Scheduling Writing around Life

I hate trying to work myself into a schedule. Hubby D’s swing shift schedule in the Winter is the worst. It changes month to month. The first week is usually the hardest, the second weeks is smoother, and by the last week of the month, when I’m just getting use to the schedule and working writing time in, his shift changes.

Unlike D’s work schedule, adding T’s school schedule to the mix was easier then working writing into. With my eldest, T, at school and the youngest, K, at home everything is in chaos. K isn’t sure what to do with herself during the hours without her sister. So mommy is having to entertain her, only she doesn’t want anything to do with that. Then when T gets home from school, T wants to show off what she’s learned and K wants to boss her around and fight with her.

I think the whole school thing is going to drive me insane. K has about two years before she starts school even though she’s only 17 months younger than her sister. She missed the age deadline by 16 days. Which means my writing is shoved over to when I can get to it. So it’s time to do something different. I can’t keep up the gardening, house cleaning, Ranch work, and entertaining the youngest with writing the next story, editing, and blogging. I know there are some people who can, but I’m not one of them.

Since writing is more important for me than marketing and blogging at this time. I’m once more cutting things back. I’m working on a schedule that allows me to be there for my hubby and my kids and yet allows me a few hours to work on my writing business.   

What things have you had to change in your writing for family and work?

16 Comments

  1. One of the advantages of not starting this writing thing with any degree of intent until I turned 49 is that my youngest is now 16, can fend for himself and I schedule life around writing, instead of the other way around.

    Most times.

    That and the fact that I’ve got half a century of experience to draw on. That’s pretty good too..

    1. Oh, now you’re just trying to make me jealous. 😀

      I remember a time when life was scheduled around my writing, but then that was bk (before kids) or a husband. I’m looking forward to when the youngest starts school and I have 8 hours a weekday to work. YES!

  2. I have a full time job that’s not too bad certain times of the year, but in spring, early summer, and end of the year, I’m swamped. In the spring, I have to take work home with me to get it all done. So sometimes, I just have to say “This particular time right here is writing time. I can’t do anything else until my word count goal is reached.” You just have to schedule it. Easier said than done sometimes.

    1. It is. Work makes it hard. During the two months of calving season I spend more time in the cold looking for missing cows on the off chance that they are having trouble calving then anything else. The same thing happens during haying in the Fall. It makes it frustrating. But I’m trying to schedule everything else around my writing. 😀

  3. Erin Lausten says:

    With a full time job, a husband with the occasional irregular shedule, two young adult children that use the front door as a turnstyle entrance when they can’t seem to find enough for rent, and a four year old, I feel your pain. Lately, I have had to limit my blogging to when I can take a lunch at work, less often lately with staff cutbacks and increased work demand. My actual writing time is happening in the hour or so between the young one falling asleep and my own bedtime. It is tough to pull out the time, and when I do head to bed, I find my brain is still rushing on about the next scene. I’m a little tired. But the writing makes me feel better so I find the time. Thankfully I have the full support of a loving husband. Otherwise, it would be significantly more difficult. And seeing that story hit the page is always worth the few missed hours of sleep.

    1. Wow! Erin, I applaud you for carving that time out to write. That is dedication and devotion to your writing. I’d have probably gone to bed and hoped for a less heck-it day to write. And tell your husband I think he’s awesome for being so supportive, not everyone can live with and support a writer in all their “strange” ways.

      Good luck with your writing!

  4. I sympathize. I have a fully grown child in the form of my significant other, who is constantly trying to get my attention. Though I don’t have a day job now, I did not write then because of all the myriad attention-grabbers I had to contend with. Now I have split my time between making jewelry for sale and writing, but I always manage to find half an hour to tinker, or I am thinking about the next scene between twists of the wire. I fully devote my weekends to writing, and most of it is editing. It is taking longer and longer to finish a book as I must deal with my business affairs, field orders, etc..

    I would suggest that you find a way to express a set schedule to your children [cows, of course, wait for no one] and keep it. Two hours of solitude during the day should help, and children with idle brains should be about fending for themselves in the kitchen. I learned how to make an omelette when I was four, so an older child should learn to be self-sufficient by now. They cannot depend on you 24-7 if you want to finish that story.

    1. I feel for you, D can be the same way. A big child that wants his real life cuddle woman to go to bed when he does and wake up when he does., etc., etc. As for the kids, the youngest is having playmate withdrawals since her sister is in school and is having a hard time learning to entertain herself. I’m hoping this changes soon, and I think as she adjusts it will.

      I agree with you that children should learn to self-sufficient. For the most part they are, although there are a few things that they are still working on. I don’t feel comfortable with them cooking by themselves, but under supervision I think they are fine.

