That may seem like a funny question because as online Christian communicators and leaders, it feels like we are writing all the time.
We write newsletters and social media posts. We comment on other blogs. We send emails of encouragement to friends and colleagues.
But when it comes to writing the words closest to our hearts, it often seems there is no time for that.
Perhaps it is not so much a time thing, as it is a words thing. After all that other writing, we are completely worded out and there are none left for the message God has given us to share.
So if it feels like you never have time to write those important words, here are ten tips to recover your passion for your message and find time to write.
Make time to write 300 – 500 words every day.
Sometimes we make it too complicated, waiting until we have two or three hours to sit down and write. Create the discipline of writing at least a little while every day. They don’t have to be reader-ready words. You can come back later and clean them up. But get them out of your head and on to paper in small chunks.
Write shortly after your time with the Lord.
What you write may be unrelated to what you are reading and praying about in your quiet time, and that’s ok. That time when we feel most connected to the Lord is when we have some of our best words. So give your message the “first fruits” of your worship with Jesus.
Decide what you will give up to have time to write.
Is that popular Netflix show more binge-worthy than the words spilling out of your heart? Are able to spend one or two lunch hours each week on your writing? If you are truly committed to your message, it is going to cost you something to complete it.
Be prepared to write anywhere and everywhere.
Carry a notebook with you always, or your laptop if you are able. Learn to use dictation on your phone. Be ready when inspiration or unexpected time make their way into your day.
Create a specific place to write.
Even if it is just a small table in the corner of a room, have a place where your laptop can be set up and your study materials are nearby so you don’t have to drag things out when it’s time to write. Make it comfortable and appealing so that when you sit down, your brain automatically shifts to inspiration mode.
Use your “day dreaming” as mental preparation time to write.
The physical act of writing is only part of the writing process. Much of writing is the mental act of weighing the options of what to write, thinking of the intended audience, wrestling through analogies, intros and closings. Do all of that mental work as you day dream in the shower, while washing dishes, folding clothes, driving to work …. all of the dead time throughout your day. Replace the trivial things that normally consume your thought life with preparation for writing.
Eliminate distractions while you write.
Turning off the phone, shutting down email and social media, and silencing your notifications will make your writing time more productive.
Give up your expectations of perfection.
Whether it’s the perfectly cleaned house, or the perfectly worded paragraph, or the perfectly quiet time to write, let go of the expectation that everything has to be “just so” before you can write. Because it is never going to be “just so.” Author E. B. White said, “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” Don’t be that writer.
Give yourself a deadline.
If you don’t have one from a publisher or other assignment, give yourself a deadline to complete your writing project. Somehow, we always find time to do things when there is a deadline, but are more prone to procrastination when the timeline is allowed to float.
Decide that writing is important and treat it that way.
I’ve heard many people say that writing feels like a “treat” and all of their other responsibilities should be complete before they can spend time writing. If God has given you a message to share and shown you that the time to do it is now, your writing time is no longer something “extra” you do, but right up there with your most important responsibilities. So give it the respect it is due. Set appointments with yourself to write and keep them just like you would an important doctor appointment.
The best way I know to recover your passion and make time to write is to write. If you’ve been making excuses, letting busy work substitute for your best writing, just write. One well-crafted sentence captured before it vanishes can re-ignite your fire and motivate you to keep moving forward.