You may have noticed that I haven't posted on this blog since before Thanksgiving. I have had a myriad of obligations keeping me away - I was sick, there was the holiday, I got very busy with some freelance editing work, and I was asked by my agent for some revisions to a manuscript.
But through it all - sickness, editing, revisions - I still spent SOME time every day writing. Yes, revisions count as writing, but in this case, since I'd already started a new work-in-progress, I felt that I needed to keep working steadily on that draft. So as I pondered this neglected blog, I realized a perfect topic for a post would be how to make time for writing when you can't seem to make time for anything else.
(This will be a short post; as you know, I SWAMPED!)
1.) Decide that your "writing career" is your first priority. This may sound like an impossible dream, and if you make sure the laundry hamper is never overflowing or that every PTA meeting is attended, then, yes, it will be an impossible dream. I use the word "priority" because priorities are our own choices. Granted, that day job that expects your attendance isn't a negotiable priority, but the laundry, the dusting, the PTA meetings - they all need to be weighed against your need to write. Sometimes, you just have to let the hamper overflow for one more day. That's a decision you are entitled to make, because you are a writer.
2.) Make sure that your family understands that writers can't spend all their time in the kitchen or the family room. This is one of the toughest ones for me to follow. When my husband comes home, sometimes he wants to watch TV. (Shocking, I know!) Depending on the program, in some cases he'll watch with the set on "mute" so I can work. Other times, I pick up the laptop and retreat to the bedroom to work. Does this make me feel like a bad wife? Sometimes it does. Sometimes I think I should be more attentive to my spouse. But when my son has homework to do, I don't feel "neglected" because he retreats to his bedroom to get away from the TV. After all, homework is a priority. So is my writing.
3.) Learn to work in short bursts. Every one of us would love to have eight uninterrupted hours to spend getting that problematic chapter just right. Unfortunately, sometimes thirty minutes is all you can steal from the day. One way to get the most out of that thirty minutes is to think about your writing even when you are not actually writing. That way you don't spend the first half of your thirty minutes figuring out where you left off. Keep your novel in your head. Work through that plot twist while you fill the dishwasher. Then, head to the computer, and get a full thirty minutes of meaningful work done. It may not seem like much, but you have moved the manuscript forward.
What methods do you use to carve out a piece of your life to write? Please share them in the comments!