It certainly is hard for self-published authors, the majority of which have full-time jobs and many more of which have families. They therefore have to write in little scraps of time between these two major commitments.
But, in some ways, a lack of time is the most preferable out all of the writing excuses. If time is the only thing stopping you then things could be worse. If you have the inspiration, the talent and the motivation, then a little issue such as time is much less of a concern.
There are many ways to find time for writing. Here are my top five tips.
1. Commute - do not drive to work. Get the bus or the train. This is great for the environment, cheaper than driving and fantastic for your writing. Public transport may take longer and require you to set an earlier alarm but it will provide you with a great chunk of downtime when you can open a laptop and type out a few pages. I wrote my first novel The Sheriff through a series of commutes last November. This would not have been possible if I was sat behind the wheel of a car.
2. Take Pen and Paper Everywhere - you never know when you are going to find a period of downtime. This could be waiting for a colleague to show up for a meeting, sat in your doctor's surgery, or queuing in line at the supermarket. Always keep pen and paper with you. It is easier to transport than a laptop and will allow you to scribble a paragraph or two at the most unlikely moments.
3. Cut TV - this is brutal and arguably the ultimate sacrifice but it will give you back a few hours of your evening. I am not as strict as some writers, such as Joanna Penn, who got rid of her TV entirely. I need some TV because I learn as much about story-telling from television as I do from books. But try and cut out passive TV watching, by which I mean you get home, turn on the box and then just veg out in front of the couch watching whatever happens to be on. If you need a little bit of TV to wind down after a hard day or gain inspiration for your own stories then limit your viewing to high quality television, of which they is plenty: The West Wing, The Sopranos, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Mad Men, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Homeland, and so on.
4. Routine - establishing a routine and communicating this to your friends and families is an important way to protect your time as a writer. Work out a period of time that you will use exclusively to write. Perhaps, you will always spend lunchtime by yourself so you can write, in which case, you will need the support of your colleagues. Maybe you will write one hour every evening, in which case you may need your partner to help you by putting your kids to bed. Or perhaps you write better on a Sunday afternoon, in which case you may need to arrange for your partner or children to be occupied during that time to allow you some quiet time. Work out what is best for you, then get buy-in from those that love you to ensure your writing time is always protected.
5. Smartphone - invest in a smartphone and you will never look back. This is less about finding time to write and more about finding time to connect with writers on Twitter, promote your book on Facebook, write blogs such as this and read books by other writers on the Kindle and Kobo apps. All of this activity is important for increasing interest in your writing. Writers are not just writers, they are marketers too.