3 Tips for Creative Writing (No, I'm Not Talking About Fiction)

One of the questions people ask me is how to write when they don't have much time. They're starting college, a new job, or something of that nature and they want to know how to find the time to write, even in the middle of crazy schedules. I know where they're coming from. I've had times where I was so busy I couldn't sit down to write. I'm on the move all the time. I spend a lot of time seeing the inside of doctor's offices and hospitals. Long hours are spent in waiting rooms or in the patient rooms. Hours I could spend writing.

I've always struggled writing away from home. I have a hard time getting into the right headspace. But during the past two years, it's become a necessary skillset to have. It's taken me a while to learn how to write when I'm nowhere near my desk. It takes a bit of creativity and practice to find the right balance, but I assure you, it is possible to write even when time itself is against you.

Here are a few of my tried and true tips for getting creative with writing in non-ideal circumstances.

~Get as portable as possible~

I have three modes that I use when I leave the house. I often take my mom's laptop (mine is too big and old to carry places) and a flash drive in my laptop purse (which I bought for $2 at my church's yard sale. What a steal!). This is when I'm working on big projects, such as first drafts and edits, and I need a bigger screen and a keyboard. My flash drive has all of my documents on it, so I never have to worry about leaving behind something important.

Other days I'm either too lazy, don't have enough time, or don't have a big project to work on. On these days, I just take a notebook and my phone. I can get smaller things done, such as outlines, songs, brainstorming, Facebook posts, and blog posts. I might even write brief scenes on my phone if I'm up for it.

And on the days when I don't feel like writing, I read. I'll bring whatever book I'm currently reading and just bury my nose. As I told Jules once, some days we expend a lot of creative energy, other days we need to recharge. So even if you don't think you can write while you're gone, take a little time to read if you can. Ebooks help, even though they aren't as magical as hard copies. Get yourself a Kindle app or something of that nature and remind yourself why you're writing through another person's words. Or be like me and take a ginormous hardback to read. #anintrovertsinteractionavoidancemove

~Get creative with the bursts of time~

Are you on the bus? In line for coffee? Sitting in a waiting room? If you ever have a moment where you're spending more than a minute with nothing to do, pull up whatever mode of writing you use/have and jot down a few brief words or sentences. These add up over time. I'm not overly fond of Google Docs, but it does have many benefits and portability is one of them. Get the app on your phone and voila! You have a document that syncs with your computer as well. So go ahead and use it while you're spending that minute in the coffee line or riding the bus. They can be the worst sentences you've ever read in your entire life, but as the quote goes "you can edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page." 

~Teach yourself to get into your headspace~

This is the #1 hardest part of writing while in an uncomfortable situation. It's hard to find the right frame of mind to write when you're not at your normal writing space. It's especially hard when you can only write a sentence or two. But with practice and discipline, it's possible. My best tip is to just start working. Just write and soon you won't even think about the location. You'll just think about how the words feel as they leak from your fingers onto the page. Just keep practicing and know that you're not alone. There are lots of people who struggle with finding the time to write, myself included. So don't get discouraged. Just start and soon you'll find yourself so used to it, you wouldn't know there was another way to write.

Hopefully, these tips help. They've been helpful to me as I try to find ways to write while away from my comfort zone.

What are y'all's tips on writing away from your normal writing space? Or do you avoid it altogether? 


  1. Great tips! I try my best to do all of these-thanks for the reminders!!! :D

  2. I have it easy...my phone, laptop, work computer, and iPad all sync together via email and notes. And I carry my bullet journal with story notes in my purse at all times. BUT that doesn't mean I get any writing done...I prefer to stare out the window or read a book or something. So I really need to work on getting in that headspace and just WRITING. Thanks Sarah!! I'll challenge myself to not look out the window and get some story stuff done next time...

    1. Hopefully, you'll find your way into that headspace. It's a pretty cool place to be!

    2. Last night I was able to get in there and get some serious editing done. Making tweaks to C1 - again. AHH!

  3. GOOGLE DOCS IS EVERYTHING! I looove how it syncs across all your devices, which makes portable/on-the-go writing 1000x easier. I just wish I enjoyed typing on my phone more. :/ Lately I've gotten into more handwriting, so I'll usually carry a notebook around with me, so if there's time to write I'm all set and ready. :D

    Love this!

    katie grace
    a writer's faith

    1. Google Docs is super helpful for portability, and I'm enjoying using it for colab work.

      I wrote my first two novels by hand. You can't beat the complements when people ask what you're doing.


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