Find More Time to Write By Neglecting Your Family

They’ll thank you when you’re famous

Photo by Radu Florin on Unsplash

It’s difficult to find the time to write in our hectic modern lives. With day jobs, family commitments, housework and crafting that perfect social media persona to fit in, writing is often way down the to-do list for a lot of us — even though we are writers.

But there’s a trick many people miss. You don’t have to write only in your spare time — you can sneak writing in when you’re doing something else. For example:

Write while you’re driving

You don’t need two hands to drive, right? There’s only one steering wheel. Prop a notepad up against that wheel and get scribbling with your free hand! Just remember, your first draft need not be good, particularly when other drivers are distracting you by honking their horns and your kids are in the back screaming something about being on the wrong side of the road and how you’re all going to die.

Write when your kids aren’t there

This one is easy if you’re a stay-at-home parent and your kids are in school, but what if they’re not old enough yet? Don’t worry — the world is teeming with people who will take those troublesome dream-smashing little humans off your hands for a little while.

Other family members would be ideal but if not, consider your friends, or, at a push, total strangers. You might strike it lucky and find a stranger who is weirdly into looking after your children. And once they’re out of the house, you’ve got the freedom to get those words down. Remember: writing every day will make you a better writer, and looking after your children every day will make that shady drifter a better childminder.

Write when your wife leaves you

She’s not too happy that you let a violent maniac known as “Stab-Happy Steve” look after your children but hey, they didn’t actually get stabbed (they would surely have mentioned that). Still, after she has packed her things and left (taking the kids with her, two birds with one stone) the house is yours. Who cares about the chores when it’s just you? Get those words down instead! Time spent writing isn’t time wasted.

Write during your divorce proceedings

The lawyers will hash out most of it. While they chat about splitting your assets and visitation rights and blah, blah, blah, you can finally solve that knotty plot problem. More good news — the kids aren’t present and your wife cries silently. No distractions!

Write during your trial for child endangerment

It turns out driving on the wrong side of the road with your kids in the car and then gifting them to a junkie with a criminal record in some kind of offence. Who knew? The good news is you don’t have to talk much at the trial if you don’t want to. When you’ve said your piece you can grab that notebook and get a few thousand words done, easy.

Boy, that judge really can talk, huh? While his monologue about dangerous this and narcissistic that isn’t very interesting, you might pick up a few legal tidbits for use in that legal thriller you want to start. Research is important.

Write in prison

Well, you’ve got nothing else to do. Isn’t this what you wanted? Sure, your family may never look you in the eye again but they will feel pretty damn stupid when they see how many likes your latest fan fiction gets online.

Thanks for reading! Keep in touch on Facebook or Twitter, or join the mailing list.

David is an author and freelance writer. He has two short story collections available, and his non-fiction work has appeared on The Mighty, WhatCulture and Just Football, among others.

Navigating parenting with a disability and trying to write a novel. Email:

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