Saturday, August 5, 2017

How to Eat an Elephant

Disclaimer: we are not talking about literal elephants here. If you want to literally eat an elephant, you have clicked on the wrong link.

As a professed writer, I get asked this question a lot: How do you find the time to write?

I didn’t find the time to write.  I had to MAKE the time to write. There is a difference. 

And the difference is one of priority. 

In your daily schedule, do you find the time to make your bed or comb your hair or do your laundry?

No. You MAKE the time to make your bed or comb your hair or do your laundry.

You MAKE the time to write.  

Just as you made making the bed or combing your hair or doing your laundry a part of your schedule, you have to make writing a part of your schedule. 

When my boys were younger, while they were in Cub Scouts on Monday evenings, was my time to write. 

Writing on Monday evening between seven and nine eventually become a habit. On the Mondays that the Cub Scouts didn’t meet, I still wrote even though we were at home. 

So how do you make writing a habit?

That is when the old saying comes in play (and incidentally, the title for this post). 

“How do you eat an elephant?”

“One bite at a time.”

Create a time in your schedule. It can be anytime, morning evening or night.  Jot it down in your planner.

Mine said Monday 7pm-9pm Cub Scouts/WRITE.

And I stuck to that schedule. And writing became a part of my Monday evening. 

When the boys joined Chess Club on Thursday afternoons, guess what I did. 

That’s right. While the boys were in Chess Club, I wrote. 

So now I had two spots in my planner that said WRITE. 

But, you might say, I don’t have two hours in the whole week to write!

Do you have ten minutes a day? At ten minutes a day, you are looking at writing for an hour and ten minutes a week.

How about twenty minutes a day? At twenty minutes a day, you are looking at writing for two hours twenty minutes a week.

Do you see how that adds up?

But, you might say, I can’t find twenty minutes each and every day! Do you have a day off? Say Saturday or Sunday? 

Make writing your priority for Sunday.

No children, no husband, no TV, no books, no laundry, nothing. Let the house go to the dogs. Let the husband and the kids know they will have to fend for themselves.  Now can you find two hours on Sunday to write?

My kids are so used to my writing days, they will ask me what I want for dinner just before I close the door to my bedroom.  I will hole up and write for however long and when I come out, viola, my kids have dinner ready for me.

Writing has now become a family priority. 

So when can you write? Make a note in your favorite colored pen on your schedule in bold, capital letters: WRITE.

Then, do it. 

Do you already have a writing habit?  Tell us how you reached that point.


  1. Thank you! A timely reminder with positive consequences.

  2. Yes! Keep on keeping on. One bite, one action, one step at a time. Good advice.

    1. Thank you, Shirley. Indeed. Baby steps are how we succeed.