Writing Tip 7: Too Busy? Get up earlier or stay up later. Do less.

Today will be short because it’s Friday and Fridays are busy at Yale: I have meetings—or preparation for meetings—from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm. How to write when you have no time? How to write when you are too busy?

Easy: Write less and start earlier.

Writing Tip 7: Too Busy? Get up earlier or stay up later. Do less.

I just finished thirty minutes of quick revisions. I found the time because I woke up 30 minutes earlier. Joan Bolker has a book: Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis. I used to think the idea of doing a thesis with only 15-minutes a day, every day, was insane. Real writers need long stretches of uninterrupted free time—weekends, summer holidays, post-docs, and late nights—to write. Don't they? I used to say, "I can’t write because I'm too busy."

Paul Silvia and Wendy Belcher both systematically take apart all the excuses you could come up with that you are “too busy to write.”

I’ve come to think the secret to productive writing is to do a little, each day. Everyone has 15 minutes a day.

The hard part is starting.

(Of course, the two days I didn’t write since January 1, 2106 were the 48-hours I was looking after my son solo: Child-care might be an exception.)