I am often asked how I find time to write. Many ministry leaders have told me they have ideas they want to communicate; they just can’t seem to find the time to sit down and put their thoughts on paper (or screen).
Here’s the simple truth: I don’t find time to write, I make time.
If I waited for time to just appear, I’d never “find” it. Instead, I have learned to make time in my schedule: small amounts most days, and larger chunks every week.
I have a self-imposed assignment of one blog post per weekday. I also have a running list of other writing projects, including articles, books, resources and online courses. All of these require a lot of time spent in the writing process: from idea germination to research to rumination to actual output of words on paper. Again, there is no way I’d ever “find” that much time to write.
That means I need to make time. To make time, I need to make writing a priority. To make writing a priority, I need to say no to other very good opportunities and invitations, or fit them into my non-writing time. To say no to these opportunities, I need to sometimes disappoint people or miss out on other fun things: TV shows, lunches and other social opportunities, an extra hour of sleep.
In my ideal week, I block out most of Tuesday and Thursday to write. I try to keep appointments to a minimum those days, to really stay in the writing groove. I also work on research and pre-writing on other days of the week. I read voraciously. I keep an idea file with me all the time (via Evernote on my iPhone) and am always jotting down thoughts, ideas, phrases, and connections.
You probably don’t need to structure your life around writing. But you may need to adjust your schedule and your priorities. Create an extra hour here or there, and the physical and emotional space to facilitate the flow of ideas from your head to the printed page.
Doing what you really want to do can be great fun, but it also comes with a price. If you really want to write (or do anything that’s important to you, for that matter), don’t wait to find time. Make time for it.