How do you find time to write?
Every author is different, so I can only speak for myself. For me, writing falls into two main categories.
Blogging. I’m often asked how I can blog almost every day. Well, it takes time, but maybe not as much time as people think. I almost never post something on Sunday. If I post in Saturday it is usually a brief quote. Fewer people read blogs on the weekends anyways. Monday is usually a video clip. That leaves, most weeks, four days of writing. I try to make sure at least two days are good, original pieces. On the other days, I might post something I’ve written elsewhere or comment briefly on an item I read somewhere else. Or, heaven forbid, I might just not post at all.
More and more I do most of my blogging on one or two days. On Tuesday I like to get things lined up for the rest of the week. Then on Friday or Saturday I put posts in the queue for Monday and Tuesday. I admit I often blog on my day off, Monday, but this is a habit I am trying to break. All in all, the time spent on a week of blogging varies widely, depending on how long and involved my new writing is. A week of blogging, on average, takes 3-5 hours. If I am asked to write an article, I like to make sure that whatever I write can double-dip as a blog entry at some point.
I’m not sure where I get the time. Sometimes I work on a piece after the kids are in bed (if my wife doesn’t mind). Mostly though I crank something out first thing in the morning when I get to work. And believe it or not, I like writing enough and it feels different enough that I will take a 20-30 minute break during sermon prep to write for my blog. Writing can be like intellectual cross-training, a different exercise when another part of the brain gets tired.
Books. I can do editing work on a book with little snatches of time here or there, but serious writing takes extended time away. A couple years ago my graciously graciously allowed for a four week study leave each year. Since our church follows the rhythms of the university it works well for me to be gone for a month in the summer. In July, my family and I will travel to Colorado to spend time with my wife’s parents. I go the library during the day while my wife and kids get to enjoy vacation with family. It’s a great arrangement.
Is four weeks enough time to write a book? That depends. How fast do you write? How long is the book? Are you writing from scratch or converting sermons to print? Two of my books have been co-authored and Just Do Something was short. But without this time away I would not be able to write much of anything.
On a related note, I’m often asked how I manage my time. Good question. I don’t always. I said yes to too many speaking requests last year and said yes to too many writing requests this year. I’m learning. A small group of elders now oversees my speaking requests and tries to make sure I am keeping my priorities straight. This has been a big help, as has the addition of an administrative assistant.