Time to Write–Where is it?

Most writers I know are forced to multitask. Work, family, writing, blogging, living…it all requires time. I know I’m not the only one when I say there isn’t enough of it.

How do we fit everything in?

I’ve seen people post their schedules to explain how they do it. Each time I see it, I’m totally impressed. Namely because I’m not a morning person and I see quite a few writers getting up early (like 4 or 5 am early!) to write.

My brain just does NOT function at o’dark thirty.

Others write at lunch or on work breaks.

Oh dear, I don’t get breaks at work. 😦

How about in the evenings after work?

Sure, if I’m not exhausted after a 10-12 hour day, LOL!

Then there’s weekends, right?

Sure. If I’m not painting a room or doing laundry or…erm, well, sleeping.

Gosh, I sound all doom and gloom, right?

It’s easy to talk myself into doing other things rather than writing. But I love writing.

That doesn’t make sense. If I love something, then why aren’t I writing all the time?

Maybe I’m burnt out.

Maybe I’ve lost hope that I’ll get anywhere with it.

Maybe I’ve run out of ideas and need time to develop more.

Maybe I’ve lost confidence in my skills.

Okay, so I’m not the only one who struggles with this type of negative thinking. What’s important is recognizing it. Sometimes it can be subtle and come across as, “Gee, I don’t have TIME to write” rather than the (possibly more accurate) examples above.

How about you? When you feel you don’t have time to write, what are the underlying thoughts you have? Any of this sound familiar? What’s your strategy to combat it?

Sarah’s tackling this month’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog topic today. Check out her response here.


22 comments on “Time to Write–Where is it?

  1. Catherine Johnson says:

    Hi Laura, I often wonder how novelists who work fit it all in. I am so lucky that I am a stay at home mum in that I can squeeze some writing in at some point during the day. Even stay at home mums are all different. Some of them can write loads while their kids play, my kids won’t let me do that, but they are getting better at playing together so they don’t need me all the time. I’d hate to be at home instead of working and be just writing all day, that’s not why I’m at home. I take them to play group, the park and have play dates like normal mums. I have my parents over right now from Uk so I’ve tried to cut back (a bit 🙂 The first week I read a novel, the next week I wrote a new picture book and edited another. The next week I mainly caught up on blogs. When you are short on time I think it’s important not to do a little bit of everything still, you don’t feel like you’ve achieved anything. I am now trying to do all my blog posts as together and far in advance as I can and do things in blocks.

    I feel sorry for you not even having a lunch break. If I were you, I think I’d try and write away from the pc in bed or something so at least you feel relaxed and not like you work fifty hour days or something. I am experimenting with getting up early a few days a week to either write or read blogs. If it’s not every day hopefully I won’t be too tired.
    Good luck and let us know how it goes 🙂

  2. Lynn Rush says:

    I only work part time in a bookstore and I still struggle to find time to get everything done that I want to. Strange Huh?

    I think there’s a season of life for writer’s too. If they’re knee deep in edits with a deadline, it’s difficult to sit down and spend time writing a new novel. So, I think things just ebb and flow with what’s going on . The key, though, is to try and make just a little time each day to devote to writing, craft of writing, critiquing, editing, reading an article…something about writing. Otherwise, we’ll ‘get out of shape’ 🙂

  3. Vicki Tremper says:

    Even though I’m a stay at home mom, I struggle with this, too. I still have one kid at home and as the youngest, he’s not good at entertaining himself. I am most productive at night, when I’m not too tired. Otherwise, I just fit it in whenever I can. Which is not very helpful, I know.

  4. Can relate. It’s so hard to find a balance. I think we could all use clones to cook, clean, do laundry, run errands, take care of the kids….for us while we work on our novels. 🙂

    Dreamy thought. I’m a SAHM too. I steal time whenever I can for writing. Sometimes, o’dark thirty is my only option.

  5. vixter2010 says:

    I have no idea how to fit in with a full time job and I get really frustrated with myself but sometimes I’m just too exhausted in evenings and weekends need to get out of the house.
    A lot of novelists I read are full time mothers and although I realise that is a lot of work it’s different to a set 9-5 routine and I imagine they get slightly more time to write.
    I also think most novelists forgo a hectic social life, you don’t see JK Rowling stumbling out of nightclubs 🙂
    Ah why do we do this to ourselves?!!

  6. Kerri says:

    I find I write with the seasons. In winter there is less to do outside and kids activities are canceled due to snow. Then spring comes and whamo, no time. Summer things calm down again. Then fall I going around the kids sports again.

  7. Ciara Knight says:

    I create while folding laundry, driving, playing with kids. This way, when I sit down to type that twenty minutes here and there waiting on my kids for something, I can knock out 500-1000 words. Just my little strategy. Not sure it helps.

  8. Nas says:

    Hi, it really is hard to find time to write. I spend so much time online that where my time goes I have no idea….and balance? What is that? This online time is needed as well…it’s research!

