Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I Don’t Have Time to Write by Angela Arndt

Smartphone games
I see you. You’re nodding and saying, “See? Someone finally understands. I’ve got to take the kids to school, go to work, pick them up in the afternoon, help with homework, cook dinner, wash dishes, put them to bed, then fall into bed myself. I’m so glad someone finally understands.”

Ahem. Wrong. You know there’s a story rattling around in your head. But writing is not a one-of-these-days concept. Someday will never come.

But you do have bits and pieces of time you can use so you can start writing today. How? Here are a few suggestions to help you find time:

Instead of playing Candy Crush, Solitaire, or Words with Friends, (you knew I'd start here) jot down a few ideas in an email and send it to yourself with the subject line: WIP. (Just using the acronym for “work-in-progress” feels writerly, doesn’t it?)


On-hold with the insurance company, Department of Motor Vehicles, or doctor’s office? Close your eyes and imagine your opening scene: your hero or heroine in an action scene that will leave your readers wanting more. 
Jot down a few notes: what did you see, smell, touch, feel or even taste? After you hang-up, quickly use your phone’s voice recorder app to describe the scene in detail. Then, save the audio file to your WIP file. 

Bonus: use Apple Dictation and Google Docs Voice Typing to save time (they will transcribe as you dictate).

Taking Back More Time
Designate one spiral-bound notebook for your WIP notes and take it everywhere: from the doctor’s office, back to the exam room. If you’re blessed with “flying thumbs,” then open the text app on your phone and write away. There at least two multi-published authors who have written their ENTIRE BOOK on their phones. Honestly.
Someone forgot their notebook.

Dream Download

Speaking of having a notebook with you at all times, here’s another tip: keep it by your bed. Why?

 A professor I had (a Rhodes Scholar) said our brains continue to wrestle with our problems while we sleep. Have you ever woken up at 3 a.m. with a great idea? That’s your brain’s background processes at work. 

Use the light from your smartphone or a small book light to jot down the highlights of the dream in your notebook so you can read it in the morning. Or if you can talk without slurring or waking your spouse, use your speech-to-text app.


Keep all those WIP emails in one place by setting up smart folders and filters in your email program. Use Share command to save voice memos to that folder.

Excuses, Excuses!

Waiting for the perfect time to sit for hours at a time in your local coffee shop is an excuse. Instead, grab every moment you can and write, write, write!

Next week I’ll talk about specific apps and programs that can help you take back time.

Where have you found time to write? What’s keeping you from writing the next Great American Novel?

About the Author

Angela Arndt
 Angela Arndt is Jesus-follower and God-lover. She loves to write women’s fiction with a thread of romance and tell stories of strong, independent women in difficult situations. Her biggest hope is that she will encourage others to overcome their own “back roads” to find their joy in the Lord.

She and her husband, Charles, live on a bee farm in the middle of a big wood with their three furbabies: Beau, Harley, and Buddy the Wonder Dog.

She's also team-member of Seriously Write. Click here for more posts by Angie. By the way, s
he'd love for you to join her on her website, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook


  1. Angie, you caught me! Guilty of wasting time and then claiming I don't have time to write. I used to write on my lunch break. And I always kept a craft book in the car to read when I was stuck waiting places.

    1. Hey, sweet friend! I'm stepping on my own toes, too. Good for you for reading a craft book during those in-between times!

      It is so hard to train our brain to "get into the writing zone," but imagine the extra hours we'd have if we did! Wouldn't it be great?

      Thanks for commenting! Hugs!!

  2. Angie, I do utilize my memo space in my phone often. And I just get up in the middle of the night if inspiration hits. I struggle with writing when I am not actively inspired. Thank you for this encouragement boost today.

    1. Hey, way to go! :) It's great that make that effort and type up those notes, even in the middle of the night.

      And yes, it's so hard to get into "the zone." If I close my eyes and daydreaming or "'tend like" (as I did as a child) fools our brain into thinking that writing is fun (which it is)!

      And thanks for taking the time to post your comment! We appreciate you!

  3. This is a great message. There is time to write, even if it's a few words a day. :-)

    1. As a sweet friend says, forward motion is the goal. I’m glad you liked it! Thanks so much for commenting. ❤️

  4. I always carry a notebook in my purse, and I keep one in my nightstand. You're right! Ideas can come any time, including in the middle of the night! I also send notes/ideas to my email box through my phone email. Just quick little points so I don't forget them!

    1. All great ideas, Dawn! It makes for a heavy purse, but it’s definitely worth it, right? Hugs, friend!

  5. Great suggestions, Angie! Seems like we talked about this recently. Now I just need to implement your ideas. When I worked full-time, I used some of those tricks but they've gone by the wayside lately. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Seems like we talk about this every week! You can help me do the same, please. ;)

  6. Google Docs Voice Typing? I'm WAAAYYY behind the 8 ball because I don't know about a couple of things you've mentioned here! I'd better catch up! And I used to have email on my phone but for some reason it's tanked and I've deleted it and then downloaded it again but it still won't work. I do make notes on my WIP in Evernote but don't get them on to my computer wirelessly. Time to get in the 21st century. Thanks so much for this post. :) I need these time-blasters!

    1. Hey, Laurie! Sorry I'm so late replying. No excuse, I just didn't see your comment until today.

      Re: Google docs dictation. Yes! Isn't it great? And I just found it while researching this post. Here's a couple of websites, that may help: https://bit.ly/2hrqInO from PC Magazine and http://bit.ly/2LVUV8C from Google Docs support. I hope they help.

      I use Dragon Naturally Speaking and there was a huge learning curve since I have a Southern accent.

      If you download the Evernote app to your phone, computer, tablet, etc., then you'll be able to access those notes in all those places. Cool, eh? ;)

      If you need to ask any other questions, send an email to angie (at) angelaarndt (dot) com. (We have to write it out like that to fool the bad guys.) You're very welcome!


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