It can be tough, of course. You’re raising a family, working overtime at the office, traveling on business, doing chores, running errands, changing diapers, carting your children hither and yon—well, maybe not all of those at the same time, but you get the idea. Where can you find the time to write?
Try writing in short bursts if you can’t cobble together longer stretches of time. Children’s nap time might be enough to get in a few paragraphs. If you’re waiting in a doctor’s office or taking a break at work, you at least have a few minutes to think about your novel and how to handle the scene you’re working on. Jot those thoughts down before they’re gone. Back in pre-computer days, I used to write notes and stuff them into my shirt pocket, but now it’s usually possible to send myself an email or write an electronic note on my iPhone. My friend Patty worked in a bank and raised four daughters, so she got out of bed in the wee hours every day so she could write in peace. Goodness knows she has more energy than I ever did, but she made time in her own way. But any quiet time, however brief, is time you can be either writing a few sentences or thinking through a plot problem. I suggest you not agonize over your first draft. Just get the story written, and address the problems later. To paraphrase various writing gurus, give yourself permission to write junk. It’s okay, because your first draft should be for your eyes only.
Can you do it? Of course you can. All you need is to write a page a day, and you’ve finished a draft in less than a year.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and follow my own advice.
Bob Sanchez is the author of Little Mountain and two other novels, available at tinyurl.com/bobsanchezauthor. They each took longer than a year to write, but he is getting better.