The Time Is Write: How Making Time to Write Each Day Helps Keep Me Grounded

The Time Is Write: How Making Time to Write Each Day Helps Keep Me Grounded (Guest post by Desiree Villena)

Lately, time seems to have lost all its usual meaning. When everything is done at home, the divide between work and leisure becomes hazy — one long, delirious blur without our typical routines to divide the days. This can make it hard to maintain momentum in your writing, especially when you feel a million competing voices in your head telling you all the things you should be doing: working harder, spending time with family, reading more, sleeping more…

I, too, often struggle with how to balance my creative projects with personal and professional demands. But though structure may have vanished, there’s still the same number of hours in a day. I’ve found that carving out dedicated writing time, even if it’s just a little bit every day, helps me regain a sense of meaning — I can’t control what goes on in the world outside, but I can control what happens in my stories.

Whether you’re writing a book that you hope to publish soon or crafting tales purely for your own enjoyment, writing for even a small portion of each day can do wonders for your artistic and emotional health. Here, I outline my approach to balancing writing with my other commitments, and delve into how working on my stories keeps me from feeling overwhelmed in the chaos.

Making use of small moments

Maybe you’ve already got a consistent writing schedule that keeps you on track — but for most of us, that’s a hard thing to establish! Building a reliable writing routine has been something that plagues even the most dedicated of authors. Personally, I’ve never quite been able to commit to a strict writing routine. While sometimes I wish I could make myself write at the same time every day or hit concrete targets, life is too unpredictable, and I’ve come to realize different writing tips work for different people!

Especially when you have a full-time job, a family, or other obligations that require your time and mental energy, dedicating hours of each day simply to write can feel like an unrealistic luxury. So my philosophy is to allow myself flexibility to write when I can, taking advantage of small pockets of time. Morning runs can occasionally serve as great brainstorming sessions, and gaps between meetings can be a great time to start outlining my next chapter. I even find myself jotting down ideas while watching TV or doing chores — inspiration can strike at strange times.

Writing does not have to be a 9-to-5 job or a non-stop marathon. Everyone writes at their own pace, and little chunks of time can quickly add up to great progress. Breaking up your day with short bursts of creativity can also help replenish your energy, giving you something to look forward to throughout the day.

Keeping my vision in sight

Dedicating at least small bits of each day to writing also gives me a sense of purpose as an author. Every day, I’m asking myself to treat writing seriously, and reminding myself why I write in the first place: while it can be challenging, especially when I’m struggling with a difficult passage or trying to edit, it is also an immense joy to bring characters to life on the page.

Keeping in mind my larger vision for each project also gives me something concrete to work toward — thinking about what this short story might look like when it’s complete, or where this character arc goes. Imagining my future readers once my work is published also helps give me a sense of purpose as I try to write stories that resonate. I ask myself questions like How would I describe this book? Why does it matter to me? Keeping sight of what I’m trying to write and why I’m writing serves as a potent reminder of why my work matters, even in confusing times.

Turning each day into a non-zero day

My philosophy of writing is dedicated to the idea of the “non-zero day”: doing something each and every day to advance toward my goal, even if it’s a tiny step forward. Progress is progress, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to tackle a challenge like “finish a story” or “edit a draft” — setting small, achievable, goals is a great way to keep myself motivated.

I aim to do a little something every day to stay grounded in my writing habits. Even if I’m not adding a single sentence to my work in progress, I can find other ways to still develop my craft: doing research, sketching out character backstory, or reading other books for inspiration. If you’re stuck on a book you’re writing, you might spend time looking at comparable titles, thinking about how’ll market your finished work to your audience, or developing your author website — granting each day a sense of purpose.

Giving myself freedom to explore

Even with all my strategies for maintaining inspiration, writer’s block inevitably hits sometimes. When this happens, I often find it helpful to allow myself to use “imperfect words” and freewrite without filtering.

The goal of freewriting is to write unhindered by self-consciousness or the expectation that a story has to be immediately polished. I go wherever my mind takes me. That means, if I feel inspired to take a total detour from my current project by starting a story in a new genre or embodying a silly new character, I let myself go for it! Sometimes using a creative writing prompt or taking part in a writing challenge also helps me regain that spark of imagination.

I never want to lose sight of the passion that urges me to write in the first place. That’s why my approach to my writing is to make it a funhabit — like a daily treat, not a job or chore. When I feel overwhelmed by what today might hold or wonder what tomorrow might look like, writing grounds me in the present moment — harnessing the emotion and noise of the world and making today count.

Lately I have been especially grateful for each sentence I put on the page. Even as we lose our sense of time, we do not lose our sense of purpose: words have immense power, and will always make themselves heard.

Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with the world’s best publishing resources. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories — and occasionally giving writerly advice! She looks forward to writing in coffee shops and libraries again soon.


#WritingWednesday #WritingPrompt Challenge

Today is the 36th Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Austin, the main character in my current work in progress, The Beast Within.

Today’s writing prompt:

Write a quick love story. The story must end badly.

“It isn’t love,” I tell myself, mumbling as she walks away. “You don’t love her. Don’t follow her,” I say, as I stand and start toward the door she just disappeared through. “Wait, Sophie, please don’t go.”

I watched as her steps slowed and finally stopped, but she didn’t turn around.

“I… I can’t lose you too,” I said, instead of the words I knew she wanted—needed—to hear.

Her back stiffened. She rounded her shoulders and held her chin up high as she gripped her car keys in her fist. I could imagine the look on her face, strong yet sad—broken yet determined, but she never looked back.

The car beeped twice. She had unlocked the door.

I’m losing her, I thought. I reached out, started to call her again, but she didn’t give me a chance. She took the last few steps toward her car door and climbed in. The door slammed shut with a load echo that reverberated off the building behind me and a shutter shot through my body. I crumpled to my knees as I watched her car drive away.

“I love you.” It was only a whisper, one she would never hear, yet they were the truest words I’d ever spoken.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

Write a quick love story. The story must end badly.


What books have made your November reading list? Comment below and let me know! Then, click on the links below to check out the December 2019 New York Times Top Ten Lists and see which books you’d like to add to your reading list!


Week 34 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 34th Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE (which is why I’m not stressing that this post is a day late), weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Tanja, one of the characters in the novel I’m currently outlining. I’m not sure if this will be a selection in the novel, or just part of my character development journal.

Today’s writing prompt:

Describe one odd item you always carry with you, in your purse, your wallet, or just a pocket.

I was young when my mother died, but before she did, she shared the secrets of our lineage with me. She didn’t want to, but having watched as she and my aunt raised my grandmother’s body from the grave, she kind of had to. When she believed I was ready, or maybe just because she knew her time was coming to an end, she gave me her sacred ritual knife. It was an ivory white, alligator jaw bone boline-athame-knife. It was razor sharper and as strong as any knife I’ve ever seen. The blade is only three inches long, but it doesn’t have to be long when you’re only using it to slice into the palm of your own hand, or that of a relative of the dead you’re trying to raise. Since my mother died, I’ve kept that blade with me without fail. She had used it since she was a child, learning her craft. It felt like a piece of her was always with me, guiding me, and protecting me.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

Describe one odd item you always carry with you, in your purse, your wallet, or just a pocket.


What books have made your October reading list? Comment below and let me know! Then, click on the links below to check out the October 2019 New York Times Top Ten Lists and see which books you’d like to add to your reading list!


Week 33 – #WritingWednesday #writingprompt Challenge

Today is the 33rd Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.


 Today I am writing in the voice of Phoebe, the main character in PURSUIT (Book 4 in the Blood Angel Series)… BONUS – She also makes an appearance in my upcoming novel The Beast Within!

Today’s writing prompt:

Do you have a tattoo? What is it and why did you get it?

I’m a tracker. I work for the High Council. Unlike most trackers, I wasn’t born with the blood. My sister was; she was naturally talented. I had to learn the skill, through the taking of the blood ritual. To be honest, blood tastes disgusting. The first time I tried it, I nearly vomited. But that isn’t want you want to know about. You asked about my tattoos. Yes, I have them. Many, in fact.

Most are runes. They are mostly along my arms, but I have a few on my back and my upper thighs. They help protect me from the evils I encounter while I’m hunting. They also help remind me of my roots, where I came from and where, someday, I might return.

In my family, I was always the most artistically inclined. That earned me the privilege of branding those that came after me with our family’s mark. I won’t share that with you, but I will tell you this; there is power in my bloodline and those that recognize the mark respect it. It gives me strength and courage. Its my moral compass.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

Do you have a tattoo? What is it and why did you get it?


What books have made your October reading list? Comment below and let me know! Then, click on the links below to check out the OCTOBER 2019 New York Times Top Ten Lists and see which books you’d like to add to your reading list!


Week 32 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 32nd Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Austin the main character in my upcoming novel The Beast Within!

Today’s writing prompt:

Write about something you can’t forget!

His voice...
Deep.
Commanding.
Angry.
Slurred, from too many glasses of cheap whiskey.

I can hear it, almost as if he were standing right behind me. Yet he's been gone for years. Long since buried 6 feet under.

He used to scream at my mother and I, but his yelling wasn't what scared me. It was when he got quiet... still... that's when I knew he was really angry.

I'd have to strain to hear him. But it was in those moments, trying so hard to hear... to understand... that I knew pain would quickly follow.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

Write about something you can’t forget!


