No Time To Write?!

Keep It Simple

One of the biggest challenges many people face, is finding, and or making the time to “Write”. Do you write in the morning, afternoon or night?

Real life often gives us no time to write.

In an ideal world, we’d all have that perfect writer’s schedule. We’d rise early and toss out five thousand words before breakfast. We’d lead off lunch with a few hundred more, and after the kids were in bed, conclude the day with another thousand just because.

My life certainly looks nothing like that. Does yours? From personal experience, I’m here to tell you how to write when you have no time.

How to Write When You Have No Time

If you want to write when your schedule is crunched, it’s going to require a little bit of prep.

It’s worth the effort.

Think of it as marinating the chicken breast before you leave for work so it’s ready to cook when you come home: it’s prep that leads to a faster (and more delicious) delivery.

Step One: Decide You’re Going to Do This.

This has to be serious. Death-and-taxes serious. If you make this decision with anything less than your full heart, it’ll go the way of New Year’s resolutions and quick-fix diet plans. You have to decide to do this—and mean it.

That means TV can’t get in the way. That means closing the door (if you have one) between you and spouse, children, pets, etc.—at least for a few minutes.

They will all survive a few minutes without you. You can survive without them, too.

Step Two: Plan a Scene.

No, not the kind where you throw shoes and break crystal vases. I’m talking about a scene in your story.

I promise I will go into how to pick and choose scenes later. For right now, here is your definition of a scene: a single moment with a beginning, middle, and end, without the need for transition. It’s the bit between fade-to-black or any kind of time-skip.

Your planned scene doesn’t have to be in-depth. I’m not a plotter (though I wish I were), but even my pantsing style can handle planning out one scene ahead of time. I’ll give you an example.

  • Beginning: marching into the office to clock her required hours at her civil service job.
  • Middle: idiot coworker tosses all the mail down the incinerator instead of the mail slot.
  • End: “So now that the wedding certificate is ash, I am free. I can be anyone I want… but precisely who is that?”

Obviously, the details are needed between each of those items for them to make sense, but it’s a roadmap. It’s glow-in-the-dark stepping stones. Here’s a scene I’m planning out for my very next writing session:

  • Beginning: bored with teaching, escapes through the window and explores at night
  • Middle: meets HER, is taunted way above his head, has no idea what she’s promising/asking
  • End: returns to his room with that huge secret; doesn’t know that by keeping it, he’s changed the course of his life
  •  

A scene could be your character making a sandwich. It could be a single conversation. It could be one glimpse of contemplation on the road as your character heads into work.

You can plan that scene while waiting for email from your boss, or watching your smallest child brush her teeth, or idling at a traffic light.

Plan a scene. Ahead of time.

Step Three (The Writing Part): Set Aside Five Minutes.

You saw that right. Five minutes.

This needs to be five minutes without interruption. Tell your spouse about it; politely ask your children for the space (and ignore them if they interrupt those five minutes—that’s just teaching them boundaries, not bad parenting). Shut off the phone. Close Twitter.

Make sure you have a timer. You can use the one at the end of this page. You can also (as I learned) type “timer” into Google search, and the Google search page itself will give you a timer. Nifty.

Are you distracted by noise? Put on noise-cancelling headphones or those little rubber earplugs.

Don’t look out the window.

Don’t doubt.

Don’t judge yourself.

Don’t question whether you can do this. You can.

Sit down. Start the timer. And without stopping to correct typos or any other error, write the scene you planned out from start to finish.

Yeah, it’s that simple. Yeah. It really is.

6 Final Tips for Writing When You Have No Time

If you need some extra mental fortification, here are six final tips:

  • Anyone can manage five minutes. Most bathroom breaks are longer. It takes just a little bit more time than that to brew coffee. Don’t see it as impossible; believe it’s possible, and you’ll find it is.
  • Do. Not. Stop. Not while the timer is going. Even if your writing is filled with horrific typos, keep going. Even if you couldn’t remember that word and had to put, “and then she asked me about the [WHAT THE HECK IS THE NAME OF THAT SCIENCE STUDYING BIRDS], but all I could tell her was I thought the Potoo was the funniest looking bird I’ve ever seen.” (And it is, if you’ve never seen it. The Potoo looks like a Muppet.) Look up the missing word (ornithology) later. During those five minutes, you don’t stop writing for hell or high water.
  • The world will try to steal those five minutes. Seriously. THAT will be when the toilet overflows, or the cat swallows the other cat’s tail, or some kid with a tricycle crashes into your front porch. Keep. Writing. Five minutes; anyone and any situation (except maybe the choking-on-a-tail one) can afford five minutes.
  • Did I mention to avoid editing? Don’t reword. Don’t delete. It doesn’t matter if what you just wrote wasn’t the best phrasing; what matters is you got it down, and you can fix it later.
  • Just write like someone cut open your brain and you’re bleeding words.
  • Write the scene.

