5 writing ideas for people who have “no time to write.”
You want to write.
You’d love to get into a rhythm where you are writing “something” every single day.
Except writing takes time and time is something you do not have.
Many writing coaches and teachers will respond by saying, “That’s no excuse — you must MAKE TIME for your creative dreams!” which, frankly, is excellent advice.
But when you’re suffocating under the weight of your own busyness — exhausted and overwhelmed by a tornado-frenzy of responsibilities yanking you in every direction — the “MAKE TIME” advice can be tough to follow.
Here’s some different advice:
If you don’t have much time to write, fine.
Accept that time is in short supply, at least for right now.
But instead of not writing AT ALL, just change your writing goals.
Choose satisfying, exciting micro-projects that really, truly don’t take much time to complete.
1. Play a game of Tarot-etry.
Tarot + Poetry = Tarot-etry.
It’s a game that I invented. (I play it with students at all of my writing workshops. People who insist that they are “not poets” start churning out poems and it’s like, whoa).
Shuffle a Tarot deck. Pull a card. Take a few seconds to study the images. Set a timer for 60 seconds. Then, write a poem inspired by the card. It can be a three-word poem, a haiku, a limerick, a rap, unfiltered stream of consciousness, anything you want. No rules. Just write.
2. Write one short letter every morning.
Legendary fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg begins each workday by sending one email to someone in her life just to say “hello” or “thank you.”
Try setting a timer for 5 minutes and sending one short email (or handwritten note) to one person, every day, for ten days in a row. See what happens to your heart — and your life.
3. Send a smutty text.
“Sexting” totally counts as “creative writing” as far as I’m concerned!
Send a salacious text message to your sweetheart and make them blush at work. Hot tips: right here. You will have fun and… you might get laid. You’re welcome.
4. Write one true sentence a day.
… Just like my friend Nicole.
She’s handwriting each sentence on a note card, snapping a photo of each one, and sharing her collection on Instagram. Her goal: one true sentence a day for 100 days. Such a simple, beautiful body of work.
5. Abandon your blog.
Maybe the issue isn’t REALLY that you “don’t have time to write.” Maybe you’re just bored of the type of writing you’ve been doing and you desperately want permission to shake things up. Permission: granted. Make some new art! You are a grown up. You are allowed!
Perhaps you could temporarily park your blog on the back burner, for example, and spend some time writing erotic fiction, podcasting, recording soothing audio meditations, designing an online quiz or publishing an old school ‘zine or any of these other things.
The miracle of writing is that you do NOT necessarily need “tons of time” in order to craft something that impacts people deeply.
With just eight words scrawled on an index card — “You are doing a great job. Thank you.” — you can alter the course of someone’s entire day, week, or life.
And get this: some of history’s finest works of art were created in a sudden lightning flash. Minimal time investment. Huge creative outpouring.
Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road in less than a month.
Queen and David Bowie wrote “Under Pressure” during a jam session one night. (Then they went out and got pizza).
It’s been rumored that Dolly Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene,” two of her greatest hits of all time, in a single evening. (I believe it).
If you want to make something wonderful, having plenty of time is a delightful luxury — though not a requirement.
The reality is that…
If you have ten seconds to spare, then you have time to write.
Maybe you will only be able to type out one sentence.
But that “one sentence” could change someone’s life.