What books have made your September reading list? Are any of them on the New York Times Best Seller list? Comment below and let me know, then, CLICK HERE to check out the 10 Ten Best Sellers for September and see which ones you’d like to add to your reading list!


Week 31 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 31st Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Ava one of the characters in a novel I’m currently outlinging.

Today’s writing prompt:

You look outside: It’s snowing! But look closer. Those aren’t snowflakes falling from the sky! What is it?

I could hear the sirens and smell the smoke before I could muster up the strength to open my eyes. I had been knocked out. Again. It was the second time in just under a month and I was sure my handler at Operation Atlas wasn’t going to be happy about it.

When I finally rolled to my back and opened my eyes, there was ash floating from the sky and landing softly on the ground all around me. There had to be two or three thick inches of ash coating every surface within a one-mile radius.

The fire wasn’t supposed to be that big. They had told me just to take out the warehouse, but they didn’t know about the chemicals being stored in the basement. By the time they exploded, it was too late. I was thrown clear across the parking lot and knocked out cold. The fire department came, but even they couldn’t stop the flames from jumping from building to building. By the time they found me, the fire had consumed the entire block.

Luckily, I was able to stop it before it jumped the road and spread deeper into the city.

Starting, and stopping fire… that’s my superpower. Although, lately, it seems like more of a curse.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

You look outside: It’s snowing! But look closer. Those aren’t snowflakes falling from the sky! What is it?


What books have made your September reading list? Are any of them on the New York Times Best Seller list? Comment below and let me know, then, CLICK HERE to check out the 10 Ten Best Sellers for September and see which ones you’d like to add to your reading list!


Week 30 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 30th Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

I CHALLENGE YOU – COMMENT BELOW WITH YOUR FIVE MINUTE ANSWER TO TODAY’S WRITING PROMPT QUESTION!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Phoebe the lead character in my novel Pursuit, book 4 in the Blood Angel Series.

Today’s writing prompt:

What is the best road trip you have ever taken?

Sometimes, you just have to get away. That’s how I felt, every second of every day, after my mom and sister died. Life just wasn’t the same and I knew it never would be. So, I left.

I had been training, learning everything I could about being a tracker. I knew it wasn’t in my blood, not like it was for my sister. She was amazing. Me, I had to work at it, hard. That didn’t mean I wasn’t good, I was… I am.

After just a week on the road, I had managed to get the attention of the High Council. No, that isn’t always a good thing, especially when they send someone like me to find you. In this case, I wanted to get their attention. I wanted them to know who I was and what I was planning.

I made my way from Atlanta, Michigan where I had grown up, all the way out West to California. Along the way, I worked as a High Council tracker. I was taken in on a trial basis, but by the time I landed my fifth capture, they hired me full-time and were giving me the best cases. Having magic on my side didn’t hurt things.

Being out there, on the road, alone was eye opening. I didn’t have a car, so I hitch-hiked and took the bus just about everywhere I went, but it didn’t slow me down. I saw the world with new eyes. My sister and mother had never left Michigan, so I was seeing it for the first time, for all of us. I needed it. Though I was alone, I never felt lonely. I could feel them there with me, in spirit, guiding me… helping me. It was the best time of my life. Why it had to end… that’s another story.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

What is the best road trip you have ever taken?


What books have made your September reading list? Comment below and let me know!


Week 29 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 29th Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today, I am writing in my own voice. As a mom, this writing prompt really spoke to me!

Today’s writing prompt:

What do you think is the most important thing for today’s kids to learn in school?

When I was growing up, school was all about projects, research, learning, and even discovering new things. Sure, I was a kid so I thought of it as work… I complained about all the homework and tests and time. Yes, it took time to get everything done. We didn’t have the internet. We didn’t have access to unlimited knowledge at our fingertips. We actually had to go to the library, search the stacks, and often time resort to reading the encyclopedia to find the information we needed.

Today, school seems all about test scores and less about actual learning. Sure, kids do gain knowledge from attending classes, but more importantly I think they gain social skills. Outside of the classroom, kids are often sitting with their noses pointed at either a phone, a computer, or some form of gaming device. Kids don’t interact the same way they did when I was younger. If I wanted to talk to a friend, I had to call them on the phone (which was connected to the wall with a cord) and have a real-life conversation. Today communication is done through sending photos, emojis, and poorly written (often abbreviated) text messages. I fear that kids are losing the social skills that are essential to a successful future. That is why I feel that the most important thing for kids to learn in school is communication!

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

What do you think is the most important thing for today’s kids to learn in school?


What books have made your August reading list? Check out the New York Times bestsellers for August 2019 by CLICKING HERE!


Are you an author who is looking for ways to stay organized and on track with all your writing goals? Check out my author workbooks below. They are full of all the tools I use in my writing process!

