It’s that time of year again! Time for endless cups of coffee, ink-stained fingers, and scattered pages of manic notes. While NaNoWriMo is a fun, exhilarating time for thousands of writers, it’s also daunting. Where will will you find time for writing?

7 Sneaky Ways to Steal Time for Writing During NaNoWriMo

Some of us still have school or full-time jobs. Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. How in the world are you supposed to find the time to squeeze in your writing?

7 Sneaky Ways to Steal Time for Writing During NaNoWriMo

Finding the time for writing is difficult, but I promise you, the time is already there. It’s made up in little chunks of the day that usually go to other activities. If you compile all of those extra minutes, you’ll have enough to meet your goal each day.

So where do these minutes come from?

1. Meals

My family usually sits down to lunch and dinner together every day, but since we all operate on slightly different schedules, everyone’s on their own for breakfast. When I pour myself a cup of tea and coffee and make a small plate of food, I like to sit down in front of my computer with it and get five-hundred or so words in before the day gets too hectic.

You can do the same thing. Save answering e-mails or checking Facebook for later and start your day with some productivity.

2. Waiting in line

It might seem silly since this usually lasts for just a couple minutes, but it works. If you write on Google docs, you can type a few sentences on your phone. Or you can at least plan out the next scene in your head. Even knowing where the story is about to go next can be a huge help.

3. Your commute

If you take the bus or train to work, use that precious time wisely. Carry a notebook with you everywhere. You can even people watch for ideas if you’re feeling stuck. There’s something soothing about the hum of a large vehicle that can be great for your writing.

4. Sleep

Sleep is important and it keeps your brain working as usual, but consider what your sleeping schedule looks like. Could you stay up an hour later than usual to finish off those 1,667 words? Maybe you can get up an hour earlier, or even a half hour. It’s like giving yourself the gift of time.

5. Social media

You will get nothing done if your phone and your various social media accounts are sitting within arm’s reach whenever you get stuck. It’s too tempting to give up when you hit a road block, so don’t make it easy on yourself. Keep your phone far away from you when you write and limit the time you spend on Twitter updating your followers on what your word count is. You can even get Freedom to ensure you can't spend all your time on distracting websites.

It’s fun to keep up with the NaNoWriMo community, but you shouldn’t let that take over your actual writing.

6. TV

You need to give yourself a break sometimes to refuel your creative energy, so you don’t have to cut yourself off completely, but maybe hold off on starting that brand new Netflix series until December. Binge watching is addictive and not at all productive when it comes to trying to hit those 50,000 words. Don’t let it suck you in!

7. Writer’s block

When you do sit down to write, you don’t want anything else to get in your way. Come to that desk with a plan of attack. Before you pack up for the day, write yourself a note of what’s going to happen next, even if you don’t usually plot your novels. Having some direction is a huge help when you’re staring down a blank page.

You Have Time for Writing

Of course you're busy. Life doesn't stop because NaNoWriMo starts on November 1—in fact, sometimes it feels like life speeds up.

But don't focus on the time you don't have. Instead, look for all those tiny pockets of time for writing you do have. Use them well, and at the end of the month, you'll have a full 50,000 words.

How do you find the time for writing during NaNoWriMo? Let us know in the comments!


 Get yourself prepared for NaNoWriMo season by writing as much as you possibly can for fifteen minutes. Continue your work in progress, or use this writing prompt: a character hears a siren.

Don’t worry about perfection; just go for speed. When you’re finished, share your writing in the comments. Be sure to give your fellow writers some love, too!

The Magic Violinist is a young author who writes mostly fantasy stories. She loves to play with her dog and spend time with her family. Oh, and she's homeschooled. You can visit her blog at You can also follow The Magic Violinist on Twitter (@Magic_Violinist).

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