- Keep a pen and notebook with you at all times. Have a notebook in your purse. Have a notebook in the diaper bag. Keep pads of paper on the kitchen table, on the dining table, on the coffee table, at the nursing station. Have more than one pen at each of these places, or keep a couple in your pocket. You don’t want to run out of ink.
- Learn to notice the stray thoughts that include interesting language or the seed of an idea. Learn to notice these thoughts, and write them down immediately.
- Learn to write in longhand. That is, if you’ve forgotten how to do so. If you can write in longhand and you have ten minutes, you can write a draft of a short poem or a page of prose anywhere you might find yourself.
- Learn to write anywhere. I used to draft poems while taking the A train from my home in the Bronx to my job in SoHo. Now I draft poems and blog posts at the playground.
- Keep a journal, or do morning pages. By doing casual, personal writing every day — or nearly every day — you maintain contact with your inner life and learn to transform your everyday experiences into language. Also, I find that if I do this writing in the morning, I’m more open to noticing and capturing additional opportunities for writing throughout the rest of the day.
- Read poetry. Don’t think you have time to read? You probably have time to read a poem. Read a poem first thing when you wake up. Read a poem during your commute. Read a poem while you’re on the toilet, if that’s what it takes. The language will invigorate you, inspire you, maybe even stir up a healthy jealousy.
How do you keep writing when you’re busy?