I enjoy writing just as much as another person, but my time is limited. I work 9-5 everyday and when I get home I am dead tired. I have some good ideas for a story/screenplay but have trouble finding the time. Do you have any advice on how I can stretch my time out in order to start writing again?

–Kevin B Smith

Writing is now my full-time job, but I wrote my first few scripts while working full-time. Outside of some wacky high-concept family movie (likely starring either Eddie Murphy or Tim Allen), there’s simply no way to squeeze more time into the day. So something has to give.

Some how-to-be-a-writer books will recommend you get up an hour earlier, or stay up an hour later in order to write. If that works for you, God bless, because I need every bit of sleep I can get.

You might be able to give up weekends. I ended up staying in a lot of Friday and Saturday nights in order to write, which was a little pathetic and lonely at the time, but hey. It worked.

One relatively safe bet is to give up television. It’s a giant time-suck, and now that it’s summer, who needs it anyway? I’ve been known to make a sign that says "NO," which I tape directly onto the TV screen. Other times, I’ve rationed my TV viewing: one hour for every four pages written, or somesuch.

Delete all the games on your computer. That’s a no-brainer. And unplug your internet connection.

When I was writing my first script, I was fortunate to be working a completely brainless summer job at Universal, answering phones and making copies. I ended up getting a lot of writing done. After work, I’d come home, eat some spaghetti and start writing longhand, siting on the floor of my apartment. (Note: I had almost no furniture, thus the floor.) I would take my PowerBook 180 into work, then type up those pages on my lunch break. Repeat this process for four weeks, and I’d written a script. As a bonus, I’d avoided banal office lunch conversation.

Everyone’s situation is different, so what worked for me may not work for you, but my general point is that you need to actively clear time in your day to write, which means giving up something.