Thursday, May 11, 2017

To Succeed as a Writer, Just Say No

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

I don’t mean no to writing opportunities—say no to some other things in your life. We all only have so much time in a day. And if you’re like me, it’s filled to overflowing. So that means changing some priorities.

Sounds easy, but to anyone who’s tried, it can be tough to carve out time for writing.

Here are some tips I’ve used to help me realign my life.
Decide where you want to go with your writing. You don’t have to schedule your time to get there overnight, but to get there, you do need to know where you’re going.

Take an inventory at what’s happening in your life right now. This is also going affect how much time you can realistically spend on writing.

Now answer these two questions:
  • What are you doing now, that you love MORE than writing? 
  • What are you doing now that you DON’T love more than writing?
These are the factors you need to consider to begin to map out a plan that works for you.

My Experience
To help you see how to apply what you've learned I'll share my answers when I first started writing. This will help you see how it gave me a plan for my writing.

I was a stay-at-home mom with three school-age boys. I had a goal to eventually earn a full-time living with my writing. I also didn’t want to loose family time or even what little adult time my husband and I had to spend together in the evening.

My writing schedule developed from these parameters. Every night after family time, I’d retire with my husband. When he went to sleep, I’d get up and start writing. I’d usually write until three or four o’clock in the morning, then I’d go to bed.

In the morning, my husband would get up with the boys and get them off to school. I’d get up later in the morning and be fresh when the boys got home from school. It might have been unorthodox, but it worked perfectly.

What did I give up? Lunches with friends and other daytime activities. I also stayed on a budget so I could afford to attend at least two writing conferences every year.

I’ve never found a way to do it all. But I have discovered there is time enough for what I truly love.

What about you? How do you make time for writing?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!

Learning to say NO is the best way to say YES to your #writing - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Need more time to write? Learning to say no is the place to start - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


  1. Edie, Your sacrifice paid off. I pray God keeps blessing you. My husband is retired so he helps with all the household chores. I'm very blessed.
    I get up at 4am most days. I have quiet time with God, get all my social media scheduled,and go to the gym with my family. My son gets on the school bus at 7am. I write for a few hours and then I'm beat. (fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue) I rest, then I do online writing and bible courses. A schedule has kept me sane. If I go for coffee or lunch I make up the time at night or on Saturday.

  2. I agree with Cherrilynn -- your willingness to do what worked for your family paid off. I'm still trying to figure out my schedule overall but I keep "office hours" on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I have my grands on Tuesday and Friday is my fun day.

  3. I have given up time with friends, rescheduled home tasks, and even suspended cable TV to stop distractions. It's amazing what an extra two hours a day in front of the keyboard can do for writing and editing.