Generally speaking, this blog is a place for the profane and unholy. Not like, in an intentional way. I’m just a secular girl who was raised in a secular home and now leads a perfectly secular life. Even so, your writing time is sacred, and you should keep it that way.

An overhead shot of a woman sitting at a MacBook Pro. There are geometric black tattoos on her left arm. An iPhone and a notebook sit on either side of the laptop and the woman has her hands on the keyboard. The text on the image says "Keep Your Writing Time Sacred"

I don’t know a single writer who doesn’t want more time to write.

I also don’t know a single writer who hasn’t wasted precious writing time doing shit that didn’t matter.

I’m included in that group. Sometimes I look at all the notebooks I have full of ideas for books or essays and wonder if I’ll ever get around to writing them. Then, I try not to think about how easy it has been to get around to mindlessly scrolling on the internet.

Sometimes writing is the best feeling in the world. Sometimes, it really fucking sucks.

But guess what? Even when it sucks, your writing time is still sacred.

Your Writing Time Matters

Yeah, there are tons of tools that you can use to write. I’ve talked a lot about my writer’s notebook, and I’ve even shared how I use my Traveler from Freewrite.

But neither of those things really matter if I don’t make time to actually write. And while we’re at it–we aren’t actually making time, are we? I mean, like, you can’t go in the kitchen and whip up a fresh batch of hours, can you?

Nope. We are finding the pockets of time we can and holding on for dear life. We’re waking up early or staying up late. We’re taking a notebook on our lunch breaks. We’re recording voice memos in the car on the way to work.

That’s how you punch your writing time clock. You show up to work and make it happen even though it’s never perfect.

While I love the idea of a room of one’s own to use for writing, you can write pretty much anywhere. You just have to have the time to do it.

We don’t all have the same number of hours in a day.

Yes. a day is made up of 24 hours. But not everyone has to use their hours the same way.

I’d like to take some space here to explain why the assumption that we all have the same 24 hours in a day is classist, ableist, sexist, and probably a whole host of other things.

Someone who has to work multiple jobs just to keep the lights on at home doesn’t have the same 24 hours as someone who has a job that pays a living wage.

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Chronically ill people who have to set aside time each day to receive treatment or take medications don’t have the same 24 hours as someone who isn’t chronically ill.

And if you read the acknowledgments section of any book written by a white male productivity or minimalism thought leader, you’ll realize that women don’t have the same 24 hours in a day to write because they’re so busy doing all the basic tasks of home maintenance and child rearing for the fucking assholes out there who are trying to tell us how to get more done in a day.

If you think we all have the same 24 hours in a day, then you aren’t paying attention.

The Spiritual Discipline of Defending Your Writing Time

So, how do you keep your writing time set aside for writing when life is always knocking at the door?

I wish I had a simple answer for that. Sometimes it’s really easy to say no to those things that would pull you away. Other times, you can’t say no because your life or the people in it need your attention.

Generally, I’ve found myself saying no to gatherings and social events, TV, social media, and extra sleep. But it’s not always easy to say no.

You’re not a martyr, but you have to sacrifice.

I think about how much my words will matter or what kind of profit might come from my work. But I’m a person who writes silly little love stories. I know that the work I do may never matter to anyone or make enough dollars to justify the amount of time I put into it.

And those are the things I think about when I’m tired or have so much to do that maybe I don’t feel like writing for the day.

Skipping one or two writing sessions to get your head right never hurt anyone. In fact, it always helps.

But your brain will give you lots of reasons to give up your writing time, and you gotta have the steel in your spine and resolve to know you just have to keep writing.

Build Your Sacred Writing Altar

The more my life is about writing, the easier it is to write and the less energy I have to spend fighting my brain and trying to make myself write. While you can build an actual altar to writing in your home, you can also make yourself the altar. I recommend both, but here’s how you make yourself both the sacred vessel and divine offering to writing.

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001: Take care of you first.

I fought this one for a really, really long time. But shit. It has made a world of difference.

I spent a year not really writing or doing anything else creative because I was working on fixing my brain. And while fixing your brain is a daily maintenance sort of thing that will never be done, it gets so much easier when you’ve made it a habit.

Eating right, working out, therapy–all of those things have made me a better, more capable writer. And without them, it doesn’t matter how much writing time I have.

002: Plan around writing as much as you can.

I start my day with fiction writing and move to blogging later in the day. At least, that is what’s working right now and that’s how my schedule is shaking out for now.

Later, it may be something different.

In any case, I pick the writing projects that matter the most and focus on them first. Sometimes that’s something I’m getting paid for. Sometimes, it’s something I want to put in the world.

Either way, I pick the priority for the day, and it’s usually some kind of writing.

003: Do what you have to do.

Dictation, the notes app on your phone, a janky old notebook–use whatever you have to use.

When I was fully in my “not writing, just fixing my brain” phase, writing time hit me right in the face while I was in the middle of Target. I pulled the cart over and grabbed my phone from my back pocket and started typing.

That turned into 3,000 words about a thing that I plan to share at some point, but until then, I’m going to continue to be vague.

What I’m saying is that sometimes you just have to write. And even if you don’t have your preferred means to do so, you should honor that urge.

And when you realize you can write using whatever you have wherever you are, it becomes so much easier to just do what you have to do.

004: Write during writing time.

Multitasking is mostly not real. Like, yeah. You can chop veggies while you brown the meat for dinner. But when it comes to writing, you can’t really do that and other stuff.

I mean, you can listen to music while you write. But edit? Nope. It’s different skills and different parts of your brain. Write first, edit later friends.

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And on that note, when you’re writing, put your phone on Do Not Disturb. You won’t regret it. You can even set specific focus settings on your phone to keep from receiving notifications during your writing time.

(We’ve talked about crazymakers and energy pennies, so you know how crucial shutting some folks out can be.)

I’m a recent convert to the Freedom app, and I use it to block a ton of stuff on my phone and computer during my work hours. I only have so much willpower, so the more distractions and temptations I can block, the easier it is to focus on writing.

005: Make sure you want the right thing.

Do you want to actually write or do you want some sort of reaction or validation when you say you’re a writer?

Do you want to do the work of writing? It’s worth noting that’s the only way to have the satisfaction of having written.

I know far too many writers who think they’re going to write something and it’s going to pay off. They think they’ll hit a magical number of published books that just sell on autopilot and they’ll have a full-time income.

Maybe they will. I wish them the best.

But you can’t count on outcomes in this industry. You can only count on yourself, and that is, only if you’re doing the work.

006: Hermits were closer to God when they were alone.

Don’t use this as an excuse to just fuck off and never be heard from again. But do use it as permission to shed some obligations/commitments/burdens/people who make it hard to write.

(Remember, whatever you are not changing you’re choosing.)

I’ve pretty much left every writing and blogging networking group I used to belong to. Not because they were bad, but because they gave me an excuse to spend time with people in social settings and pretend I was getting work done.

I wasn’t.

So, if you’re making your writing time sacred, then you need to take your cue from the religious sorts. I’m definitely not a full-fledged hermit. But when I write? I’m completely on my own.

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