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7 Ways to Find Time to Write—Even if You Have None

SAJ_6136-1Pretty much no one has time to write a book nowadays. And that stops most people, but not everyone.

How about you?

Are you neglecting your book writing?

Or getting a little bit done here and there but wishing you could do more? Here are 7 tips to find time to write—strategies that work well for me and my clients::

  1. Go to bed an hour early; get up an hour early. That’s right. No need to skimp on sleep. In fact, the early sleep will be even better for you!
  2. Limit phone calls to 5 minutes—let the person know at the beginning of the call. You can even set a timer.
  3. Make the book your first thing. When you work on your book for an hour first thing in the morning, you will naturally find ways to decrease other activities that are less productive.
  4. Reward yourself: hold off on dinner out, a walk in the park or a video game until you’ve done your writing. The extra incentive can help you get it done. As in #3, when you put your book first, less important activities will naturally decrease in time.
  5. Order healthy take out once or twice a week or prepare large amounts and eat leftovers.PaperArtistOriginal_2014-07-21_16-46-56
  6. Replace yourself on a volunteer board. Volunteering is a wonderful thing, but you may need a break while writing your book. One of my clients used this strategy and it worked like magic—she suddenly found time to write every week.
  7. Use the book writing as an excuse to eliminate an activity that drains you. Some of my clients have told an exhausting friend they would not have much time for socializing during this period of book writing, others have dropped a project that felt like a “should” and not a passion and several of my therapist clients have fired a difficult client who isn’t willing to do the work to heal (ah, what a relief!).

Have a tip to share? Please share what helps you find time to write.

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Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. Liz says

    I’m “retired” which means I don’t have a “regular” job and I’m the on-call person for just about everything. Right now I’m the driver for one of the grandkids to his job in the next town. Rather than make 2 round trips I camp out at McDonalds a few blocks from his work. They have free wifi (when needed) and I’m too far away for quick little “grandma, can you ….?” I get hours of interruption free writing done five days a week. I almost dread when he’ll be able to buy a car.

    During NaNoWriMo, I announce to the family that I’m unavailable except for Thanksgiving and everyone tiptoes around me like I’m a sleeping baby. It’s almost funny, but then I can only pull that off one a year.

      • Ann Anderson says

        Hello Lisa,
        I have already finished most of my memoir. I basically just need it to be typed, double spaced, and checked before I actually put in book form and have it proof read to know if it’s good enough for publication. Please email me about how I can do this. Thanks, Ann

        • Lisa Tener says

          Hi Ann, Congratulations! So are you looking for someone to take handwriting and type the manuscript in? And then after that have someone proofread it? I would actually recommend you a) have someone type it in (this is a different skill set from what follows) b) have an editor read it and provide feedback – is it publishable? Are there any big picture changes the editor would recommend before publishing? Get that big picture feedback first. c) Hire an editor (likely the same person in b) to do a line edit. d) Hire a proofreader for final proof (the fresh set of eyes is very helpful here).
          Are you planning to self publish? If you are thinking of traditional publishing, you should know that you’ll need a book proposal, a strong following/platform, a book concept that’s extremely marketable and exquisite writing. Self-publishing would definitely be the easier and more likely path. I am happy to recommend an editor. You can contact me here.

  2. Dunstan Stober says

    These are useful tips and I particularly identify with point 7. I deleted my Facebook and now channelling that time to my book writing. Another thing I do is move to a different environment on weekends just to write.

    Thanks for sharing.


  1. […] book (or any creative project) by following award-winning book writing coach, Lisa Tener’s “7 Ways To Find Time to Write – Even if you Have None.”; read “The Minimalist’s Approach to Technology,” by The Minimalist […]

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