Writing Q&A| Finding Time to Start and Finish your Novel


This happens to me, almost everyday.

I have people coming up to me, or pinging me on Facebook, telling me that they’re so ready to write a novel, but they don’t have as much free time ‘as I do’ and thus cannot start or finish a novel – even though they know that  they’ll make a national best seller if only they got the time to write.

Well, here’s a myth buster.


I’m a full time college student and I’m prepping for my summer internship, final year placements and other exams in my free/out-of-college time, so…..umm…no, I didn’t have more free time than anyone else did.

Every time someone says that, I usually  get offended and intimidated, that I just nod silently and leave the room.

But later, when I get back to my room, those words come back to me and bug me, because I was perpetuating the absurd misconception that writers are jobless stay-at-home people who have tons and tons of free time, and it’s just not true.

So, this post, is a compilation of all the things that I wanted to hurl at people who think, ‘Writers have a lot of free time.’

Well, first of all, screw you.

Second of all, let me clear the air right here, right now. Most writers do not have anymore free time than anyone else.

And whenever people tell me, ‘Oh, I’d really write a book if only I had the time…’ it really irks me.

Here’s the plain truth. If you really want to write a book, you have more time than you think you do.

I have three finished books, and none of them were completed with me sitting at home, and writing out my leisure time.

I was battling college, CAT preparations and now I’m in MBA – with a schedule so hectic that I hardly even have free Sundays .

Yes, I like to write, but I also like to be an independent woman, so I love the power and freedom that my education gives me.

I do not like it when people walk up to me and say, ‘If you  love writing so much, why did you get into MBA?’ or ‘Maybe you should just drop out, stay at home and write.’

It’s such a retarded question to ask.

I do not understand why people get so intimidated by a girl who wants to have the best of both worlds. I intend on building a corporate career, as much as I want to become a published author.

So, I’ll always be writing, when I’m too busy to be writing. And that’s just the life I choose to have over anything else.

Let me break some bubbles, now. Most writers – especially if they’re women, don’t get to be a delicate princesses who happen to have a rich husband and a lot of free time. They’re all  strong-willed women who took control of things and decided to fight their own battles.

And among men, look at Ashwin Sanghi!

A successful businessman and a writer.

You see? This is the 21st century, and people know that thanks to technology, our lifestyles can now accommodate passion and ambition – to sit side by side. You can be more than one thing!!

The key is, you have to make time. If you don’t make the time now, you never will.

Writing is a job that pays very poorly (second myth buster, not all authors are millionaires), so if you’re a strong-willed independent person, and you don’t want to die impoverished or under your spouse/parents’ care, you’ll be working a day job or be building a career.

Writers get up early, just so that they can get some writing done before class. They write during lunch breaks, after class or work, when their kids are napping, at public transport, while travelling between Work and home.

If you’re a writer, you can find the time to write.

The thing is, time just doesn’t come freely. You have to go looking for it.

Time that you spend playing video games, chatting and gossiping with your friends, loitering around after class, or binge watching TV series, or simply going out with friends – is time that writers sometimes claim to write.

It’s all about priorities. Finding the time is more about wanting the time to write, and you have to want it more than anything else in the world.

Novel writing is a discipline-hungry process. It requires a lot of self control and a lot, lot, lot more of sacrifice.

Being a writer, means writing even when you don’t feel like you want to, and  writing when you’d rather be elsewhere.

So, if you’re someone who wants to write a book, but you don’t think you have the time, I recommend you take a look at your daily schedule and figure out the things you can afford to sacrifice, and move them around so that you make space for writing.

Sacrifices are habitual for writers.

Even writers with kids, who have school or work, or all of the above – they make several sacrifices. You know why? It’s because they know that if you don’t find time to write when you’re at your busiest, you won’t make time to write when you’re not.

Writing is a commitment.

If you don’t want to commit, well hey – that’s Okay.

But don’t say ‘You don’t have the time’ when you actually mean ‘I cannot commit.’ 

It offends those who do.



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  1. Hey Guys! I noticed only a while ago that the comments had been accidentally disabled in this post.

    I’ve sorted it out. Comments section is open again, although I’m afraid it’s a little too late, feel free to comment here 🙂

  2. Finally! And you’re welcome! 😉
    Okay, I’m commenting.

    So darn true this post is. Speaking as a defunct writer myself, I have always been in that ‘I don’t have time’-phase. It is almost my constant line whenever I question myself why I don’t write often. But, (and I underscore this ‘but’ about a thousand times), I have always been aware of the emptiness of my statement. I know that when I think ‘I don’t have time,’ I’m actually meaning ‘I’ve got more pressing commitments’ which is exactly what Bala points out here.

    Unlike certain PEOPLE who don’t understand the difference between the two and act like they could be superstars in the writing world in the blink of an eye. ‘If only I could have time…’ wails will not be entertained anymore, losers.

    *speaking from the same experiences as listed above, Bala*

    PS : Did you know that the question ‘Why would you want to waste your time writing when you can do your work better?’ has been tormenting me (the really really really defunct writer) as well?

  3. Reblogged this on Discover Deepika and commented:
    Bala always, and I MEAN always, brings the thoughts straight out of my head. But this time, the twin personality outdid itself and I couldn’t resist sharing it at once. I am so proud of you, bae!! This was an amazing nail in the head!

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