I know this sounds like it won’t help you, but believe me, it will.

Look at it this way: if you can grab six five-minute spots during a day (and you can do far more than that, believe me), then you’ve gotten in half an hour of writing—and if you planned out your scenes ahead of time, that’s potentially five whole scenes in one day.

Do you see where this is going?

FAITH Strategies For Beginners

Keep It Simple

Today, we are going to talk about a subject that has always fascinated me, we are going to look into this idea of faith and two people whom God finds to have the greatest faith.

One is a Canaanite woman, of whom He says, “Woman, your faith is great!” And the second person was actually a Roman officer.

The Lord says, “It will be done to you according to your faith” (Matt. 9:29). You see, if my faith is little, it will be done to me according to my faith. That means that if there is just a small amount of faith, then that is the size of the funnel that His blessings, guidance and revelations will come through.

A Woman of Great Faith

One such person of great faith was a woman who initially approached Jesus in desperation. And for great reason: her daughter was demon-possessed.

“… a Canaanite woman came out from that region and began to cry out, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.’ But he did not answer her a word. And His disciples came to Him and kept asking Him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she is shouting out after us’” (Matt. 15:22-23).

Jesus’ response to her seems completely out of character — He doesn’t answer her a word.That rejection, from Jesus Himself, was a pretty hard blow. In fact, for most of us, I thinkthat would have been enough to stop us dead in our tracks. But not this Gentile woman.

This woman had such a persistent and resolute—even stubborn—faith that she receivedthe blessing she needed: her daughter was healed at once. In other words, you’ve got to have the faith necessary for this type of miracle to take place. And what kind of faith is it?

The first quality of “great faith” this woman shows is …

1. A Faith that Pursues God’s Best 

The first quality of great faith is a faith that is determined and stubborn, relentlessly pursuing God’s best for your life and for those around you. You cannot wallow yourself to get thrown or dissuaded from that. You must pursue it with all that you are!

This Canaanite woman refused to be dissuaded or discouraged. In fact, she continued topursue Jesus even more vehemently!

God is looking for that kind of faith — one that keeps asking, keeps seeking and keeps knocking in pursuit of God’s best. This is a quality that transforms a mediocre faith into a marvelous faith.

We are going to have problems. We are going to run into walls. But we, like this Canaanite woman, must refuse to give up! That’s a hallmark and a necessity of great faith.

2. A Faith that Refuses to be Offended

This Canaanite woman absolutely refused to be offended: “… She came and began to bow down before Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’ He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ But she said, ‘Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus said to her, ‘Oh, woman, your faith is great’” (Matt. 15:25-28).

I don’t know about you, but if someone called me a dog, I’d be a little offended! Yet, this lady refused. In her heart, she had to say, “No. This is not a hill I am going to die on.” She made an internal choice not to get hung up on a lesser offense because she was battling a larger war. Instead, she answered Him so wonderfully.

Do you know that when I take offense, it diminishes my faith to the point where it turns into unbelief? It’s that serious! And because we make that first fatal choice to take offense, it ultimately leads to unbelief, which wipes out any chance for the miraculous to take place. If we want the miraculous, we must choose to refuse to take offense!

Another instance of faith is found in Jesus’ interaction with a Roman centurion, a commander of the very army that oppressed the Jews. Yet, this man stunned Jesus with his faith.

Not only did this many portray a jaw-dropping faith, he was able to “wow” Jesus by displaying a last quality of a great faith:

3. A Faith that Acts on God’s Word

“… the centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I, too, am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.’ Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled, and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel!’” (Matt. 8:8-10).

This kind of faith was a great, rare and dumbfounding kind of faith.

What about it was so striking? It was the fact that the soldier said, “Lord, You don’t have to go. You just say the word and I know it’s done!” This showed the Lord that this man believed the Word of God and acted on it.

Do you believe God’s Word? And do you act on it?

Believing God for What He Says

One of the most difficult dichotomies in our lives is that we know what God says, but how much do we really believe?How much of it do we act on?

First, you have to know what God is saying in order to do it. And in order to know what He is saying, if you have not developed a time for daily devotions, I encourage you to please start now.

The more you apply what God says to you, the more it depicts the depth of relationship that you have with Him.

How much do you apply? Your answer to that question will reflect a depth of relationship. And if I really trust Him for His Word and there is a wonderful relationship, then I will act upon it. And through that, God will begin to do wonderful miracles in my life and through me into other people’s lives, too.