Thursday, December 12, 2013

During This Season of Giving—Give Yourself the Gift of Time to Write

Give Yourself the Gift of Time to Write

by Edie Melson

We writers are an odd lot. 

We’re driven to write, spending time composing poetry, writing books, researching articles. We doodle titles, character names, and plot ideas on scraps of paper. All the while feeling guilty about the time we spend pursuing our dream. I call it writer's guilt.

Everyone of us has felt the tug. it’s all part and parcel when you work at home. 

I’ve fought the battle for years—sometimes more successfully than others. And the craziest thing is the guilt is pretty much self imposed. My family is frequently more supportive of my writing time than I am.

So how have I solved this dilemma?

Years ago I made a conscious decision to give myself permission to make writing a priority. I gave myself the gift of time to write. Sometimes it would have been easier to avoid the blank page and not risk the failure. But I refused to cave into the fear.

Has it been worth it?

You bet it has! Not only have I gotten farther along with my goals and dreams, but it’s given me a self-confidence I didn’t expect. The more I make writing a priority, the better I get at it. Then the more success I have, which leads to the courage to push myself and reach for the stars.

Here are the steps I took to set aside time for writing:

1. Come up with a schedule and keep regular, consistent hours. Notice I said regular hours—not normal ones. For years I wrote with young children. That meant writing in the afternoons and after they were in bed. Just because you’re working odd hours doesn’t mean you can’t have a schedule.

2. Respect your dream. If your best friend, or child had a dream you’d encourage them to pursue it. Give yourself the same support that you’d give someone else. Trust me, you’re worth it!

3. Be consistent. If you’re not accepting calls from your mother-in-law because you’re working, don’t spend the afternoon on the phone with your best friend. Stay focused on your writing. This is even more critical if your time is at a premium.

4. Recruit a support team. Instead of adversaries, enlist your friends and family to help you reach your writing goals. Communicate those goals, clearly and frequently. Ask for their help to reach them. After all, what mother doesn’t want to help her baby succeed!

5. Share your victories. Let those that help you share in the joy of goals accomplished and milestones reached.

What do you do to make your writing time a priority? What interruptions do you struggle with the most? Share your thoughts and we’ll all support each other.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!




  1. Done! And only because I LOVE this site!! :)

  2. This is a great reminder to schedule time to write. I know I should do this, just like I should schedule time to exercise. Neither seems to happen. My interruption is checking email and social media, and following interesting bits around the internet. I need to schedule this, too, I know. Why is it so hard for me to plan and keep a schedule? There are just so many other things I need to do.

  3. Scheduling time to write seems to be the hardest thing I do. Must do it. And stick to it. :-)

  4. Sticking with a nightly schedule is #1. And finally making a writing space (in my college daughter's purple bedroom with kitten posters on the wall). My family is supportive, so that's not an issue. My biggest problem? FACEBOOK. If you see me commenting between 7pm and 8:30pm on a weeknight, please berate me with as much nastiness and you can conjure.

  5. Ah! That writer's guilt ... my imaginary friends' sworn enemy and closest friend! Thanks for reminding me to respect my dream. Love this post!