Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Making the time

I thought this would make for a good topic, so thanks Terresa, for asking how I find time to write!

As many of you know from reading my blog, I'm an at-home, home-schooling mom (only the oldest, thank goodness) with five children ranging from 7-13. Life is pretty busy already, but throw in 4 nights of sports and piano lessons, along with various and sundry activities...well, you get the idea. I'm a busy lady.

So, when do I write?

The short answer is here a little, there a little. I took a notebook to #4's dentist appointment this morning. I didn't get much done, but every little bit counts. Even the bad stuff is worthwhile, because it can usually be edited into submission.

The long answer is, um, longer. :)  Honestly, I'm not as organized as I would like to be (story of my life), nor do I write as much as I perhaps could (who needs sleep, right?). In fact, September to December was pretty crazy for me, so there was even less writing going on than usual. I don't stress about it. I figure that this is a luxury. I'm not yet agented, or published, so I don't have deadlines to meet. Obviously, I anticipate that situation will change in the (hopefully not too distant) future, but for now, I can appreciate and enjoy this freedom.

Today is actually a great example of a rather typical, busy day. I got the kids off to school, then ate breakfast and had some personal study time (I teach Sunday School, so I'm working on the Old Testament). At 9am was #4's dentist appointment, but I took a notebook for the waiting room, and wrote/pondered for 45 minutes. We got home, and I sat for about an hour replying to emails, looking up some curriculum for #1, and catching up on a few blogs. Then I took #1 to band at the jr. high and hit the gym. Picked her up, ran home, had lunch, went to the church to help paint cabinets (my kind of service project).

Got home at 5, fed the kids so #3 could get to piano by 6. Dad's home, so he can drive him - yay! Finally got in the shower, then off to soccer with #5 (I help coach). Back by 7:45, give #5 a shower, get the kids into their jammies (me too for that matter). Kids have playtime for 1/2 hour, so mom gets on the computer only to read a post by Natalie Bahm on time management. Feel guilty, so get back to work on this post (which I started this morning during my "free time". Kid's playtime is over, time for bedtime snack. Feed kids, make them get ready for bed, then sit down to finish this post because it's dad's turn to tuck them in. Scratch that, I had to tuck in #5 because he's a crabby stinker tonight.

It's now 8:58pm and my total for writing today is about 300 words. They weren't even that great, but it was better than nothing. On a normal day, I would do some writing tonight, but I didn't fall asleep until 1am last night, and 3am the night before (darn Evil Body Clock) so I am exhausted and hitting the sack after putting this up.

Now, some days are busier with home-schooling (depending on the projects or whatever), but generally, there are bits and pieces of time to throw some words onto a page during the day. Writing in large blocks is a rarity, which is why I've become a fan of the 10K day (a day dedicated to writing).

Frankly, after days like this, I'm amazed that I finished and edited an entire novel. I don't know how working parents do it. I don't know how people with little ones can do it (okay, so I realize that not everyone has 5 kids in 6 years, but I need my sleep and didn't get enough for about a decade). Compared to many others, I believe my efforts are sorely lacking.

Sometimes I get frustrated that I can't do as much as I would like, but I wouldn't trade all of that time I spent with my kids over the years, and I wouldn't trade my time homeschooling #1 for the last 2 years (I pulled her out just as my youngest was starting school, so I could've spent all that time writing). There is a season for all things, and my time will come. This keeps me going when I've written a half a page by the end of the day.

My life really is my bliss, but it wouldn't be so if I made myself feel bad over things I can't control, so I plug along, writing when I can and where I can. Every day brings me closer to my goal of being published, and that's what counts.

So, my fellow writers, be patient with yourselves. Be kind to your fragile ego. Embrace the process, and be consistent. You'll get to where you want to be when the time is right.*

Well, that's enough waxing philosophical for me tonight. I'm off to bed! Here's hoping Evil Body Clock is broken tonight.

P.S. Don't forget to enter my contest for the book giveaway!
*At least that's what I keep telling myself. If it's a lie, I don't want to know. Denial: it's not just a river in Egypt, it's a way of life.


Carol said...

Oh Tracy! Your life is so busy and I admire you tons for writing. I'm still working on my stuff but it is slow going. I have been writing opinion pieces for an English newspaper her so it keeps me writing, at least. I want so much to be good! I'm gonna check out this 10K day idea. Sounds promising.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Yeah, finding something that works for you and being consistent is key. Hoping to find that this year. :)

Fiauna said...

I would love to finish my current work-in-progress before school gets out in June. I've decided to write a little every day, whether it's good or not.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

You are amazing. I wish I could be that disciplined. Thanks for sharing (and Terresa, thanks for asking). :)

Natalie said...

Wow Tracy, you are exponentially more busy than me (and I have a hard time writing every day). You are amazing.

Johanna said...

Oh I LOVE this post...you are totally speaking to me!

I wrote my first novel and finished it about 18 monts ago...when I had two kids in school and felt somewhat sane. Now I also have an 18 month old at home with me and for the past 6 months can't seem to get any writing done. I keep reading other blogs where people set deadlines and word counts per day and feel completely inadequate. I like your philosophy much better. The children, their activities, their talks, tucking them in at night...these things cannot wait. Writing can. Thanks. You made me smile!

Tracy said...

You guys are making me blush!

Carol - keep at it. It might be slow going, but as long as you're moving in the right direction, that's what counts, right?

Jennifer - hope you find a way to make it all work for you!

Fiauna - good luck with your WIP. I know how tough it is once the kids are out for summer...

Shannon - I don't know about disciplined, so much as just trying to stay afloat, haha.

Natalie - the older the kids get, the busier I get. It's just a different kind of busy-ness than chasing after toddlers. You'll be there soon! It's good though. Family life is a joy!

Johanna - I'm so glad I could make you smile; what a lovely compliment! Plus it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who has trouble writing with babies around. :) Welcome to A Blissful Life!

Stephanie Faris said...

Like you, I just have to squeeze it in where I can. Before I started writing again I would blog in the doctors office, etc...now I actually work on my book in those places.

Mike L said...

I have found that my writing schedule is very much dependant on my wife's schedule. If she has had a long and hard day - she runs a dayhome, so almost everyday is long and hard, then she needs more help from me and writing time doesn't occur due to lack of sleeping time, etc.

I have some time during the day to blog, but even then I am lucky.

sanjeet said...

It might be slow going, but as long as you're moving in the right direction, that's what counts, right?

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