Your writing doesn’t take time, it makes time.

Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river that carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire. — Jorge Luis Borges

Your life is busy. More than usual — more than ever.
People depend on you: your partner, your co-workers, your children.
You work long hours/ you just moved/ you just started a new job.
You already wake up early to meditate/ work out/ practice yoga/ commute.
You have rescue dogs/ elderly parents/ a newborn/ 376 emails in your inbox.
You’re on the board, you belong to the book club, you are your sister’s wedding planner, you’re renovating your kitchen, selling your boat, revising your resume and looking for a job, Occupying the streets.

Forget about cooking dinner and doing laundry.

There are a finite number of hours in a day. Most of yours are non-negotiable.
These are not excuses: this is your full and beautiful (sometimes overwhelming) life!

How are you supposed to find time to write?

Here are five things I know about time:

  1. Einstein proved that time is relative. It feels absolute, but it isn’t. You make time. It comes from you.
  2. You can’t do everything for everyone and write. (You can’t do everything for everyone, period.)
  3. You are in charge of setting your own priorities around time. Your life is your own because you built it that way.
  4. When you complain about not having enough time to write, you are actually complaining about the decisions you have made.
  5. Balance is a verb, not a noun. Your life balance can’t be graphed on a pie chart – not if you’re living it.

Time for writing will not appear for you if you are not writing. You have to make it. You have to rebuild your life so that you write in it. There is no other way.

When you make time for writing, it will probably feel, at first, as though you are breaking your life. That’s okay. Think of your life as a glow stick: you have to break it to make it illuminate.


Try this experiment. For one week, write instead of doing something else.

Write instead of checking your email.
Write instead of meditating.
Write instead of reading the newspaper.
Write instead of phoning your parents.
Write instead of grocery shopping.
Write instead of going to work.
Write instead of taking a shower.

Do this every single day for one week, and tell me what happens.

One more thing: in my experience, thinking about not writing takes more time than writing does.




ps – when you have a minute (ha ha) check out this episode of Radiolab to crack open your perception of time. It’s not what you think.

Read the comments or add yours.

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dhana says:

oh my god, this is so great. Angie Abdou recommended your site, and I love it.Thanks for posting.

Sarah Selecky says:

Thank you so much! (and thank you, Angie!)

Maeg says:

I love this post! It’s funny, I recently wrote something similar on my own blog about making the mental shift from to a “make time” mind set. Thinking about “having” time is constricting, but making time is empowering.

I also LOVE your suggestion to write instead of doing something else. Letting certain things go has been huge for me in making time to write and paint, especially since my son was born nearly two years ago. When he was still a newborn I resolved to never do housework while he slept, even if there was lots of it. That left his naptime for me to do the things I love and know that time was waiting for me. It also made me a little batty about missed naps, but that is another story :)

Thanks, your posts are always great!

Sarah Selecky says:

Thanks Maeg! And I love your promise to do things you love during his naptime, instead of having to be “productive” in those other ways. Very wise.

Benedicte says:

Wow… Just wow… I fell upon your page via Wattpad and it has OPENED up my eyes! Thank you!!

Nim says:

What a wonderful article Sarah. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and what’s more, found it tremendously inspiring and motivating. I am writing my first novel at present, and like you rightly said, I try and make small pockets of time throughout the day to write. It is not always easy, especially when a dozen other commitments are demanding attention as well. I’m hoping to become more adept at charting out my different priorities and making time for what really matters. Many thanks again!

Sarah Selecky says:

Thanks for your kind words, Nim! May we both make time for our writing today. xo S

Darlene says:

I just spilled coffee all over this keyboard and until this minute I haven’t been able to use the space bar. If my space bar was still stuck, it would make it easier not to check my e-mails! Ok, I’ll resist the temptation…

What you said about thinking about writing taking more time than actually writing is VERY true for me too!!!! I think about it when we’re visiting someone or grocery shopping! My mind is on the writing I don’t have finished.
Thank you for this experiment. I love those things on your Facebook page too, but for now, I’m going to attempt to do those experiments. Hugs, Darlene

Kat says:

Get out of the house! Don’t stay there. You will never get anything done! LOL!

L M Porto says:

I’m so glad I found you!!!…I had been involved with other writers and their prompts, only to be edited and deleted!!!…Why you may ask yourself “she must have used swear words or porn” …. NO …. !! Not at all…..
I have suffered in my life, now is not the time to elaborate on why, however, I’m healthy and doing well, but when I write, yes, I can use that dark side to add mystery and interest to my stories….I couldn’t believe she felt it was not uplifting enough, of course, I can write happy, truthful, sad, adventurous, intelligent, comic…and I didn’t feel the need to edit my own words or have someone tell moi it wasn’t right!!! …Writing is an art form, of which I do other mediums; sculpting, abstract oils and pastels, photography, making and designing bracelets, etc. I like to have freedom in my work, regardless of the type………Freedom to express myself! Isn’t that what ART is all about?
I look forward to your prompts and can only hope you are pleased with my work, and I always accept criticism that is constructive.
Sincerely & Respectfully yours,

Ebadullah says:

I read it and my mind is forcing me into thinking of write write and write. whatever you suggest it is really amazing thanks for your guidance

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