Monday, April 23, 2018

3 Powerful Words to Help You Find Time to Write

by Bethany Jett @BetJett

Time is a precious commodity. In fact, if you can find a way to save someone time, you’re likely to turn the person into a raving fan. 

For writers who have other responsibilities—is everyone raising their hand?­—finding the time to write seems problematic. However, the advice that great writers and bestselling authors give when talking about writing is usually the same: simply sit down and write, even if it means getting up early or staying up late.

I agree with that advice, but sometimes you can fit writing into your daily routine, although I am literally writing this at 11:52 PM. Sometimes it’s easier to accept advice than to actually follow it. 

However, I’ve found that there are three little but powerful words that can help us to find time to write without losing our minds.

3 Powerful Words
1. Say Yes.
We don’t need to stay up late and get up early, so say yes to one of those options for a season. It’s difficult to change your routine This isn’t popular advice, and probably where I get the most fallback when I say it out loud on a webinar or a conference.

This is the statement where people take a step back and subconsciously shake their head at me. Yet the truth of the matter is this: sometimes you have to stay up late and sometimes you have to get up early, even if you don’t feel like it. Not because you want to, but because something inside of you makesyou.

2. Say No.
This is another hard one. I was working as a Virtual Assistant (VA) for over a year for a client. I was making $15 an hour, but I wasn’t working as many hours as I needed to. I was also “on call” with emails from clients all over the U.S., so it kept me tied to my computer and while I liked my client very much, it was a bit stressful. 

But I held on to that job as long as possible because I was grateful for the little bit of money each week. It was usually grocery money or money that I didn’t feel so guilty spending on the “extras.” I saw it as a gift from God.

However, when I finally let go, I was able to take what I’d learned and really focus on starting my own freelance business. I knew where my skills were because I’d been practicing them. Once I let go, I created margin in my schedule, and God blessed my letting go of what was goodby giving me the opportunity for something better.

It's okay to say no. 

It's okay to let go of volunteer opportunities. 

It's okay to let someone else step in your shoes and fill your role. 

Sometimes God has something bigger for us, but we're holding on so tightly to something else that we can't accept the blessing.

3. Say Now.
If you have a laptop, there’s little excuse for not writing. 

There are in-between moments during our day when we choose to read, clean, cook, work, play with our kids, browse social media, or fill-in-the-blank. Why not choose those moments, the “why not now” moments to tap out a few paragraphs or start a rough draft?

The kitchen counter is the perfect height to act like a stand-up desk. Take advantage of the time when the water is boiling, or something’s heating up in the oven, to write a first draft, or start editing something you’ve already started.

You don’t have to write four drafts in one sitting. We need to let our words have a break so they can simmer in our hearts and marinate in our minds. Getting a couple hundred words out at a time may not make them great words, but they give you a baseline when you can spare twenty minutes to edit your work.

A Great Example
A friend of mine is a single mom working two jobs andgoing to school full-time. How does she do it? Honestly, she writes all of her term papers on her phoneduring her breaks. She doesn’t have access to a computer during the day, so she uses her iPhone Notes application.

And she’s got a 4.0 GPA.

It’s amazing what we can do when we are truly motivated and have this burning itch inside of us to accomplish something. And if the burning desire and motivation aren’t there…we sit and write anyway, because the discipline of the work is crucial for us to grow.

Get Up Early Tips...
If you want to get up early...
  • Join a social media group for early birds. A lot of people work full-time jobs and this extra hour in the morning allows them to work on their side hustle. It's a great place to be accountable.
  • Use a sleep app on your phone to wake you up at the optimum time. The Sleep Cycle app senses when you're in your REM stages and sets off the alarm at the peak of your restful state. If you want to be up at 5 AM, it will wake you up as close to 5 AM as possible at the highest point of light sleep.
  • Go to bed early. It can be difficult to fall asleep when you’re used to staying up late, but a nice trick is to dim your lights in the evening, turn off the television, and shut down your laptop. Read a few chapters of a book or put on a slumber mask and drift off to sleep.

What are your tips to find time to write? Be sure to share your thoughts below.

3 Powerful words to help you find time to write - @BetJett on @EdieMelson (click to tweet)

Time is a precious commodity, @BetJett shares 3 ways to find more time to write on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Bethany Jett is an award-winning author, speaker, military spouse, grad student, homeschool momma-of-boys, suspense-novel junkie, as well as the co-owner of Serious Writer, Inc, VP of Platinum Literary Services, and occasional blogger at She describes herself as “mid-maintenance” and loves cute shoes and all things girly. Get her free #LiveBrilliant 30-day checklist here.


  1. Bethany, with 20 years of traditional publishing, I will say this worked for me right from the beginning. Wonderful post!

    1. That is so encouraging! I find myself having to revisit this all the time!

  2. Thanks for the great advice Ms. Bethany. While it's pretty challenging to write while driving a tractor, I do have a desk and Internet connectivity in my workshop. I also have pens and note paper everywhere. I like being prepared. Have a blessed day ma'am.

    1. I love that you have pens and paper with you -- you never know where inspiration will strike!

  3. My new mantra: say yes, say no, say now! Thank you, Bethany.

  4. I find the hard part of writing is when I'm unhappy with something I've been working on/with. At that point I will procrastinate to getting back to it. The solution to that has been honesty. That's when I grab myself by my lapels and get in my own face. Short of slapping me around I throw me into the chair and say, straighten up and get back to it. Through posts like this I am retraining myself to look for more opportunities...but not on the tractor, Jim. LOL

  5. Bethany, such a great post! I've had a hard time writing lately. Life has had a lot of uncertainty and busy-ness. But I can say yes, say no, and say now. Sometimes, I need to clear away the clutter of other things so I can focus on writing. When I feel stuck at some point in my story, it's hard to keep moving forward. Taking time to make sure I haven't gotten off track helps me, as does talking with trusted writing friends. Sometimes, I need perspective from those who aren't as close to the story as I am.

    And when I'm hot into a first draft, I am diligent to get up early to give me more time to write.

    Great post!

  6. "It's okay to let go of volunteer opportunities.
    It's okay to let someone else step in your shoes and fill your role.
    Sometimes God has something bigger for us, but we're holding on so tightly to something else that we can't accept the blessing."
    This applies strongly to something ELSE in my life right now, so thanks doubly!

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  8. I agree, Bethany. Sometimes I'll write till 3:00 AM, sleep till 9:00 AM, shower, and then go to work a full day. Sure I look like a zombie, but I'm learning to do whatever it takes to get the writing done. Thanks for the great post, my sweet friend.

    1. 'Tis true!! Been there - and probably doing the same thing tonight!!! Love ya!