How to Find Time to Write by Lapping the Couch

ACFWAdvice, Authors and writing, Time Management, writing 1 Comment

by Cindy Ervin Huff @Cindyhuff11Huff

Getting start on your novel is like starting on an exercise routine. Some of us moan we don’t have time while others get off the couch and take a few steps, do a few stretches, stroll around the living room and lap the couch a few times. After a while they’ve gotten strong enough and confident enough to perhaps run laps on a track.

Starting out as a writer is similar. We’re convinced we don’t have enough time in our busy lives to write a novel. But like starting with small amounts of exercise, a few laps around the couch, we sit on that couch and whine that others have their novels published, but we can’t find the time.

I recently counseled a new writer who truly wanted to get more serious about writing but was struggling to find the time. She admitted she didn’t know how to make the time. I talked about grabbing moments rather than hours. I call it lapping the couch.

Life happens, and we don’t always have hours of time to write. But as I came to realize while caring for grandchildren and my parents that it was better to lap the couch than sit on it, bemoaning my lack of quality time to write.

Instead, I began taking the moments I could. I learned that if I wrote only a few hundred words a day overtime I would have 50,000 to 80,000 words of a finished novel. Yes, it took longer, but I was moving forward and would eventually accomplish my goal of a finished novel.

A few times I went to Panera and sat among strangers to finish edits. I can’t create in a crowded room, but I can edit. Go figure. But I found where I can effectively lap the couch with more and more words and accomplish my writing goal.

Have you ever sat on the couch while your child watches My Little Pony streaming several episodes or your family watches sports? These are longer times to create. Either sitting with them (if you can focus on your laptop with the TV on) or in another room. For those of you who once upon a time did your homework during commercial, use those minutes to add more words to your novel.

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You know yourself and how your brain process creativity in various locations and times of day. Grab those minutes. Even if you need absolute quiet and go to the library or coffee shop for a few hours a week you are still lapping the couch you used to sit and moan on.

I hate to admit I actually sketched out a scene during a Sunday sermon. Something that was shared spurred the idea. Rather than wait until I got home, I jotted it down. When I worked, I did the same thing. There were times at my receptionist’s job had moments when the phones were quiet, and I was caught up with my paperwork. That’s when I scribbled the inspiration that came to me during those quiet moments. I came home with my pockets full of little scraps of paper filled with parts of a chapter or a character sketch. I piled up all those papers near my laptop, so the next time I had some moments, I found it easier to craft more of my novel from those notes.

Don’t compare your progress to others. Instead, keep lapping the couch every day and it will surprise you how productive you have become.

Do you have times you have to settle for looping the couch?

Cindy Ervin Huff is an Award-winning author of Historical and Contemporary Romance. She loves infusing hope into her stories of broken people. She addicted to reading and chocolate. Her idea of a vacation is visiting historical sites and an ideal date with her hubby of almost fifty years would be the theater. Visit her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok.

Comments 1

  1. Wee hours crawl by on turtle-feet,
    demon-fears moan in the night,
    and thus I’m guessing it’s a meet
    time to lay the whip, to write
    of that which I hide in the day
    (there always is so much to do!);
    in still watches I must say
    the things that I wish were not true.
    It’s not how I would choose to die,
    being beaten down by cancer,
    never daring to ask Why,
    fearing I won’t like the answer,
    but maybe all this serves God’s need
    to those whom these words may read.

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