Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Finding the Time

Would you believe that's my biggest challenge these days? Not the hard work it takes to do revisions, not writer's block, not working instead of compulsively surfing the 'net (though that is a problem sometimes ;)) but simply finding the time. Although my world is completely new (not to mention wonderful!) the fact of the matter is my life hasn't changed much. I still have kids, and chores, and exercise, and a spouse, and various other commitments. To be honest, I don't know how those of you with full-time (or even part-time) jobs do it! That's why I had to go to my mother's house last week.:) There's just not enough time here.

So how do you make time? I have heard a couple of people say that they disconnect themselves from the internet. But I use the net for a ton of research. It was frustrating at my mom's house to have to run to the other room every time I had to look something up on Google or Wikipedia.

I generally try to work when my baby is sleeping, because my other kids are old enough to be pretty self-sufficient for an hour or two. But Gid is outgrowing one of his naps and I can't plan on them anymore. *sad* So I'm looking for some more suggestions. Bring 'em on!:)

In other news, my editor is totally awesome. I wanted to see if she could send me something, so I e-mailed her this morning to ask, and she replied just a couple of hours later to tell me it was in the mail! Yay for awesome editors!



Anonymous said...

I'm scared about having kids. It's hard enough to get my writing done as it is, with a full-time job, a husband, a house, and three cats. But with a kid? As for getting it done, I have an Excel spreadsheet so I keep track of how many words I've written, and how many I have to go. That helps me push myself. And, yes, I unplug my wireless, then just save up my questions to research when I plug back in. But it sounds like your story needs a lot more research than mine.

tomdg said...

Would I believe it - that finding the time is harder than doing the work? Absolutely. I'd be amazed if you said anything else, to be honest.

I'm married with two boys and I work "full time" (which means only 8-4 five days a week, not like being a full-time mum). Add in church commitments and there's not a lot left. The only place I consistently find time to write is by waking up and getting up before the children. And even then, it only works during November ;)

Helen said...

I work part-time flexible-ish, which means my working week various between 4-5 days. Aside from, you know, eating, sleeping and writing, I like to actually interact with my partner and attempt to keep what little social life I have.

I realised that leaving my writing until the evening was not a good idea - I was too tired and I would automatically procrastinate, or just not do it, so my revisions were just sitting there, gathering dust. So I started going to bed an hour earlier and getting up an hour earlier, so I'd have a pocket of time to do some work while eating breakfast. Then I either bring the laptop with me to work, or print out what I'm currently working on and a notebook, and I'd write during my lunch hour. If things are really going well, I'll save a copy into gmail and sneak a moment or two to write, though I try not to do that if I can help it. At least it means I have another copy if I accidentally lose something.

On my days off, I spend as much time as I can writing, or rereading and fixing. Anything to keep the story in my head. It just meant working around the time constraint I have, and if things are going badly, I have no qualms cutting out the social life first. ;D

Carrie said...

I can't imagine writing with kids -- talk about a full time job! I have a day job that takes about 50-60 hours a week and I had to really start prioritizing with writing. We've pretty much given up TV, if we cook it's really easy stuff, we hired a maid because housework was taking way too much "free" time. And beyond that, I just don't spend a lot of time being unproductive. I write as soon as I get home and change; JP and I talk about writing while we walk; I spend the weekends writing or doing the things I couldn't do during the week; JP and I split a lot of the chores (in fact, I think he might do more than me!) And yes, I still spend way too much time on the internet :) I probably have about 15-20 hours a week that I can write if I make the time for it. But writing is also essentially my #1 priority right now as I start my career.

I know a lot of writers in your position with kids hire a helper to come in a few hours a day (even one or two days a week). And hopefully your husband will have a little more free time as a 3L :) 2L really is a work-horse of a year!

Don't you love great editors!? I just got The Sweet Far Thing in the mail (along with a print out of my cover) -- yum!

moonrat said...

rar. i dont know how you do it. just the job is more than enough for me.

vera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vera said...

I have three cute toddlers (5, 3 & 1), my husband works all day and works in the Bishopric (I know you know what that means!), and I'm a runner (I completed St. George in Oct.)
Yeah, I used to go to bed at 1 or 2 am when I was writing my first draft, but I was cranky the next day with my innocent children and I just couldn't function properly.
Now that I'm almost done with my last rewrite, I go to bed anywhere from 8 to 8:30 pm these days, (this is when I hand my husband the torch) and wake up anywhere from 3:30 to 4 am, depending on how much sleep my body needs. As a result, I have 3-4 hours of silent, interruption-free time dedicated entirely to writing. It's bliss. So when my children come into the office to greet me in the morning, business has been taken care of and I'm happy to see them, a feeling that lasts pretty much throughout the day (until they pour their shampoo on the carpet, anyway.) But I'm also more productive--I whip out a chapter in 2-3 days; it used to take me 1-2 weeks!
I should mention that although I change diapers and do all the other glamorous chores that come with motherhood, I'm still jotting things down as they come to me. I also read whenever I can steal a moment.
Yes, it is hard to be a mom of small children, a supportive wife, an athlete and a writer at the same time, but it CAN be done!

David L. McAfee said...

Time is, for me, the biggest issue. I don't have children clamoring for my attention, but my wife can sometimes feel lonely while I am tapping away upstairs, and that always makes me feel guilty. Combined with full-time work for both of us, that doesn't leave much. I try to get at least two hours every day, but ti just doesn't always happen.

I never unplug the net, though. Too often I have to zip over to Wiki ort some other source for on-the-spot info.

Renee Collins said...

I have two small children and I have pretty much just written off sleep. It has been a concious choice. I just tell myself, I will be tired. That's my life.

I stay up until 12:30-1:00 am on a daily basis. And, when the kids come wake me in the morning, I just shrug off my tiredness and say to myself, "It's worth it."

Demon Hunter said...

I don't have kids (yet), so I can't relate to that, but I do work full time. Family, friends, and my S.O. suck away a lot of my time, but I had to take it back to write. Since I've been revising the past month, I haven't really done anything fun. Writing must happen daily---and reading! :*)

JKB said...

This rings a bell. I don't have kids (Yet, although we're trying), but I do travel 40 hours a week on the train, have two v. demanding Sphynx catz, and a husband that lives five hours away but comes home on Thursday nights.

So I've gotta juggle. This fills me with fear; but I shall carry on.

BTW I found you from AbsoluteWrite, your books sound a dream! Belated congrats from me!! ;)

angelle said...

being a mommy must suck up so much writing time, i can't even imagine. but good for you for finding time!!! time is hard enough to find as it is, without adorable little kiddies to attend to :)

Bob said...

I have a full-time job, write a humor column that runs in the online version of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and write novels in my spare time. Oh yeah, and I have two daughters, a step-daughter, two cats, and two custody schedules. I'm thrilled if I get 30-45 minutes a day to write. Which means a single draft takes about five or six months. Good times.