4 Ways to Write Less and Keep Publishing

Woman reading and drinking coffeeImage by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Where to carve out time for writing when essential activities take precedence and consume over 14 hours of your day? By “essential” I mean my 9-hour a day job (which pays the bills), showering, spending time with my husband and sons (just enough so they don’t feel downright neglected), visiting my mom, and shopping for groceries, just to name some.

I don’t know about you, but I steal time for writing from the nonessential, including my reading, sleeping, exercising, TV watching, cooking, MasterClass taking, and podcast listening time. My reading and sleeping blocks have suffered the most.

At irst, I didn’t mind. My writing habit was new and I didn’t understand what I was giving up. It all started catching up with me when I discovered writing had turned into a “habit” in the addictive sense of the word. Recently, I’ve come to the meaningful realization that there are two components to my habit: writing and publishing.

Yes, for me, the two go together, as I wouldn’t be obsessed with writing if I hadn’t clicked “publish” on my first piece, created a personal blog, and started promoting my stories on social media. In other words, without readers and engagement, I wouldn’t have a writing habit. Social animal that I am, I need engagement and validation.

Understanding this has helped me restructure my writing time and goals so I can keep writing and publishing without a massively sacrificing the nonessential. Most importantly, it has led me to shift some of my writing time back to other pursuits, especially sleeping and reading, without freaking out.

Following are four tips based on approaches that have made this shift possible.

Repurpose articles for other platforms or blogs

This year, I’ve been publishing much less on platforms. Instead, I’ve been posting versions of my previously published Medium articles on my WordPress blog.

This is one of the best decisions I’ve made for a couple of reasons. First, I get to revise heartily, to rewrite my work with the benefit of hindsight and a fresh perspective.

I get to do what Toni Morrison calls the “exciting part” of writing:

The revision for me is the exciting part; it’s the part that I can’t wait for — getting the whole dumb thing done so that I can do the real work, which is making it better and better and better.” (1997 interview)

The rewrite is a real treat.

Write about books you’re reading

Nerd that I am, I underline lots and write extensive notes as I read nonfiction books. Then I create a “Book Notes” document and organize it all into bullets for each chapter.

I’ve decided to turn these notes into articles about new books read.

For instance, I’ve organized my notes into engaging (I hope) takeaways for the book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, by Kathryn Schulz, which I’m currently reading and loving. I get to ponder ideas that are blowing me away, and there’s no better way to ponder ideas than to write about them.

Write about time-sensitive dilemmas or problems you’re facing

Every year I face the dilemma of what to tell parents when they ask if they should delay kindergarten for their children. I’m an early childhood special education teacher and I’m always conflicted about how to respond.

Well, from now on, my input will be better informed. I’ve (finally) taken the time to do some research and ponder the topic of preschool retention and redshirting.

In the process, I’ve also published two articles about it, one related to students with disabilities, and another on redshirting trends and kindergarten cutoff ages across the United States.

Write about podcasts, series, documentaries, classes or TED talks that have inspired or wowed you

Again, this works really well for obsessive nerds like me who take notes on such things.

I paid a yearly subscription to MasterClass. I like how the format balances entertainment and learning just right. I’m also determined to get my money’s worth so I’ve spent a lot of time on all manner of cool MasterClasses.

Here too, I distill my notes into articles. I get to learn cool stuff, write about cool ideas, and publish pieces based on nonessential activities I had given up.

My writing obsession peaked in April of 2020 when I published 39 stories here. Crazy times, so much so I wrote a humor piece on what was happening to me. As you all know, humor is just a light-hearted way of telling the truth.

I guess what I’m getting at is this: reconsider the importance of fresh content. Especially if you’re in a position like mine, where you don’t want to (and can’t) give up your full-time job or other activities either because they feel essential or meaningful to you.

Sure, I’d love to put out more fresh content, but I’ve chosen to take advantage of the 24 hours in my day differently than I used to. And I still get to write and publish.


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Woman reading and drinking coffeeImage by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Where to carve out time for writing when essential activities take precedence and consume over 14 hours of your day? By “essential” I mean my 9-hour a day job (which pays the bills), showering, spending time with my husband and sons (just enough so they don’t feel downright neglected), visiting my mom, and shopping for groceries, just to name some.

I don’t know about you, but I steal time for writing from the nonessential, including my reading, sleeping, exercising, TV watching, cooking, MasterClass taking, and podcast listening time. My reading and sleeping blocks have suffered the most.

At irst, I didn’t mind. My writing habit was new and I didn’t understand what I was giving up. It all started catching up with me when I discovered writing had turned into a “habit” in the addictive sense of the word. Recently, I’ve come to the meaningful realization that there are two components to my habit: writing and publishing.

Yes, for me, the two go together, as I wouldn’t be obsessed with writing if I hadn’t clicked “publish” on my first piece, created a personal blog, and started promoting my stories on social media. In other words, without readers and engagement, I wouldn’t have a writing habit. Social animal that I am, I need engagement and validation.

Understanding this has helped me restructure my writing time and goals so I can keep writing and publishing without a massively sacrificing the nonessential. Most importantly, it has led me to shift some of my writing time back to other pursuits, especially sleeping and reading, without freaking out.

Following are four tips based on approaches that have made this shift possible.

Repurpose articles for other platforms or blogs

This year, I’ve been publishing much less on platforms. Instead, I’ve been posting versions of my previously published Medium articles on my WordPress blog.

This is one of the best decisions I’ve made for a couple of reasons. First, I get to revise heartily, to rewrite my work with the benefit of hindsight and a fresh perspective.

I get to do what Toni Morrison calls the “exciting part” of writing:

The revision for me is the exciting part; it’s the part that I can’t wait for — getting the whole dumb thing done so that I can do the real work, which is making it better and better and better.” (1997 interview)

The rewrite is a real treat.

Write about books you’re reading

Nerd that I am, I underline lots and write extensive notes as I read nonfiction books. Then I create a “Book Notes” document and organize it all into bullets for each chapter.

I’ve decided to turn these notes into articles about new books read.

For instance, I’ve organized my notes into engaging (I hope) takeaways for the book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, by Kathryn Sc

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