Time yourself writing for ten minutes and when you have done, check your word count. Ten minutes might not seem like a lot of time, but it’s surprising how many words you can sometimes write in that space.
Let’s say you were struggling to put words down and only managed 50 words. If you did that every day you could write 350 words a week. Over a year, you’d have written 18,200 words. Certainly not a novel, but it could be a novella, or even several short stories.
Now how about you managed to get words flowing, had a few distractions, but still managed to write 300 words. This will give you 2,100 for the week, or 109,200 words for the year. More than large enough for a novel. Obviously this is a first draft and you’ll need to find time to edit it, but a first draft is a really big step.
What many people don’t understand is that you don’t need hours at a time to write a novel. Several minutes here and there can help the words add up.
In 1997 the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that the average adult spends 2.5-3hrs a day watching TV. In the 2011-12 data they found that the average adult spent four hours each day doing sedentary activities such as watching television. If someone who watched 2.5 hours of TV a day used 30mins of that time to write and they average 900 words for the day, they could write 327,600 words in a year. Three to four books. I’m certainly not saying give up all your leisure time, because that’s important too, but some of it could be used for writing.
Making the Most of the Time You Have
If you can only manage 10 minutes a day, be ready to write when those minutes arrive. Have an idea of what you want to write before you sit down. Your mind can be thinking of the next scene and what needs to happen in it before you start to write. Keep pen and notepaper or recording device handy to collect the ideas you have throughout the day so you have ideas to use when you find the time to write.
Some people can focus regardless of what is going on around them. Others are distracted by every sound, movement or smell. If necessary, minimize distractions. Create an area to write that is free of the things that you know will distract you. One method you can use is headphones to listen to music you know won’t distract you and that will help block out random background noises.
When inspiration does strike, write. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but at least make notes so that when you do find time to write later hopefully you’ve captured the essence of that moment and can recreate the inspiration that urged you to write. This might mean you miss an episode of a show you like, or you’re a little late somewhere. The housework mightn’t get done until later or dinner is twenty minutes late. But what is more important to you? A spotless house or your words on the page?