PersonalWritersWriting

Finding The Time

Before I begin, I have to say I find it really strange that the top search terms that consistently find my blog from the last year are:

gerry butler 286  Yes, okay, so I’ve used his face for heroes and people are finding his picture.
tree of life tattoo 260  I mentioned this a couple of times I think, but it’s really unrelated to what I do here.
superwoman 166  I think I made a post once about how I have to be Superwoman or how I’m not…
character interview 86  Gee, something related to writing.  What a concept!
celtic tree of life tattoo 76  Again with the tattoos…
captain barbosa 75  Really?  My pumpkin carving skills from 2008?
the crud 75  Seriously?  This one is actually one of the top for all time.  Who really feels compelled to google “The crud”?  You need a definition?  Like it’s a confirmed, diagnosable medical condition?

Random.  Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.

My husband goes back to the graveyard shift this week (or rather 3 days of graveyard, followed by 2 days of swing shift because his boss is INSANE).  Over the weekend he started the painful transition of trying to flip his body clock so he can stay up.  It means a big change in our household–one which neither of us likes.  He won’t be sleeping with me at night.  He’ll be sleeping during the day (meaning I can’t accomplish ANYTHING that makes noise like…cleaning).  It’s an adjustment.

As I try to find my way through to a routine in 2010, I’ve struggled with writing daily.  Writing every day is something I’ve striven to do, both because I think it’s an important habit to develop as a serious writer and because, for me, it keeps my head in the right place.  But it’s definitely not always easy.  Largely this is because I don’t have a lot of quiet uninterrupted time when I’m actually conscious.  I used to be able to write in the living room in the evenings during TV viewing but I’m just not as good at that as I used to be, both because of a shrinking attention span and the fact that I’m actually interested in the shows we’re watching now.  So that’s not going to cut it.  For a while I was managing 5 minute microbursts at work, but that’s not been happening for a long time either.  I need quiet.  And lack of distractions.

My best options are going to be in the morning while I’m having breakfast (a rarity because, as we’ve established, I am NOT a morning person and I’m generally not conscious at that point–though occasionally it works out.  I got 210 words over breakfast this morning), a short snatch during lunch after my workout, Thursday and Friday nights while hubby is on swing shift, and Saturday and Sunday mornings while he’s sleeping.  If I can really train myself to take advantage of these times, I think I can develop a pretty decent productivity level–at least for as long as hubby is on this schedule. I still want to try to write SOMETHING every day, but if I gear my goals with the intention of making those four days my big production days, I think I’ll be in better shape.

Without going to the point of obsession, I do want to take my productivity seriously this year.  Not that I haven’t been, but I’d like to stretch myself beyond 250-500 words a day, if I can.  Writing is what I want to do for a living, and the more I can do while juggling this other stuff, the sooner that’s likely to happen.  Solid steps toward the dream, that’s the way to combat my Evil Day Job ennui.

Where do you find the time?

5 thoughts on “Finding The Time

  1. I’ve been very lucky in that I can always count on 10:30pm to midnight being writing time for me with only a couple days per week off. And because it’s a routine, my brain immediately flips on the “writer” switch while I’m doing my “kitchen/dog” chores around 10pm. My husband is used to me pulling out the ms then, and knows that if anything funny happens on Letterman while I’m sitting there with him, he’ll have to recap it for me. I can normally get around 800 new words done in that time, 1000 if I’m really cruising. I’m working on revisions at the moment.

    I used to steal a few hours at work here and there when it was slow, but the opportunity to do that has become rare these past few months, so I can’t count on it. And I need time in the evenings to wind down after the day job, and do things like make dinner and do laundry.

    I wish you the best of luck with your new schedule – especially the morning ones! I can’t write in the mornings – brain just doesn’t work much before 10am…

  2. I think the most important thing about a writing schedule is to, well, actually have a schedule. 🙂 Without one, you are subject to whims, whereas if you actually have a scheduled time, whether it’s four days a week or at a certain time everyday, you can, as Jamie said, turn on the “writer” mindset and know something is going to happen. Every semester my schedule changes depending on what my work hours are, and then I have those days where the kids are home from school because they’re sick or there’s a dusting of snow on the ground (grrr!), but I know when my next writing time will be, so things percolate in the back of my head all day (or sometimes days, if its a weekend) long in preparation for that time.

  3. Omigod! I totally sympathize with your household scheduling issues. My other half worked nights (4-2) for months. I hated it. A lot. Now he only works those shifts on Saturdays & Sundays, but it’s still irritating. Especially since he works days the rest of the time. Restaurants are notorious for random/idotic scheduling! My favorite (NOT) part is trying to get my housework done on the weekends without making noise. Makes laundry/dishes/vacuuming a total mess. I clean a lot at night.

    On a different note, I’ve found myself writing on the bus. I figure, if I’m going to spend 2/12-4 hours a day riding the things, at least I can be mentally productive.

    1. Thankfully I only live 2 miles from work, so the commute is negligible. But sometimes I think I wouldn’t mind having a commute on a bus or train when someone else drove so I could get something DONE!

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