Saturday, August 16, 2014

When Is the Write Time?

If you’re a writer and unless you’re one of the fortunate few, you likely write in addition to holding down another, more "regular" job. That usually presents a challenge or two with respect to time management, doesn’t it? I mean, employers are notoriously demanding when it comes to insisting that you know...actual work and stuff for them, and as often as not your writing gets pushed to the side due to overtime, critical deliverable deadlines, and on and on and....

Kind of a bummer, right?

Maybe you’ve got kids, and all of the responsibilities that come with them. Yeah, they want to eat every so often, and they’re always growing out of the clothes you buy them, and there are those times when they need to demonstrate to you how the homework they’re doing is far and away beyond anything with which you might be able to offer assistance.

Pretty humbling, that.

So, in and around all of the other demands on your daily schedule, you still need to find time to write. How do you do it? Where do you strike the balance?

For me, my preferred time to write is early in the day. Reality, however, has seen fit to laugh at my personal wishes. It seemed that no matter how early I would try rolling out of bed and hitting the keyboard in the hopes of logging a few hundred words before the day got to cranking on all cylinders, one of my darling offspring would wander down the stairs and into my inner sanctum for some Daddy-Daughter Cartoon Time. Sometimes, this happened early enough that it became Daddy-Daughter Crappy Late Night Infomercial Time.

In recent years, my most productive writing time tends to come late in the evening. After everyone else in the house has gone to bed, I’ll close the door to my home office, take up position in my favorite recliner with my laptop, and pound keys until my eyes cross. On a good night I can work for three or four solid hours before heading to bed. That tends to be my weeknight schedule when I’m working on a novel, and I supplement that with a few hours on a Saturday at the local library. If I’m collaborating with my writing partner, it’s not unusual for us to retreat to his apartment on a Sunday, where he’ll work in his office and I’ll set up shop on his living room couch, and we’ll work separately with the occasional interruption for comparing notes, brainstorming an idea, eating chicken wings, or all of the above.

I’ve also gotten really adept at seizing whatever rogue writing opportunities present themselves. Lunch breaks during the week, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room or in the airport terminal or even on the airplane flight itself, or during the two hours when I’m perched on the bleachers at my daughters’ martial arts school. That last one usually ends up being a very productive session, because the school doesn’t offer access to the internet, so there are no social media distractions. Huzzah!

While I can and do engage in these guerilla writer tactics, conducting hit-and-run ambushes on my laptop while on my way to and from other activities or obligations, my bread-n-butter writing time comes during those late evening hours. It’s what works for me.

What about you? How do you balance your writing time with the other demands on your life?


Charles Gramlich said...

I've generally written late in the day because in most of my jobs and in being a dad it was the only time I could get free. I do write during the day during summer times but generally find it less productive still for me.

G. B. Miller said...

When I do write (sadly it's been infrequent in the summer), it's usually on the weekends. I now use Dragon software for my writing and although I'm getting more comfortable with it, there's still the major pitfall of someone overhearing me while I'm dictating/writing. Thus, it's much easier when most of the family is gone (usually camping) on the weekends.

Father Nature's Corner

Anonymous said...

Interesting approach! I've tried dictating into a recorder to see if I could compose a scene/etc. while driving or walking, but for some reason the words just don't come together for me the way they do when I'm typing. The Dragon software, though, is admittedly a different thing, so I'm wondering if I might have better luck seeing the words hit the screen as I say them out loud. You obviously have to edit and revise once you've gotten it all down, of course, but if you can make this work, that's pretty awesome. :D


Fingers, probably Forever.

Liane Spicer said...

I've never been a morning person so I've never even tried to write first thing in the morning. I'd probably stare at the screen for a few minutes, hear my bed calling and crawl right back in.

It's always been a late night thing for me, usually when the household is asleep. There's something about the coolness and quiet of the night that I find conducive.

Jewel Amethyst said...

You've just summed up my life in a nutshell, except rather than being father-daughter time, it's mother-daughter, or mother son-time. Believe it or not my best writing time occurs on the "golden throne" aka the toilet. As gross as it sounds there are many days when that's the only time I can find privacy and space to write, that is of course until the kids miss me and come banging on the door.

authorlindathorne said...

For the past month, I've found virtually no time to write. If I come up with a method, I'll be glad to share. Right now my day job is draining me of all time. Adding social media and blogging and looking at blogs has been more time consuming than I expected. All I can think of is requesting some vacation time away from work to write and while off work, coming up with a game plan to squeeze in writing every day. I think I really need to put in at least an hour every single day to get where I need to be.