Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Finding Time to Write #IWSG #writers #writinglife

IWSG Asks: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

This month's question from the Insecure Writer's Support Group neatly coincides with the topic I planned to write this week since my children have gone back to school.

Finding time to write.

Most writers don't write full-time. Rather, they have full-time jobs and writing is a passion the creative person cannot deny, so they eek out bits of writing time wherever and whenever they're able.

My own situation is both easy and difficult to find writing time.

I'm a stay-at-home mom.

Yeah, I can already hear the response from those who have day jobs. It usually sounds a lot like my husband...

"Oh, poor darling, having difficulty finding time to write when you're home all day long?" Add in the eye roll and the sarcastic sigh and usually a glib remark about watching soaps and eating bon-bons.

Sound familiar?

Well, yes, it is true I'm home all day. Although, my stay-at-home status is my full-time job. I have 4 children between the ages of 16 months and 10 years, 3 rescued cats and a husband with more hobbies and social commitments than you can shake a stick at. Caring for my family and running the entire household falls directly onto my shoulders. Shoulders which I admit at times don't feel very capable. Did I mention my constant self-doubt with anxiety and depression issues?

Not to mention that writing is one of the least appreciated careers out there. If you have a family who supports your writing hobby or career, then consider yourself blessed. I'm happy for you. You are a lucky duck, indeed. Not all writers have the familial support that they so desperately need. In that case, this particular group is a salvation! The Insecure Writer's Support Group must have been established just for me! Actually, I'm guessing many of you are probably thinking the same thing yourselves.

But, I digress. Finding time to write is difficult…if you let the idea overwhelm you. It's not so much about finding time, but making time.

One of the things I constantly remind myself is that there are 24 hours in a day. All of us have those same 24 hours. What we chose to do with that time is what makes the difference. (Even Stephen King and Nora Roberts have the same 24 hours that you and I do! Yes, it's true! I looked it up.) If I manage to only write for 15 minutes a day, I feel that I've accomplished something. That's 15 minutes of writing that I don't have to do tomorrow! Although, I admit, I do make an effort to grab more time for my writing. But, in my world...with my busy family, each day presents new challenges and new situations.

During summer vacation, I found it quite easy to find time to write. With all of my kids home from school, it was a simple enough task to have them play with toys or games in the living room while I sat on the sofa, my playlist of writing inspirational music blasting into my headphones while I tapped away on my laptop. I wrote 25,000 words one week in July doing just that. Occasionally, I'd be pulled out of my writing zone to handle disputes between my kids. Okay, probably every day I needed to do that, but it was only for a moment. I'd settle whatever conflict had arisen and send them back to play...or to their room depending on if the situation called for it.

I know that scenario doesn't work for many people. And it only worked for a maximum of an hour or two each day for me. Since I've never had a babysitter or even family to watch my children (no, even my husband doesn't volunteer to watch my kids so I can go write), I've had 10 years of training my kids to play nicely while Mommy writes. Lucky for me, it's worked. Not easily. Not ideally either. But, I make it work. I've had to. If I waited for that perfect opportunity to write, I'd still probably be waiting. I know for certain, I wouldn't have any books published if I waited for free time. 

Ha! Free time. What's that?

Now, it's September and 3 of my children are back in school, leaving my 16 month-old home with me. And I've discovered how easy I've had it in the recent years with my older kids entertaining themselves while I write. Having them play together kept them occupied, but now my baby boy has no one to play with save me.

So, now I'm back to writing during naptimes for the first time in about 3 years. Those naps can range from 20 minutes to an hour depending on when or if the phone rings to wake him up (I always forget to turn the ringer off!).

At times, I do try to write at night when everyone is asleep, but honestly, since I've become a mother, I'm totally exhausted by the end of the day. My brain can't seem to focus on anything other than Netflix binging on Supernatural (for maybe the 3rd time round…or is it the 4th? Hmm…) and working on my newest craft project. I'm teaching myself to knit! Never thought I could do it and now I'm addicted, but that's another story!

So, how do you find time to write?

To be honest, that is one of most frequent questions that people ask me. Since I've been writing all of my life, the answer changes each year.

My advice to writers? Stay flexible with your writing time. Don't get bent out of shape if you can't write 5 hours a day or even 2 or 1. Whether you get up an hour early in the morning or stay up an hour late at night, or if you write for only 15 minutes on a pad of paper while you're waiting to pick up your kid at whatever extracurricular activity your sweet darling has chosen to inflict on your day…be flexible. What works for you now, might not work next year, or even next month.

A couple of years ago, I wrote during my lunch breaks when I was working full-time as an Assistant Manager.

Now, I write during my baby's naptimes.

In a couple of years, I'll write during preschool hours.

One day (sending out those positive manifestation thoughts now!), I'll write for a full 8-hours a day in my sleek brand new office that I plan to re-model a portion of my garage into. Until then, I've been known to bring my laptop into the kitchen to write a few lines of my story in between preparing and cooking supper. Hey, just finding my 15 minutes of writing time any way I can.

No, this does not explain why I burned the pork chops.

Stop listening to my husband.     

What about you? How do you find time to write? I'd love to know!

Also, be sure to check out the other writers in the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

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Happy Reading!


  1. It's funny, if we want something bad enough we make it happen. I'm sure you do too. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  2. I agree, flexibility is key to finding writing time. Thanks for sharing.
    all the best,
    Jo-Ann Carson

  3. We definitely have to be flexible about our writing time, and it's amazing how even fifteen minutes of writing adds up.

  4. Don't be so hard on yourself! I was a stay-at-home mom, too, which meant everybody always thought I had "time" to do every volunteer job in the world. (And I was too stupid to say no.) That you have found... no, MADE... time to write while running a household and raising children says a lot about your determination. High five, girl!

  5. Yeah people love to act like working from home is always just easy. Forget those big heads and keep loving your family and carving out time to write. :)

  6. I write whenever I can sneak in the time. It's not a lot, but it keeps me going.

  7. With 4 kids, it's no wonder you're exhausted. Good for you to carve time out to write. Congrats on writing 25k words in a week. Training the family to respect your writing time is essential. Best wishes!

  8. Tricia, I am amazed at your determination. You are a true writer. I spent years putting off doing any writing, even though I was desperate to , with the excuse of having a large family and therefore no headspace to use for the luxury of Writing ( me time!!!) I'm still plagued with guilt if I take any time from the job of getting on with life to actually give myself a bit of time to write. I am trying to change that attitude though and your post has inspired me to go forward. Thank you.