A Little More Time To Write, with an App

I have a new technique for squeezing a few more minutes of writing into my day.

I’m typing these words into Evernote on my smartphone while my laptop is booting. As soon as my laptop boots, it will sync Evernote with my phone and I will be able to continue on my laptop. It feels ridiculous, but it is one of my new tricks for getting more words written.

Making time to write is a challenge for me. I have at least one of my four young children at home and needing close supervision from 7am until 8pm every day. It is easiest for me to write early in the morning and late at night—when they are asleep.

This morning, I have 20 minutes before the kids wake up, just enough to get started on something. First thing in the morning, it drives me crazy to spend time I could be writing waiting for my computer to boot. Using that time to make a cup of coffee derails me. Once I get into the kitchen, household chores distract me, and, before I have written a word, the kids are demanding breakfast.

Now, my laptop has booted and Evernote and OpenOffice are up and running. I save my note on my phone. Evernote transfers the file to my laptop and I cut and paste the text into the word processor to continue. There. Much better. Typing on the full-size keyboard of my laptop is more efficient and more pleasant.

Jane Chin’s piece How I Write inspired me look for ways to increase my daily writing time. She describes the interruptions that occur during her writing day and how she has changed the way she writes because being at home with a toddler does not allow her large chunks of concentrated time for writing. Her piece made me realize there must be specific ways I could use the tiny chunks of time in my day more efficiently. There had to be a way to use my smartphone for writing instead of playing Angry Birds, if I could find a decent app.

I heard about Evernote before I had a , but it took me a long time to try it. I probably would have hated the app if I hadn’t become comfortable typing on the phone before trying it. Now, when I write on my phone, it is just challenging enough that I have a physical awareness that I am choosing to take the path towards more writing rather than the path to more relaxation. It reminds me my writing is important. And, after a few minutes of typing on the phone, I have the momentum to continue writing after I move to my laptop.

I know the trick with building habits is to start small, start with something doable. Starting my writing time on Evernote while I am waiting for my computer to boot is doable. And, so far, it has propelled me into writing without being distracted by checking email because I am already writing before the computer is ready for me. I have not had time to mentally derail yet. It’s a new trick. I have to stick with it a month or two to see if it works. But for now, this is how I am playing with getting myself into my work when I am short of time. It is only a few more minutes of writing, but every minute counts.

I’m always looking for new ways to squeeze more writing into an already full day. Are there things you do in tiny amounts of time that push your projects forward?


About Kate Arms-Roberts


Posted on September 30, 2011, in Creativity, This Writing Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m glad you are going to try writing differently Kate! The way you describe using your smart phone may be just the trick 🙂 Best wishes to you.

  2. Kate Arms-Roberts

    Thanks, Jane.

    I love the way that using my phone this way breaks me from distracting habits by sidestepping the trip to the kitchen entirely.


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