Friday, January 28, 2011

How do you do it?

About a year ago I had something that has ended up defining my writing and lack of it at times - a little monster we call Loki (her online name).

At first I was cocky. It was easy to take care of her and write, as long as I didn't nap in the day. I was so damn smug. The only problem with this scenario was that she didn't sleep at night. So between us, I was getting less than four hours in 24. Not optimal.

And as she got (gets) bigger of course it got worse. Those premium nap times where I could get in a thousand words or so disappeared and I was a junkie without a fix.

I'm still struggling to get the balance right. When I sold my first book I scrambled further. Between marketing, kid, life and work, my poor writing wasn't finding an outlet. And its hurting worse with the recent addition of a shattered lower leg (with all that entails.)

So I'd like to ask you, dear readers: how do you balance your other responsibilities with writing? Because I certainly won't stop writing, and every new hint helps!


  1. The crazier my life gets the more I write! When it's a lazy Saturday and I have all the time in the world to write, nothing seems to happen. When I'm busy with work, kids and life in general, I seem to squeeze in the writing at every available moment. Funny how that works!

  2. I have a needy vizsla who doesn't approve of my choice of profession, but a bully stick seems to do the trick most days. And I'm lucky in that she's a late riser, so I tend to do most of my writing early in the morning. Then of course there's the laundry, the cooking (I do all the cooking for myself and my fiancee), the shopping, fixing the sprinklers, laying new wood floors, and the myriad other chores that tend to eat up the day.

    Dedicated writing blocks are vitally important, as well as word count goals. A thousand words a day is good for me. I tried two thousand, but everything after seventeen hundred were basically monosyllabic brain drippings.

    The most important thing though, and the most difficult thing at times, is to stay excited about what you're writing, especially when it takes longer than a month. The brain wanders to greener pastures.

  3. I get this questions a lot from people wanting to write. Between being a husband, parent, working a full time job and doing all the little things in between, it's really hard. I have a goal of at least 750-1000 words a day that usually takes about 1/2 to an hour of time. Then I close the computer and walk away during mid-sentence and thought. It constantly brews in there.

    For me I found that the short bursts of high energy writing keep the machine going and helps calm the inner voice of panic when I'm not writing. I used to sit for hours at a time. But that isn't possible while living a life too.

  4. Gretchen Price1/28/11, 12:36 PM

    I don't have kids yet, so I have loads of time to write! I feel that will end soon though! I'm having a boy in two months!!!!

  5. You have a day job too? That's crazy. I've got kids but they're 9 and 15, so I have that part easy. But I work about 50 hours a week. Luckily I can blog from work (shhh) so once I get home, I can work on my real writing.

  6. Holy Cats, Matthew!!! 9 and 15??? You look far too young to have kids that age!

  7. Hil, too true! I do find that if I squeeze it in I get more done. Maybe I need to wait until I'm back with no time? :-D

    David, Vizla are very needy creatures. I can imagine your dog has a lot of say in his exercise schedule, no?

    DM, You're absolutely right. Just sitting and waiting doesn't help. Probably also surfing the internet doesn't help either. heh.

    Gretchen - first off, congratulations! Secondly, if you need to commiserate andwonder where your time went later, be sure to shoot me a mail! Ha ha ha!

    Matt, I'm with Heidi. How is it possible you've got kids that old? O.O

  8. Yes, Sophie is a needy creature. A walk every two hours and a trip to the dog park keeps both of us happy and sane. Gotta keep the blood pumping and not just the brain.

  9. I try to squeeze in 20-30 minutes of writing before I go to work and 20 minutes at work. Then more on the weekend. I don't always make my goal, but as long as I'm trying to squeeze it in, I try not to get down on myself. My daughter will be in high school next year and our time together will quickly be different. So I don't want writing to take over so much that I miss the time to spend with her now. I figure that there are different times in life and this is one I just don't have as much time to write as I'd like. Hope this helps.

  10. The most productive people I know all say the same thing: "You have time for what you make time for."

    It's really frustrating when they tell you that. Special circumstances pop up and you have to take care of business. The nice thing is, your writing is patient. It will still be there waiting for you when you come back.

  11. The more things take up my time, the more I have to really be intentional about how I use my time. I wrote STORYBOUND when my first son was about a year old. It was challenging, but we made it work. Now, two kids later, the challenges feel ... um... much greater. I find myself writing even when I'm not inspired, when I'm tired, and when I'd rather be doing something else. When working on revisions, I usually spend a good two hours or so after the kids are in bed before my brain turns to mush. The evenings, naptime, and odd weekend afternoon work for marketing, blogging, revising, etc. But to write the sequel to STORYBOUND? I'm planning on taking two several day writing retreats, where the kids are with my husband and all I do is write. Otherwise, I find it too hard to balance writing and personal life, and I begin to implode. Ha!! So all of this...and, I should say, a lot of other things fall by the wayside. Fancy cooking, cleaning, basic household chores - it's amazing how many of those aren't essential. Ha!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!