Writing time. It isn’t easy to come by for me. It never has been.
I don’t think I’m atypical when it comes to writers trying to find/make writing time. Oh, I treat my writing as work. I know it’s a business, and though I’m passionate about writing, I understand if I’m going to succeed in my chosen profession I can’t wait to be in the mood or for anything in particular. I have to sit down and pound out the story.
But it’s still hard to find enough time. Like most authors, I have many interests. I won’t call them distractions because they are a part of life and I enjoy them. I like spending time with my family. A lot. I enjoy spending time in solitude, in nature, just to keep myself grounded and peaceful. I also enjoy spending time alone with my husband. We do fun things together and with our kids. I purposely make sure I spend time with my cat, Willow. She’s a member of the family, not a couch pillow. And somewhere in there, time needs to be spent cleaning and cooking, and on and on it goes.
Oh, I almost forgot but how could I? Social media and promotions for my books have become big time grabbers, but that’s just the way of a writer’s life.
During the past few years, I’ve dealt with sickness in myself and in loved ones. I’ve lost loved ones. I’ve gone through overwhelming changes to my life. Today I’m very happy with where I’m at and with what I’m doing. I’ve simplified my life a degree or two. Still, sometimes I feel like hanging a virtual sign on my life that reads, “Don’t bother the writer. She might break down.”
I’m still seeking balance. I want it all. Writing, family, leisure, fun, and a clean house (though that part of my life dropped to the bottom of list many writing years ago). I don’t want to feel annoyed and stressed all the time. I love writing and still want peace and balance.
To solve this dilemma I have sought out solutions, genuine ways to not just survive but also thrive. Writing is very much a part of thriving and I’m so grateful to have found my passion and have seen my writing published. I’ve picked up a few tips that have helped. Here’s a typical list:
1. Complete most important tasks first.
2. Learn to say no.
3. Get an early start.
4. Don’t allow unimportant details to drag you down.
5. Turn key tasks into habits.
6. Commit to your goals.
This a summation of a list found at The Creativity Post.
Honestly, I believe how a writer invests in his or her writing and what strategy is used to keep balanced is an individual thing. Fundamental tactics are useful in guiding us. But from what I’ve found in seeking writing time and feeling good about my life, the methods and choices are as varied as the writers. According to Internet publication Van Winkles' in an article written by Sharon Stodala, author of Process, the Writing Lives of Great Authors, Toni Morrison begins writing early in the morning before her family gets out of bed. Earnest Hemingway also began early. Pulitzer Prize winner Edith Wharton wrote in bed. F. Scott Fitzgerald, on the other hand, slept until around eleven in the morning and tried to accomplish some writing in the afternoon. Frank Kafka took a four-hour afternoon nap after arriving home from his day job, then began writing in the evening. George Orwell wrote at night, but he was known to write at other times during a day, too.
“Vladimir Nabokov, too, could write seemingly anywhere and anytime, perhaps owing to the many emigrations he made throughout his life. If we could all be so lucky,” Stodola wrote in the article.
I’m still working out how I’m going to balance my life now. But however I decide, I’m going to make my process mine and own it, because there are no sure-fire strategies that fit us all.