      I wish you luck on your jewelry making and writing 😀

  5. Now I feel guilty. I have lots of free time. I guess I better stop wasting it.

    1. Sorry 😦 I didn’t mean to make you feel guilty.

  6. BC says:

    I have been though something like this and I sympathise a great deal. My boy is three and a half now and at preschool 3 days a week. It sounds like a lot but he is so full of energy and beans that it’s pretty much essential. He is bright, lively and a joy to be with but I am no spring chicken and I find it physically and mentally incredibly hard work – I am 43 and a half (what would you like for your 40th birthday MT? Oh I’ll have an emergency c-section please) so I find my biggest enemy is the physical exhaustion and the mental variety which follows hot on its heels. About this time last year I got to the point when my mind couldn’t even be arsed to wander. I was desperate to write but when I snatched a minute or two to do I was too mentally exhausted to produce anything. You sound as if you may be in a similar place.

    Everyone is different but for what it’s worth the thing that helped me was to step back and let go of the urgency. Your writing is in you, don’t set yourself targets, don’t look at what other writers do, they don’t have kids. Look how long JK took to write each book, WITH kids in full time school. Just write when you can and if even the thought of picking up a pen over-revs your mental circuits then shelve it and give your bain time to recharge (sounds like you are doing that but I may as well reinforce the wisdom of your decision, anyway). For what it’s worth here are some things that helped me get through.

    1. Your writing doesn’t have a shelf life. Hold onto that thought! It’s out there and you can add things bit by bit. If it takes time that doesn’t matter. Write and they will read. If one person has read your book and liked it they will tell others and the word and the number of readers will spread. It won’t happen fast but it will happen. Trust me. Oh, by the way it’s very easy to say this but well hard to do.

    2. Switch off and do the stuff that recharges your creative batteries. For me that’s listening to music, the radio, watching films or telly and reading other books, magazines or papers. Nothing will come out of your brain if you don’t put anything in.

    3. Do something else that’s easier with a small helper: knit, garden, read. In my case I cooked more meals. McMini loves to cook so we had a lot of fun even though there were days when not writing was incredibly hard and I felt (and probably behaved) like a withdrawing crack addict.

    4. When your creative mojo returns, plan your book or at least think about ways that you can make it easier to write in small chunks with constant interruption. I am not a planner but I wrote my most recent book by numbers because with a lively McMini under my feet it’s impossible to keep it all in my head. I didn’t know exactly what the plot was but I knew there were definite scenes I could do so I wrote those first. They tended to throw up more ideas which led to more scenes and so on. The process of writing this second book was rather more subconscious than it usually is.

    5. Do you have pre-school or nursery school? (sorry dumb question but I’m not sure if you’re in the UK or not, we do but not everyone does). My boy was asking to go aged 18 months and I finally got him into one for a couple of mornings a week aged 2. In those four hours a week a whole new world opened up.

    6. Give yourself some slack if you feel frustrated, ratty or generally out of sorts. If you shout at your mini-people it doesn’t matter, so long as they know you love them.

    7. Talk to other authors. There’s an e-mail address on my website for people who want to join my mailing list. If you want to rant by e-mail to someone whose been there please help yourself, last year an author friend send pretty much this same message to me and probably saved my bacon.

    Good luck and don’t fret. All things must pass and believe me they do.

    All the best.

    MTM

    1. I feel for you, although I never had an emergency C-section, I was 16 and 18 when my mom had my brothers. She was 40 and 42. Doctor tied her tubes and it came undone after my sister, he forgot tie them after my first brother’s birth. I helped her take care of my brothers until I was 21. Youngsters are so full of energy.

      1. Thanks for the advice, it’s wonderful to be reminded of it from others from time to time. Sometimes it’s even better to hear it from others and know that you’re not the only one. 😀

      2. Very true. A non-writing activity does wonders to recharge batteries.

      3. I’m pretty sure I act like the crack addict in need of the writing fix. I know D tells me often that I’m pissy when I don’t write.

      4. We all have our writing style. I usually plan the book out, but not in such great detail as to bore me out of writing, just enough to connect the scenes.

      5. We do. But at last visit, we didn’t have the money to pay for it. We make too much for their free program, but since then we’ve added a child to our household. My husband’s daughter decided to move in until she’s 18. I thought of trying again since K has to wait an extra year to go to elementary school.

      7. Thanks for the offer, I might just take you up on it. 😀

      Good luck to you too. I hope your writing goes well.

  7. DM says:

    It seems like I’m forever organizing and cutting back, because of everything that goes on. I’m glad to see others go through this too.

    1. It does make it “easier” to know that you’re not the only one.

  8. M T McGuire says:

    Glad to help and seriously, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if it would help. Around the time I was struggling the most we had family come to live with us for a while, too. It can mess horribly with your head, doing that, no matter how willing, how keen you are to help, how plainly you are doing what’s right it can feel unbelievably wrong. 😉

    Cheers

    MTM

    1. Thank you. I know what you mean. I love my step-daughter who has just come to live with us, but it also means adjusting to another person in our small house and more work for me. Add the surly grandma of my husband living next door, and a few relatives who think I’m wasting my time, it’s nice to have a husband who supports my efforts and online friends to talk to.

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