January 27, 2009

Finding Time to Write

It seems like I've been struggling to find the time to write since I started the hobby all the way back in fifth grade.

At first it wasn't such a huge deal. I'd just take out my notebook and start writing sometimes in the evenings after homework and before bed, and weekends were largely free. It got a little trickier in junior high. The high school band was seven through twelve back then, so I suddenly went from one concert a year to several weekly practices, football games, parades, contests, and at least two concerts a year not including competitions. Plus, I had more school work and added responsibilities around the house, plus the occasional babysitting or tutoring job. Still, I could usually find a few minutes or a stolen hour here or there to write. (Half hour long bus rides to and from school helped.)

College brought tougher challenges of the same type between fair to heavy coursework and working to pay tuition; however, I usually had a long gap or two between classes, and studying didn't require the use of every gap.

The true problems finding time to write started up about the time I seriously began to think about trying to get some of my writing published. How well it all flowed and if it had meaning suddenly began to matter more, and I kept trying to carve out larger segments of time to devote to writing. When I wasn't thinking about dragging out the trusty old notebook, I was studying the work of other authors.

Have you ever tried taking four college literature classes while also trying to pass two science courses? I wouldn't recommend it.

Then I graduated, started a full-time job, and got married. Fifteen months later, I managed my first paying publication just a week before Boo was born, and I've barely written since. I certainly haven't gotten anything else published, and you know why? I kept telling myself I didn't have enough time, or I couldn't get my head in the game. I was always so distracted by housework, taking care of first Boo and now Sneak, and trying to find something I could do from home.

My problem was in my way of thinking. It's not about sitting down and making this grand leap all at once. It's about making headway.

It's such a simple concept, it's a wonder it has taken this long for me to get it through my thick skull. I've used it to good effect with the housework following particularly rough weeks, or incidents like my back injury last month. It may take three weeks to get back on track after being derailed for one, but it can be done, one small step at a time.

There's no need to try and set aside an hour to write each day. With two very small children, trying to buy our first house, and Hubby trying to teach four subjects at once, it's just not going to happen. But there is this sweet spot on the afternoons, when nothing will do for Sneak but to cuddle up in my lap for a bit of quiet time. She doesn't mind letting me have one hand free so long as the other arm hugs her close as she snoozes. So, I think I'll start gathering my new notebook, pen, and a cup of tea when I go to settle down in the big rocker each afternoon and steal a few minutes to write.

* Picture is my "little" brother with Boo and Sneak last month.


  1. time management sometimes requires sacrifices hard to part with. as a student, it certainly looked like you were spending your time wisely.

    what are some of the reflections on the four college literature classes and other classes you participated in?

    what deep intuitive understandings did you collect from your study of other authors?

    it is amazing how reflections of our youthful writing habits urge us to make the most of the present time and give little thought to the future.

    on the other hand, publishing demands and deadlines require our FULL attention. refocusing on our priorities plague us with required sacrifices!

    life is full of so many demands. an old friend called these demands tournaments of opportunities and challenges.

    you are right about making head way!

    i hope your back injury heals rapidly.

  2. Thank you for commenting and the well wishes, Five Reflections. The back injury is healed up now thankfully.

    Headway doesn't seem like much when compared to the volume I used to pump out in any given week, but I'll take it over nothing any day.

    Look for the answers to your questions in an upcoming post.