Community,  Organization,  Time Management

How To Fit Writing Into Your Time-Crunched Life

We’re all time-crunched.

Fitting writing in is a huge challenge.

If you’re time-crunched you’ll find writing is a tough fit. To write, you squeeze in a few minutes here or there. You may lug your laptop around everywhere you go, or you may have a notebook and a favorite pen in your bag, ready to go at a moments notice. Or you may even have voice to text software and you’re not afraid to look a little silly speaking into your phone when inspiration hits. You are a 10 minute novelist and you are writing the best you can.

Or are you?

Maybe you’re not. Maybe you believe the best place to write is in a secluded cabin. Or maybe you believe that all you really need is a good two hour chunk somewhere and then you’d be productive. Maybe you think you need all the new apps or all the new software to get the job done. Or maybe you think that quitting that day job and living hand to mouth a while will motivate you. Maybe you just don’t know how to fit your writing goals in to your world?

Never fear! A few of us have figured this out. We’re 10 Minute Novelists. We’re time-crunched and busy. We have a lot of commitments. But we’re still finding time to pursue our dreams.

How To Fit Writing Into Your Time-Crunched Life

10 Minute Novelists don’t use ‘time-crunched’ as an excuse not to write.

Sandy Stuckless If you have a day job, write on your lunch break…in your car.
Become nocturnal. Write when the owls are awake to keep you company. Turn off the dang TV! It rots your brain anyway! Headphones, especially the noise canceling ones are your best friend. Even if you’re not listening to anything. People think you are and leave you alone.

10 Minute Novelists look for time leaks and make the most of them.

Mariah Danielle Rhudy I’m currently writing in the car with my laptop, external keyboard, and Dr Pepper while waiting for the kids I babysit to get out of school! The car-rider line is the best place to write!

10 Minute Novelists get up earlier.

Harry Marks I have 2 hours in the morning to write before the workday starts. I get up at 4:30 every morning to make sure this happens. I also write on my lunch break and if the motion sickness doesn’t kill me, on the phone on my train ride home in the evening.

10 Minute Novelists stay up later.

Sophia Ryan I keep a recorder on my nightstand so if a perfect piece of prose or dialog blossoms in my brain while I’m in bed, I can capture it immediately. Otherwise I’ll forget it in the morning. Hubby no longer wakes at hearing me whisper strange things in the dark.

10 Minute Novelists sacrifice something else.

Stephanie Smith Diamond I turn off the wifi on all my devices in order to avoid distractions.

10 Minute Novelists set small and manageable goals.

Mariah E. Wilson  When my kids were small I got in the habit of having a notebook with me at all times. I’d find ten minutes while cooking dinner or when the kids were occupied. It’s easier to find time now that they’re older, but I still have a notebook wherever I go.
Meg Brummer I set my computer in a central location and make a goal to write at least five words every time I walk by. Even when I’m really busy I end up with hundreds of words from “drive-by writing” like this.

10 Minute Novelists have a plan and then work that plan!

Dave Burnham I write during my 30 minute lunch break at my day job. I get up earlier at weekends to try and do more and once every couple of weeks I go to the local Panera with my laptop for a couple of hours. If I’m out for the day  I have a notebook and pencil in the car. I sit and write while my wife’s hitting the outlets (after she’s bribed me with coffee to go there!)

10 Minute Novelists make the most of every opportunity.

Molly Neely I rely heavily on the memo app I installed on my phone. That way, I can write during my breaks & lunches when I’m at work.

Sharon Kathleene I take my pen and paper into the bathroom with me, and I don’t care if it’s gross! It might only be a few minutes here or there, but I’m usually able to bang out a couple hundred words while I have NOTHING ELSE TO DO.

10 Minute Novelists get creative when it comes to their family time.

Shannyn Jordan I unleash the 4 year old on the cats hoping they can distract her long enough for me to write a hundred words.

Laura Salinas If you can give the kids a job that you would normally do quickly but they’ll take 10 minutes to do that will buy you some time something like put the cans away my general rule is will they hurt it or will it hurt them and if neither is true give them more responsibilities those minutes add up and you’re instilling a good work ethic in the short people.

Eric Johnson Send family to the store. Arrange playdates, and tell their spouse they can go to the bar with their friends. Fake your own kidnapping.  Then hide in garage to write. Claim abduction by UFO. Threaten housework., and when family leaves write. 

None of the writers quoted above have a fancy cabin in the woods.

They don’t have four or five hours a day to crank out words. They don’t fit the stereotype that most writers fall into. But all of these time-crunched 10 Minute Novelists have one goal: to write a little bit as often as they can.

10 Minute Novelists believe that momentum and consistency is more important than time allotted or word count.

If you look at your time-crunched life, and squeeze in a little bit of writing here and there you can be a 10 Minute Novelist too!

I am a fiction writing and time management coach. I help time crunched novelists strengthen their craft, manage their time and gain confidence so they can find readers for their stories.

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community. 

Katharine Grubb has mastered the art of freewriting because she wrote her first novel in 10 minute increments. There are probably easier ways to write a book, but with homeschooling her five children, she’ll take what she can get. Her latest book, Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day was just released and is available on She lives in Massachusetts and blogs at

One Comment

  • Sarah

    This iss ooooooo me. It was really encouraging to find out I’m not the only one this insane. I’ll be checking out the Facebook page!

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