How making time for writing can actually be accomplished

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Making time for writing – including ghostwriting – can be a challenge. So how do we find it or make it with meetings after meetings, Slack messages piling up, and other interruptions? In this article, I share some of my favorite tips and things that work for me.

Starting with the strategy

How to make time for writing, writing that actually can drive results for you …

Writing takes time—even in the age of AI! And especially now when everyone has expectations of content:

1️⃣ Did it perform?

2️⃣ How did it do?

3️⃣ Did the right people read it?

So, how do you make the time count? It all starts with understanding what it takes to write content with a chance to perform. And that includes understanding:

💡Who it’s written for.

💡What they care about.

💡What you have to say when it comes to that topic.

💡The skill to actually create engaging content that can be easily consumed! Hint: Applying how many of us are taught to write essays in school is not the way to write digital content that will perform.)

So performance writing starts with a whole lot of thinking, strategy, and analysis, and then when we get to the actual writing, that should be way easier – and most importantly, more likely to have a chance to create something that can make an impact.

There are certainly other strategies that I deploy and I’ll discuss them below. But all those are just a waste of time if the four steps above aren’t clear. “I blocked 4 hours to work on this… but I don’t know what the content should be.” See, doesn’t work.

Making it a priority

It comes down to making the time, making sure others understand that we are writing, and then sticking to the plan. Of course, I realize that’s easier said than done, so let’s dive into some tips.

But keep in mind that you have to actually make writing a priority, or these steps will not work.

Blocking time

I’m a big fan of blocking time to make time for writing or any task. So my calendar looks like this:

making time for writing calendar

9-10:30 Writing
10:30-11:30 Podcast editing
11:30-12:30 Keyword research

Sometimes, things move ahead, or I skip ahead to a task. For example, if I need a break from writing, I might fiddle with a podcast for a bit next. But in general, blocking off time is helpful.

I also try to batch things as much as possible:

  • Writing in one big chunk or maybe even a whole day
  • Blocking the right amount of time for copyediting
  • Meetings on another day

Batching by day isn’t always possible for some teams, but the more I can batch related tasks, the more productive I seem to be.

Plan realistically

While planning, be realistic about what can be done in a given amount of time. For example, I know roughly how long it will take me to write a decent blog post if I have the source material ready. Estimating copyediting time can be trickier—after all, it all depends on the state of the writing.

Give yourself some cushion. Also, don’t let the calendar put unnecessary pressure on you. For example, I’ve seen people say things like this before:

Let’s work as hard and fast as we can for 90 minutes, and then we are done. 

That might work if you create widgets, but it doesn’t necessarily work in the creative world of writing. So, yes, deadlines can be helpful, but only if reasonable.

After all, writers are knowledge workers, and as Cal Newport explains in “Slow Productivity,” knowledge work is done differently from work at the production line.

Read next slow productivity by cal newport

Starting small

Author Marc Reklau talks about starting small. Doing tasks that can be quick wins first, especially when trying to change a habit. It’s much easier to write 100 words each morning than 1,000, for example, to get started.

Prioritize what works

Some content will perform better than others. While it can be a guessing game at times, try to create more of what has been working and less of what hasn’t.

For example, I’ve had a ton of success with Amazon product review videos on the video content side. My default often is to follow the Create Once, Publish Everywhere (COPE) model, which could mean I also put these videos on YouTube, Facebook, and maybe even my website. However, that might also be a total waste of time compared to Amazon, so I stick with Amazon.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t always look for COPE opportunities. I do. But sometimes, the effort isn’t worth it. Or I have to prioritize.

Read next: Why a company style guide is necessary for good content

Turn notifications off

I’m a fan of Slack and even social media notifications to stay in the loop and be reachable – especially in a world where remote teams are more acceptable than a few years ago.

But they can also stop the flow of our writing. Content creators getting into the flow of creating is a thing. It happens, and usually, that’s a good thing. Notifications and unnecessary interruptions can hurt that flow. It’ll take a bit to get back into it every time it’s interrupted.

It’s also important that the time block is long enough. For example, let’s say you have a meeting from 9 to 10 and then again from 10:30 to 11. While that’s technically 30 minutes between meetings, it’s likely not enough to get into deep content creation. Sure, you can probably do a few things, but the flow of content creation will likely not happen then.

Making use of technology

Technology can help us with making time for writing. Our options certainly have exploded over recent years.

We can:

Using easy-to-use technology is also a game-changer. For example, I’ve long been a fan and advocate of teams writing directly in their content management system. That way, the content creator can see how everything works together, add the correct anchor text and links, and avoid copying and pasting unnecessary formatting from Word or Google Docs.

Incorporate AI in your content creation where it makes sense. And it’s not writing content from scratch without source content!


When you work on a content performance team, at some point, people will need something from you or need to talk with you. And let’s not forget about the value of interpersonal collaboration.

Make time for that, too. It could be a quick standup meeting, specific time slots for brainstorming, or maybe a weekly touch base. I’m a fan of booking meetings—even short ones—for brainstorming. As Adam Morgan said on “The Business Storytelling Show,” make sure you tell people what the discussion is about so they can think about the topic at hand.

At the end of the day, it’s good to remember that content strategy, creation and that includes writing do take time. So we have to make that time to make it a success.

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