Are you working on a manuscript, but need a little help getting organized? Check out SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ~ An Indie Author Guide to Outlining and Planning Your Next Novel it isn’t just for indie-authors. I have filled it with all the tools I’ve learned over the years and use on a regular basis with each book I write.

Want help meeting your writing goals? Check out JUST WRITE: The Ultimate Author’s Bullet Journal a planner-journal hybrid to help new and experienced writers stay organized while still fostering creativity. Track your progress with daily/monthly word count goals. Plan your writing/publishing goals, manage your to do list, never miss another deadline or appointment again, keep track of writing ideas, schedule/log social sharing and blog post ideas, keep a record of books you’re reading or want to read, maintain a running playlist, etc.


Week 28 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 28th Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Sorry this post is a day late, but hopefully not a dollar short!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Tanja, one of the characters in the novel I am currently outlining. I’m not sure if this will be a selection in the novel, or just part of my character development journal.

Today’s writing prompt:

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

When I was just a girl, growing up in New Orleans, my mother told me, “If your good and quiet, you’ll be able to hear the voices of your ancestors.” I was naive, so I believed her. I tried so hard. Every day I’d sit in the corner of our living room, staring at nothing, focusing on voices that weren’t there. Then, one day, I heard a voice. It was faint, almost a whisper.

“The ritual won’t work if you don’t spill a little blood, Clara.” It was my mother. She was talking to my Aunt Clara on the phone, whispering in the kitchen.

That night, I followed them to the graveyard just around the corner from our house. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you what I saw; It’s been over twenty years and I still can’t believe it. It doesn’t matter that I can raise the dead now too, much less talk to them. It’s still so surreal.

You want to know the best advice I’ve ever been given? That’s easy. That night, standing there in the dark hiding behind a tree so my mother and my aunt wouldn’t see me, they brought my great grandma back from the dead. She looked passed them, straight at me, pointed her decayed finger at me and called me out of the dark. Then, standing just three feet away from my mother, who’s mouth was clenched with fear and anger, my grandmother told me, “It’s in your blood too, and child, you are powerful. Learn from your mother. Learn everything, because one day she won’t be here to protect you and you’ll need to know how to protect yourself.”

Less than a year later, my mother died.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?


What books have made your August reading list? Check out the New York Times bestsellers for August 2019 by CLICKING HERE!


Are you an author who is looking for ways to stay organized and on track with all your writing goals? Check out my author workbooks below. They are full of all the tools I use in my writing process!

Are you working on a manuscript, but need a little help getting organized? Check out SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ~ An Indie Author Guide to Outlining and Planning Your Next Novel. It isn’t just for indie-authors. I have filled it with all the tools I’ve learned over the years and use on a regular basis with each book I write.

Want help meeting your writing goals? Check out JUST WRITE: The Ultimate Author’s Bullet Journal a planner-journal hybrid to help new and experienced writers stay organized while still fostering creativity. Track your progress with daily/monthly word count goals. Plan your writing/publishing goals, manage your to do list, never miss another deadline or appointment again, keep track of writing ideas, schedule and log social sharing and blog post ideas, keep a record of books you’re reading or want to read, maintain a running playlist, etc.


Week 27 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 27th Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Ava, one of the characters in the novel I am currently outlining. I’m not sure if this will be a selection in the novel, or just part of my character development journal.

Today’s writing prompt:

What are you recovering from right now?

I have third degree burns down the right side of my face and body. I’ve been in the Operation Atlas Treatment Center for over a month and the doctors say I’ll be released in just under a week. The average human would take months and multiple skin graft surgeries before they’d be healed enough to leave. Not me, I heal quickly. It’s one of the many benefits of being a metamorph.

Sure, without the surgeries I’ll have scars, but I don’t care about the scars. I’ll wear them with pride, like a badge of honor.

You see, I can do something not many others can do. I can control fire, or at least I will once I get my powers under control. I’m still learning.  

Being an Incendiary is rare, but being an incendiary with two of the three primary powers is unheard of. That’s why Operation Atlas is taking such good care of me. I’m one of their elite.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

What are you recovering from right now?


What books have made your August reading list? Check out the New York Times bestsellers for August 2019 by CLICKING HERE!


Are you an author who is looking for ways to stay organized and on track with all your writing goals? Check out my author workbooks below. They are full of all the tools I use in my writing process!

Are you working on a manuscript, but need a little help getting organized? Check out SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ~ An Indie Author Guide to Outlining and Planning Your Next

It isn’t just for indie-authors. I have filled it with all the tools I’ve learned over the years and use on a regular basis with each book I write

Want help meeting your writing goals? Check out JUST WRITE: The Ultimate Author’s Bullet Journal