  9. I don’t have time to work on my MS, but I have time to blog. I get up at o’dark thirty to brew coffee, shower, and begin my day with coffee and time outside listening to the mockingbird sing. I relate to all that you said in your post, Laura. I don’t have time, but what’s behind it? I don’t know. Blessings to you…

  10. Sarah says:

    I make time to write and do my other related activities at the expense of a lot of other stuff, frankly. Cleaning my house, unpacking from my last trip, watching television, doing extra work stuff to help me get ahead, and sometimes spending time with friends and family. Sometimes I think it’s more healthy NOT to have time.

    You’ve been doing so much lately, Laura, so it’s no wonder you haven’t had time–so much of your energy has gone into your house. But you’ll get back to it! Grab the time and inspiration you can, and kick your Sneaky Brain in the tushy whenever it rears its discouraging cognitions. You know the drill, lady. Hang in there.

  11. LYdia K says:

    I’m always struggling to find time, between life and blogging and writing. I often lose sleep so I can write, and sleep deprivation isn’t exactly healthy, as we both know.

    When things get overwhelming, I try to step back. I try to find the reason why I want to write. The excitement over creating something I want to read myself is what finds me, and pushed me back into the fray.

  12. roguemutt says:

    It’s easy if you have no social life.

  13. Trisha says:

    I don’t do posting schedules. It’s just not me. 😉 Of course, I do have to schedule some in occasionally for blogfests, etc. But they’re only ever one-off commitments 😀

  14. Even though I’m a stay-at-home mom who gets to spend a lot of time writing during the day, I still get up at 5 am EVERY day to either write or blog. I keep telling myself I don’t have to get up so early, but I still do. I also write/blog in the evenings (I have to catch up on the comments left during the day).

  15. Kendall Grey says:

    I keep telling myself, “Get through X thing, and you’ll have some time.” I sort of look at writing as a reward for finishing all the other junk on my To Do list.

    I’m not a big fan of goals, but they work for me. If I make a list and prioritize everything on it, I tend to be much more efficient than when I ramble through the day without direction.

    I’ve also accepted the fact that while people say, “Write every day, no matter what!” I simply *can not* do it. I’m slow as molasses about everything. That’s who/how I am. I quit feeling guilty about it. I’ve learned to deal with it and write whenever I can.

  16. Reece says:

    I know exactly what you mean. I am luck if I get 2 hours of writing in a week. Like you said, by the time I’m done with everything that HAS to be done, I’m wiped out. And sometimes I do question my commitment/prowess/motivation, but I think that’s mostly just normal self-confidence issues that most people have. One thing I have noticed, however, is that even though my writing time is next to non-existent, I enjoy it much more than I did when I had lots of time. Interesting how things work.

  17. akossket says:

    I feel for you right now and yes totally understand the feeling. The only strategy that kind of works for me (90% of the time) is to have a schedule.
    I plot or plan things about my writing during my work break which sometimes doesn’t exist because the phone will always ring and a customer is always lost or in need of help. 😦
    When I get home I try to squeeze in some writing, for 30min or 1h30min (on lucky days). When I get evil days, I can’t write once I get home, I just try to catch up the following day and so on.
    I know it sucks sometimes, but we persevere regardless right? 🙂

  18. Hi, Laura,

    I had to chuckle at this post. On Tuesday, I wrote just the opposite. Writing took over my life and I spent the past few months regaining it back.

    Every spare second I wrote for over two years. I’b be up all night, sleeping only four or five hours a day.

    I gave up my workouts, “That is almost three hours I can write!” So after two plus years I really packed on the pounds. Not good for the ego of a formal model.

    SO for my time in Florida I worked only on the A-Z four hours a day. Edited a few hours and that was it, beside blogging of course.

    I used my time for walks on the beach, preparing all my own meals with healthy organic foods, and slept eight hours a day.

    Thirty six pounds later, I feel GREAT! I am back in Chicago, powerwalking the lake…. BRRRRRRR! This isn’t Florida! But I am determined to keep at it, now going back to the gym for my two hour workouts.

    It is ALL in the balance. Your muse will SCREAM at you when it’s time to write again…. Don’t give up…. ever!

  19. Donna Hole says:

    “My brain just does NOT function at o’dark thirty.” Mine neither – even when I’m up til 2-3am writing. I always cringe the next time I open a document after an near all-nighter.

    And seriously, I’m way too old for all nighters when I can’t sleep all day.

    I participate in a lot of blogfests/contests just to push myself to write something – or edit something. I use my crit group the same. (Shame on me 🙂 )

    Of course, that’s how I happen to have about 10 unfinished projects now; but we’re not discussing follow through in this post . . .


  20. Kari Marie says:

    Time is the one thing that no one ever seems to have enough of. We are always chasing it right?

    That O’dark thirty line cracked me up. I’m a morning writer and not a morning person. It’s the only time I really have to myself, so I’m stuck with it. Lately I’ve been sleeping in, which means no writing. *sigh*

  21. Arlee Bird says:

    I guess there’s something called “organization”. I keep meaning to do it if only I could get organized enough to create a schedule to organize things. It’s a mad cycle!

    Tossing It Out

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s