One of my favourite quotes on writing is from Natalie Goldberg: There is no excuse. If you want to write, write. This is your life. You are responsible for it. You will not live forever. Don’t wait. Make the time now, even if it is ten minutes a week.

Those words sum up the essence of this tip. Too often we blame other people and other things for distracting us from our writing – the messy house, the children, the friend who insisted we meet them for coffee, the work we had to bring home, the house, the children …you know what I’m talking about. But the bottom line is this: if you want to write – really want to write – you’ll make the time for it somehow. Maybe you can give up that tv show that you just have to watch or say no to the coffee invitation just for this week. Perhaps you can take a notepad on the train rather than the newspaper ir your iPod. You could even ignore the unruly house, just for an hour, do the writing first and then the cleaning. Why not try taking your notebook or laptop out somewhere – a coffee shop, garden or the backyard – if you simply can’t stand being indoors.

As for the children, or other loved ones who demand our attention, be tough. You deserve time for yourself each day or week to do something  you love. Explain this to them clearly and calmly, put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door and write for your life. Another option is to try getting up even 15 minutes earlier before the chaos starts and spend time writing in the quiet hour before sunrise. If you’re a night owl you might prefer to stay up a little later.

Whatever actions you decide to take to carve out some writing time for yourself, remember what Natalie Goldberg says:

There is no excuse. If you want to write, write. This is your life. You are responsible for it. You will not live forever. Don’t wait. Make the time now, even if it is ten minutes a week.

For more information on Natalie Goldberg go to www.nataliegoldberg.com