Finding Time to Write by Darlene Foster

Finding Time to Write

You have a great idea for a book. You’ve been thinking about it for a long time, probably years. But you’re too busy with a job, kids, aging parents, volunteer work and life in general. So you put off writing the book. But it is always there, nagging you, begging to be written. If only you had time to write!

Sound familiar?

For many, writing a book seems like an insurmountable task. So they never even start. That is where the problem is, they are thinking about writing an entire book.  Like any large, time-consuming project, to make it happen the task needs to be broken down into doable amounts.

A good way to do this is to set goals – long term, med term and short term goals. These goals should be realistic and time limited. And that will be different for everyone.

A long term goal could be to have a book completed in a certain amount of time. Depending on your circumstances it could be six months, one year or more. I gave myself three years to write my first book. I knew if I made the time too short, I would set myself up for failure.

A midterm goal could be to write a chapter a month (or more or less). In three years I could have a 36 chapter book completed. That sounded doable for me.

Short term goals could be to write for two hours a day, five days a week, that’s only 10 hours a week.

Now how to find those two hours? After all there are only 24 hours in a day and we do need to sleep. Here are a few ideas that have worked for me and other writers I know:

  1. Give up 2 hours of TV a day
  2. Write during your lunch break at work
  3. Get up early and write before the busyness starts
  4. Write on public transport, on trains and planes or as a passenger in a car. (I wouldn’t advise writing while you are driving the car though)
  5. Write after everyone is in bed
  6. Write while waiting for an appointment or for a friend
  7. Always carry a notepad, just in case
  8. Cook large amounts on the weekend so you can warm up leftovers for meals during the week saves a lot of time
  9. Delegate some household chores to children or a spouse. They may not be done to your standards but they will be done!
  10. Hire a maid (OK, this is not always feasible since writers don’t make much money but we can always dream)

The thought of writing a book doesn’t seem so overwhelming when it is broken down into baby steps. Somebody recently reminded me that writing a book is like eating an elephant, it can be done, one bite at a time.

In three years I had my first book written while working full time, volunteering, and having a busy social life, by using this method. Since then I have written eight books, a number of short stories and articles using this method. I can now write a book in a year but without setting goals, I would have never started the first book and would still be saying, I want to write a book someday.

A goal without a deadline is just a dream!

My latest book, Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind would be a perfect read for Halloween

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

New Mexico is indeed an enchanting place, and Darlene Foster brings it to lovely, haunting life in this instalment of Amanda’s adventures. Sixth-grader Amanda is a brave traveller, up for anything, and definitely doesn’t believe in ghosts…but even she starts getting spooked and wondering if she needs to change her mind when she goes on a class trip to Taos and vicinity, with all its Old West locales with turbulent pasts. Delightful armchair travel, as ever from Darlene’s books, as well as enticingly spooky ghost stories–what’s not to like? Molly R.

Brought up on a ranch in Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world and meeting interesting people. Following her dreams, she’s now an award-winning author of children’s travel adventure books, short stories and travel articles. She divides her time on the west coast of Canada and on the Costa Blanca of Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

Follow her on social media

Find her books:


About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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39 Responses to Finding Time to Write by Darlene Foster

  1. L. Marie says:

    Looks like a really fun series!
    Great tips. I’ve definitely done the first seven. I wish I could do number 10!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Darlene says:

    Thanks so much for featuring me on your blog Charles! Not sure why the Amazon link didn’t work but here is the link to the series if anyone is interested in checking out my books.


  3. Lovely advice, Darlene, I also do some of these things to find time for writing. Thanks for hosting Darlene, Charles.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Darlene says:

    Reblogged this on Darlene Foster's Blog and commented:
    I am very happy to be a guest of Charles Yallowitz at Legends of Windemere where I share some tips on how to find time to write. Charles is a prolific writer himself. Check out his amazing fantasy series.


  5. Yes, excellent advice. I think for me, I need to write for an hour first thing in the morning, or I get lost in the thick pile (virtual and real) of blogging and e-mails and social media. It’s easier for you and me now, Darlene. But I wrote my first book when my kids were teens and needed a lot of back and forth driving here and there and everywhere. But every day as dinner was cooking or baking or sautéing, I raced to my computer and wrote. We did have some over-cooked food :–), but it was worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very good advice, Darlene. Thinking of writing a whole book can be overwhelming, so those short-term goals really help.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fantastic tips! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wonderful to see you over here, Darlene. I tweeted it out too, so I hope it helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sue Slaght says:

    Such great and practical tips for finding the time to write. You are a true inspiration Darlene. You don’t just dream the dream you make it happen!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. marianbeaman says:

    Writers must find their own groove(s). I write daily and find cooking and gym workouts the best counterbalances to the solitary writing life. Hubby, now retired, helps with housework and some cooking. I’m lucky, I know.

    Thank you for the tips, Darlene! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Darlene says:

      So true, different things work for different writers, but the key is to write! We also need a balance (and a great spouse who is willing to help out). You and I are both lucky!!


  11. Teri Polen says:

    Excellent suggestions, Darlene. I’ve been tinkering with things like this myself trying to find more time.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for featuring Darlene on your blog Charles. Great tips Darlene, not only for writers, but for most projects….

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Darlene Foster is a guest of Charles Yallowitz: Finding Time to Write | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  14. Pingback: Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! | Pain Pals

  15. A goal without a deadline is just a dream. That’s perfect. Great tips.


  16. I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic since returning from my first writing residency which inspired my November blog post. Your list for finding writing time is fantastic. I especially love “hire a maid”. Should have done that one a long time ago.


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