Finding Time to Write When Time Cannot be Found

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What I wouldn’t give to be a full-time writer. Everybody knows that writers stretch out comfortably in their fluffy lounge chairs on their huge wrap around porches each day. The ceiling fan above them creates a gentle breeze as they sip on hand-pressed coffee, surroImageunded by the sounds of chirping birds. Inspiration hits them instantly as they begin banging out bestseller after bestseller on their laptops. If I had that kind of freedom I’m certain I could produce thousands of novels!

Unfortunately, that’s not even close to my life. I’ve only managed 27,552 words in the past 6 months, despite the fact that I shoot for 1,000 words/day. For some reason, of which I just can’t put my finger on, I’m completely unable to find enough time for my writing. Here’s what my day looks like:

MORNING

Wake up; listen to 6 year-old begging to play X-box and refusing to eat his breakfast. Ask 7 year-old repeatedly to brush her teeth and hair, and then spend 10 minutes looking for her shoes. Drop kids off at school and head to work.

AFTERNOON

Listen to parents complaining about school lunch, fix computers so cafeterias can serve school lunch, eat school lunch, answer calls from parents who can’t figure out how to get online and pay for school lunch. Go home.

EVENING

Read homework with 7 year-old, edit college daughter’s English lit paper, laundry, dinner, bath time, then yell, “Get back in bed!” 100 times. Collapse on sofa with laptop and announce to hubby, “I’m going to write now.” Then spend the next two hours mindlessly feeding animals and planting crops in Farmville. Go to bed; wonder why the word count for my novel is still 27,552.

Finding time and a quiet place to write it is very difficult for me. My husband has had the nerve to suggest I cut back on my Facebook games, but then he doesn’t have an entire herd of cows, a dozen rabbits, and a corral full of pigs that he’s responsible for. If I don’t feed them, they will die. I certainly can’t be a successful writer if PETA gets wind of my shameful neglect. Besides, by the end of the day my brain is incapable of doing much more than clicking on feedbags and apple trees.

Oh, and did I mention I have kid-diagnosed ADD? I’ve never seen a doctor for it, but my children laugh at me as I wander around the house, picking up this, and then putting it down when I come across that. They swear I have ADD and I tend to agree with them. That also makes it difficult to write because if I glance away from my computer screen I’m sure to find an empty cup that needs to be taken to the kitchen, then discover a magazine on the kitchen counter that I have yet to read

I’m curious as to how other writers who don’t have the luxury of a wrap around porch, and endless free hours manage to get their writing done. Do you write through your exhaustion in the evenings? Have you killed off your animals and let your crops wither? Do you tell your children to cook their own dinner and wash their own laundry?

I know that eventually I will complete my book. I have vowed not to set this half-written book on the shelf next to my ¾ completed needlepoint, and my almost finished necklaces. Writing is something I’ve become more passionate about with each passing day. Putting my crazy stories on paper is not only a means of escape for me, but it’s also a way of cleansing my mind and soul of all the voices inside me that tell me I can’t do it. I can do it, and I will…right after I plant the tomatoes and feed my cows.

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4 responses »

  1. I guess it’s all about finding moments here or there or wherever you can! As long as you consistently do something, even just a couple paragraphs a day, it’ll eventually get done, right? (>^-‘)>

    Best of luck keeping on that book – you can do it!

  2. You are completely right. I find that when I go several days without writing at all, it’s twice as hard to get focused when I sit down at the computer. Thanks so much for the encouragement! Best of luck with your writing as well!

  3. Kim I feel your pain! Working full time. Family. Helping kids with homework. Working around the house. On and on and on. Oy! It’s enough to drive a normal (a.k.a. a non-writer, cause at this point I think all writers, myself included are crazy) insane. So trying to carve out a few precious hours/minutes/seconds a day seems impossible. I get up at 4:30, take a seat in my favorite Starbucks, plug in the headset, and get an hour and a half in before I go to work and I write on the weekend. The difference is my kids are teens, a six-year-old requires a bit more…maintenance. So you have my sympathy.
    Oh and in addition to writing our master pieces we are supposed to find time to write blogs, tweet, post to Facebook, and other methods of promoting the work we haven’t finished yet. Did I mention that writers are completely crazy?
    Good luck on your manuscript. You will EVENTUALLY get it done.

  4. Hi Jay, obviously I don’t even get to blog often because I just saw your response! 4:30? Wow, I’m not sure my brain could function that early but bravo for your dedication! The blogging and tweeting and promoting something we have finished yet is, at times, overwhelming and a bit intimidating for me. I worry that my friends (pretty much the only ones who read my tweets) will finally get to read the book I’ve worked so hard on and think, “That’s it? That’s what you’ve been blabbing about all these months?” 🙂 Yes, you are correct in that we are a bit crazy. Okay, maybe a lot crazy.

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