Writing When You Have No Time To Write

I meet people all the time who say “I would love to write a book, but I’m really busy.” I’m busy has replaced I’m fine as the default response for “how are you?” It kind of reminds me of The Incredibles: when everyone is busy, no one is.

At this point, you are likely thinking “this idiot doesn’t understand me, I really am busy.”

Just to level set, I’m busy too. I have a full time job as a senior leader in a global enterprise (read: overtime every day, every week), I am a full-time graduate student pursuing a second masters degree, I have three kids, and a spouse. (BTW bragging about how busy you are has become the new American sickness).

Okay. You are busy; I am busy. So how do I find time to write?

One: Have a ubiquitous writing tool. I use Google docs. Google docs allows me to write on my home computer, continue on the same doc on my iPhone, and bang out a few words on my work computer. 

Two: Write in the gap time. Everyone has “gap time”. “Gap time” is when your time is engaged but your mind is not.  Examples of gap time:

  • TV
  • Waiting on hold
  • Standing in line
  • Sitting in the bathroom. 

Wait… you write in the bathroom?

Kinda adds a new meaning to… 


How much can you seriously write in “gap time”?

Well… Infinitely more than not writing. If you write zero words normally, even one word is infinitely more than you write now. But let’s assume you have three gaps a day and you write one sentence in each gap.  An average sentence is 14 words (thanks, Google), so you are writing 42 words a day. That’s 15,330 words in a year. Wikipedia defines a novel as anything over 40,000 words. So it will take you about 2.6 years to write your first novel.

2.6 years? That’s too long. 

Okay. So don’t write anything. Come back in 2.6 years and let me know what you did in your gap time. We can compare notes. 


One thought on “Writing When You Have No Time To Write

  1. My mother would often approach me with these ideas for projects, and I’d say, “Sounds great. Get on it.”

    “Well, I want you to do it.”

    She would argue with me that I was just more driven than her, as if I didn’t succumb to laziness or procrastination like anything else. It is actually surprisingly annoying when someone tells you that you’re a writer because you are more driven, or more creative, or “aren’t as busy.” It’s like, I am the same as you, except that I found a solution.


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