Clear the Weeds and Make Time to Write

What’s stealing time and attention from your writing?

Anne Janzer
3 min readMar 10

Person hand-weeding a garden

Do you have problems finding the time to write? If so, you’re not alone.

A few years ago, I surveyed hundreds of current and aspiring nonfiction authors. The biggest barrier people reported was finding the time.

Why is that? If writing is important to us, why do we struggle to do it?

You might as well ask why we let weeds invade our gardens-they are very good at it.

Weeds are prolific and persistent

You plant and nurture a lot of seeds to harvest blooms and vegetables. As the seedlings grow, you must protect them from weeds that steal moisture and sunlight. If you ignore the intrusions of weeds, you end up with a garden of dandelions instead of dahlias.

Not all weeds are unwelcome or ugly. One person’s week is another’s cherished wildflower. My mother struggles with bindweed in her garden-and it has delicate, rosy white blossoms.

Bindweed blossoms

Left unchecked, the bindweed entangles the lilacs and strangles the flower and other plants.

What weeds grow in your writing garden?

Think of activities that steal time and attention from your creative projects. Like weeds, they sneak into your life and take root without you noticing. Some may be fun or rewarding. But they crowd out the work you want to do-writing that will bear fruit.

Common writing weeds include:

  • Social media
  • Binging Netflix
  • Listening to every new podcast on our list (they all sound fascinating!)
  • Constantly stopping everything to deal with the latest email or message

Some weeds look convincingly like other plants, and you keep caring for them until you realize they have fooled you. The same is true of writing.

You might go down a path that seems easier than the creative work you want to do. Someone may tell…

Anne Janzer

Author, Writing Coach, Unapologetic Nonfiction Geek. Writing about Writing Itself (very meta).