glad you included #WriteClub. I prefer to write alone but then that leaves me open to doing something other than writing 🙂 #WriteClub might be a good resource for me.

  • Reply kellyfbarr 27 August, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Hi Lauren,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking one of my posts. I hope you will visit again, or better yet, become a follower. 🙂

    I like your blog. I will visit again, and I think I will follow you.

    Keep writing,


  • Reply Paul Sutton Reeves 27 August, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Top tips, Lauren, for those of us struggle to find the time and energy to write in our busy lives.

    Aaarghhh! Back to college, bringing to an end a summer of not much writing! And I’ve lost my day off for writing next term. As your post suggests, one needs to be all the more determined in these circumstances.

  • Reply Writing and Personality: The Introvert Within | 1WriteWay 28 August, 2013 at 5:22 am

    […] Candace Johnson at Change It Up Editing and Writing Services who had shared Lauren Sapala’s blog post on making time to write.  [That is an excellent post, by the way.]  From there, I saw another […]

  • Reply Phillip McCollum 28 August, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Great article Lauren. We all need that short term motivation when the long term isn’t cutting it. A website I like to use sometimes is Write or Die ( They have a mobile app as well as web-based solution, which I use.

    The best part is there are different levels of motivation…one setting will begin erasing your words if you stop for too long.. 🙂

    • Reply Lauren Sapala 28 August, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      Oh that looks awesome! Thanks for passing it along!

  • Reply Kim 28 August, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Lauren, these ideas are timely for me. I had decided to join a local open writing group that was meeting today and had to talk myself out of flaking all the way there (nervous!). Imagine my disappointment when only two people showed up, and the group leader was a no-show. But I’m proud of myself for at least showing up. (Also, thanks for visiting my blog — I’m glad it led me to yours!)

    • Reply Lauren Sapala 28 August, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      I’m really proud of you for showing up! I get really nervous about stuff like that too. And who knows, maybe you and the one other person who showed will become good writing partners 🙂

  • Reply Pooya 29 August, 2013 at 2:40 am

    Interesting tips. Thank you

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