When do you find time to write?

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Note: sometimes when you read something a year later, it can sound really different to you. One of the issues with the internet is that you cannot hear tone of voice or see facial expression. So just let me preface this post with this explanatory note: This post was intended as a “Sis-boom-bah You Can Do It!” article, not as a snide “Quit yer whining, if I can find time so can you” tirade. Just so you know.

Looking for some more tips on writing productivity. I have a free download for you!


 

So I hear a lot during NaNoWriMo from people who would like to write, but don’t have time to do NaNoWriMo. Or other writers who would do NaNoWriMo, if only they had time. Or from other writers who are doing NaNoWriMo and want to know how I can get down the number of words that I do. Then there are the people who know how busy my life is and wonder where I manage to squeeze the writing in. So, for all of those who are trying to figure out how to fit writing (NaNo or other) into their lives, feel free to crib from me.  Here is my schedule.

Mon-Thu

  • early morning workout (yes, I know, you don’t have time to exercise either, right?  I have trained for a half-marathon during NaNo/Script Frenzy/Camp Nano, so it is possible!  I have recently cut my workout down by a few minutes to allow a bit more time for writing in the morning) – this is also my time for listening to scriptures, meditation, and listening to audiobooks

  • review newspaper for current events

  • shower, dress for work, cycling clothes under office clothes, pack backpack for work

  • queue up social networking if I didn’t do it the night before

  • WRITE

  • get together breakfast (due to celiac, multiple allergies, and other dietary restrictions, all cooking is from scratch.  No cold cereal. No packaged meals.  I know, you don’t have time to cook.  But there is no ordering out for pizza in this family!)  Also get together lunch (leftovers) and snacks for work, unload the dishwasher, etc.

  • eat breakfast with family, homeschool discussion on current events

  • off to work – hubby drives, this is our time for family scriptures/devotional, homeschool reading, etc.  One day this week I cycled in to work, since hubby was too sick to drive.  It was sort of… blizzardy at the time.

  • day job!

  • lunchtime – eat lunch and hopefully get a few minutes in to WRITE – I am still answering phones, signing for couriers, etc. during this time, paying bills, doing meal planning and writing grocery lists, checking e-mail and responding to anything urgent – and one of my bosses often shows up during the lunch hour and I need to put my writing aside to assist her

  • day job!

  • cycle home from work (my bike was on the back of the car on the way in to work) – more listening to audiobooks or touching base with hubby

  • tidy house, laundry, cook supper (from scratch), eat supper, clean up

  • homeschool (on nights when I don’t have other commitments, school is split up into two blocks, one now and one before bed)

  • MON family time (this week helped kiddo prepare for teaching a lesson on Sunday) – TUE Scouts and shopping – WED meeting/free – THU meeting/free – yesterday I managed to squeeze 15 minutes of WRITING in between shopping and picking kiddo up from Scouts. I took my MacBook with me and wrote in the parking lot while I was waiting for him.  I have meetings both Wednesday and Thursday night this week for my church ministry, so I will not be home until late those nights

  • unwind before bed – WRITING – if my brain burns out, queue up my social media posts for the next day

  • go to sleep!

Fri/Sat

Friday I might work (same schedule as above), or have a more flexible telecommute schedule.  I find that on flex days and Saturdays, my schedule tends to be more crazy then on the scheduled days, and I often don’t get any WRITING done until mid afternoon.  I may also squeeze an hour in while kiddo is at homeschool Phys Ed. Or if he needs to be driven to an evening event (such as Magic or a dance) then usually I will drop him off, and when we pick him up, hubby will drive, so I take my computer along in the car and write on the way to pick kiddo up, and have family reading time on the way back home.  Because I have no time for any errands other than grocery shopping during the week, this is also when I have to fit in any doctor’s appointments, shopping, longer cooking/baking jobs, feeding our missionaries, housekeeping, etc. Saturday I also need to prep for teaching on Sunday, and any other church work that hasn’t been done.  Don’t forget a long run (up to 3.5 hours if I’m training) or a trip to the temple.

Sun

Sabbath, day of rest, no writing today.  Focus on God and family, hopefully get in some walking and reading.  Crockpot supper.

So there you have it.  Sometimes during NaNo/Script Frenzy/Camp NaNo I am also training for a race, preparing a booth for the Preparedness Fair (with food samples from scratch for 200 people), or taking a family vacation.  But I plan ahead and I squeeze it in where I can!  I love my new little MacBook Air, which is small enough to take with me when shopping, cycling, etc. and has more than 10 minutes of battery life like my last laptop!

And now I have to go… it’s time to NaNo!

Addendum

I have come across a couple of blogs over the last couple of months that might also interest you, if you are struggling to squeeze writing into your schedule:

Elizabeth Spann Craig shares Tips for Writing in Short Blocks of Time. The more prepared you are, the easier it is to write when you can squeeze those few minutes out of your schedule.

Chuck Sambuchino at Writer’s Digest talks about 5 Opportunities to Increase Your Writing Productivity (Without Actually Writing) reminding us that there is a lot of “thinking time” required for writing that can be done anywhere. I definitely do a lot of mental composition and planning when I am not at my computer, giving me more time to actually get the words down when I’m at my computer. As we were traveling on the weekend, I closed my computer and put it away and just sat, and after a few minutes hubby asked me: “Are you working on your book?” recognizing that even though I wasn’t typing, I was actually working my way through some knots in the plot.

One more thing I tried for last NaNo (adding this in 2014) is the Pomodoro method, which is a great way to stay focused and keep the words coming when you have longer blocks of time available. You can see my initial experience with it at the bottom of Sharon Arthur Moore’s blog post.

Love this article by Alexandra Engellman on breaking out of a writing slump. Some good ideas here if you are trying to get back to writing every day.

Comments

  1. PD – I just found this desk treadmill so I’m now writing and walking at the same time. (At my computer) I LOVE that I am NOT sitting all day. I know, it sounds difficult to do, but today was my first day and I didn’t face-plant. Yay! I walked two miles and edited six chapters. Woo-hoot!

    Great post.
    Michelle

  2. Awesome post! My head is spinning with what to think about next — of course, you have a great way of words and if NaNo is your passion, then go for it. Chat and/or comment later — thanks.

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