Finding Time for Writing

Sia McKye

“If we make it through December
Everything’s gonna be all right I know
It’s the coldest time of winter
And I shiver when I see the fallin’ snow
If we make it through December, we’ll be fine…”

Merle Haggard sang that song way back when. For a country song, I always liked it. I liked the message behind it. Tough times. Taking it a day at a time. The feeling of hope.

We’ve all made it through December. We’re renewed with the New Year. Many of us are trying to get back on track, after the busy holidays, with our writing. Now we need to make it through January. How are you getting back on track with your writing schedule? Do you have a schedule? A schedule is a must for me. Everyone’s different. There’s no right or wrong way.

For me, it’s discipline. I have to organize my time to allow for my writing time. Those days I’m not working, I write a couple of intensive hours in the morning. I treat it like a job. I have to stay focused or I lose it. If I lose it, I feel guilty because I frittered my time away. What that means is, I can’t surf the net, or take part in my on line discussions.

I’m usually up by 6:00 a.m. every morning. My son, Jake, gets up at 6:30. While I have my first cup of coffee, I catch up on my email and what’s been happening.. By the time Jake walks out the door at 7:30 a.m. to catch the school bus, my dogs have done their duties outside. I eat something; grab a second cup of coffee and by 8:00 a.m. I’m ready to write. I close out all but the MS I’m working on. I don’t answer the phone; I let the voice pick it up. I write. There’s no magic to it. It’s a matter of just sitting my butt in the chair and doing it. Just as if I went into the office to work. I take minimal breaks during that time.

Somewhere around 10-10:30, I’ll break. I may walk outside and check on my animals (I raise Great Danes and horses), start a load of clothes, figure out what I want for dinner. If I’m in a good writing groove, I’ll continue writing for another hour. I have chores to do and sometimes errands to run. I work on getting all that done mid-day. I try to nap for an hour, if I can, around 2:30 when I’m home. That way I’m refreshed for when Jake comes home by 4:00 p.m. I tend to wake up a bit out of it, so I need that 30 minutes to get into gear for snacks, homework, chatting, and the evening feedings, starting dinner. My husband is home by 5:30 so we spend time talking about our day while dinner is cooking. After dinner, it’s catching up on secular work issues and I try to get in an hour or two of writing. Depends upon work. I’ve been learning how to juggle editing and new writing. I haven’t won that battle completely, but it is getting easier.

Bottom line for me, if I don’t make the time, then my time gets squandered away and nothing is accomplished. I don’t like that feeling. I also need to be consistent. Most successful writers have to be.

How do you carve out time to write? Some work full time. Some can’t write at home but have a favorite place they can write. Some can only write on weekends, or early morning before the day starts, or late at night when the house is quiet. The point is they have to make the time.

So, what works for you?

7 Comments

Filed under books, fiction, life, musings, writing

7 responses to “Finding Time for Writing

  1. This is my job – if I don’t make time for it, I don’t get to keep the job. I just bought myself one of those adjustable tv-tray things you see advertised on tv and it fits perfectly over the new recliner we bought before Christmas (and will, hopefully, work on the massage chair my husband bought me for Christmas – whenever it gets here!!!). I plug my earphones in, tell the kids I’m working, turn off the internet (oops, obviously not doing that now) and get to work. The books don’t write themselves!

  2. Like everything, it’s a matter of priority. When I was younger, I was more militant about this, but I try not to watch television. Subtract TV and other time sinks and you’ll free up a lot of time for writing, editing and thinking.
    I need a block of at least two hours to get my head into the right zone and it can be a challenge to find those uninterupted blocks.

  3. I’m still trying to figure this out. I need to work so I can pay the bills, I need to exercise, I want to write, I’m getting addicted to promoting my upcoming books. I’m sure there’s time for all that; I just need to schedule time for the unexpected. That kills schedules faster even than being undisciplined.

  4. Pat S.

    If I’m in the groove and the story is flowing, I have no problem making time for it (evenings and weekends only; I work a more than full time job). If the story isn’t coming? I don’t force it. Weekends work best for me. I’m still highly undisciplined about writing. I do it when the muses move me.

  5. Thanks for stopping by everyone. I appreciate it. Yes, Judi, I agree. We write because we enjoy it, because we have a story to tell. If we want an audience as a published writer, we have to look at it as a job. We produce entertaining stories and they come.

    Ken, that’s the problem. Finding those blocks of time, especially if we also work full time and have families.

  6. amydetrempe

    I am in awe of your schedule. I can only write on evenings and the weekends. I got out of my habits in December and having a heck of a time getting back into the groove in January. It has always been a blah month for me, but I am determined to overcome it and become disciplined again.

  7. Amy, most of us have day jobs. I’m a marketing Rep with a pretty intensive territory to cover, lots of travel and usually work 3 or 4 days a week. Writing is my part-time job. My schedule is rigid, it can’t be. But I’m pretty good about scheduling time for my creative writing, blogging, and promotion.

    The important thing is, schedule time, and stick to it. If it’s weekends, pick your day and stick with it. We have families and we have to give attention to them as well. Juggling. But still, you can pick your evenings you intend to write and stick with it. Keeping a regular writing schedule.

    ~Sia~

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