Friday, October 3, 2014

Learning to Say NO Can Give You More Time to Write

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

Saying no can free up space to say yes.
I don’t mean no to writing opportunities—say no to some other things in your life. We all only have so much time in a day. And if you’re like me, it’s filled to overflowing. So that means changing some priorities. 

Sounds easy, but to anyone who’s tried, it can be tough to carve out time for writing. 

Here are some tips I’ve used to help me realign my life.
Decide where you want to go with your writing. You don’t have to schedule your time to get there overnight, but to get there, you do need to know where you’re going.

Take an inventory at what’s happening in your life right now. This is also going affect how much time you can realistically spend on writing.

Now answer these two question:
What are you doing now, that you love MORE than writing? 
What are you doing now that you DON’T love more than writing?

Map out a plan that works with your life
These are the factors you need to consider to begin to map out a plan that works for you.

To help you see how to apply what you've learned I'll share my answers when I first started writing. This will help you see how it gave me a plan for my writing.

I was a stay-at-home mom with three school-age boys. I had a goal to eventually earn a full-time living with my writing. I also didn’t want to loose family time or even what little adult time my husband and I had to spend together in the evening.

My writing schedule developed from these parameters. Every night after family time, I’d retire with my husband. When he went to sleep, I’d get up and start writing. I’d usually write until three or four o’clock in the morning, then I’d go to bed. 

In the morning, my husband would get up with the boys and get them off to school. I’d get up later in the morning and be fresh when the boys got home from school. It might have been unorthodox, but it worked perfectly.

What did I give up? Lunches with friends and other daytime activities. I also stayed on a budget so I could afford to attend at least two writing conferences every year.

I’ve never found a way to do it all. But I have discovered there is time enough for what I truly love.

What about you? How do you make time for writing?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


  1. When I had a full-time day job, I would get up at 4:00 a.m. to carve out writing time that didn't take away from my work or my wife. It gave me almost two hours of writing time every day. My mentor, DiAnn Mills, gave me the best writing advice ever: GET UP EARLIER.
    I don't think we ever find the time to write. We make the time. And that means making decisions about what's important and what's not. It means saying "No" to some things so we can say "Yes" to writing.
    To paraphrase Jack London: We can't wait for time to write. We have to go after it with a club.

    1. Henry, love that story! Thanks so much for sharing, Blessings, E

  2. I'm laughing at Henry's post. He's never let me forget it! But our writing is a calling and a gift, and if we say yes to everything then we short change the one thing we can do well.

    1. DiAnn, I've finally learned that while I can (in some ways) have it all - I can't have it all at once! Choices are hard, but worth making. Thanks for dropping by, blessings, E

    2. "I can have it all, but I can't have it all at once." What a great way to put life in perspective, Edie. Thanks for that one.

    3. Ellen, that's been a particularly difficult lesson for me to learn! Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

  3. I get up early every morning. It works. It just works. The opposite would be true of the night owl I guess

    1. Chris, when I speak I often talk about a quiet time with God, and how important it is. The one thing I share about my quiet time is that it doesn't come early in the morning. No one, not even God, wants to spend time with me then. (Just a joke and a way to make a point). The point being that I'm a night owl and my extra time comes then. It's the way God designed me and I'm finally good with that! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Blessings, E

  4. A particularly timely post. Thanks, Edie.

    I do better late at night. Unfortunately, our daily schedule necessitates I get up early in the morning, so that means I have to make time wherever I can.

    It has helped immensely to stop watching TV (cold turkey) about six years ago. You wouldn't believe the amount of time that frees up.

    Also, taking time to read Bible and have prayer on a daily basis is the absolute best thing I can do to promote writing time. When I think I need to shortchange those two things to gain time, I end up losing time.

    1. Carrie, you're so right. There are times when we night owls need to adjust our schedule to the needs of those around us. Thanks so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

  5. I needed to hear this today - it's a simple thing, really, what do I love more than writing? My family and God. Let the other stuff move down the priority list. Thanks Edie!

    1. Julia, I'm so glad this was helpful! Blessings, E