Monday, February 20, 2012

Making Time to Write

Our beautiful amaryllis bloomed just in time for Valentine's Day. Isn't it stunning? Thanks to our dear friend, Dr. Burr Field, who grows these in this home and gives them away as gifts.

A dear friend and encourager, Kim Smith, asked me the other day how I juggle writing with the rest of my life.

I'm sure a lot of my readers are in the same boat. We're busy with day jobs and families and housekeeping responsibilities. Sometimes it feels like we're pulled in ten different directions at once.

But we still make time to write.

I'll tell you how I do it ... but keep in mind, I'm not perfect. There are many days I don't open my laptop to type. I often fail, allowing my time to be eaten away by social networking traps like Facebook or Twitter. And forget weekends and holidays; what I'm about to say doesn't apply to those days! (Unless the dashingly handsome sidekick is feeling especially generous and takes the kids out of the house.)

My secret?


How hilarious is it that I just typed that word? If you know me at all, you know I'm annoyingly free spirited. I'm the type of extreme weirdo who never scheduled my children's feedings; they fed on-demand all through their first and second years of life. It's only recently that I've tried to get on a sort of blog schedule. Until now I blogged when the mood hit me.

And writing was the same. I wrote when I felt the compulsion.

Until I had kids ... and more kids ... and more kids. When compulsion came in the middle of cooking dinner or changing a diaper, I couldn't just drop everything, grab my laptop and disappear.

So, yes, now I'm a scheduled writer. I write at a certain time every day-- after I put my two youngest daughters down for their naps late morning.

I write for as long as I can until they wake up.

And then, some evenings I also write if I have time and energy.

Keeping my writing schedule means a certain amount of sacrifice. I might have a filthy house, but if I'm going to get any writing done I have to turn my back on those household chores and write while the kids are sleeping. I tell myself I can do those chores when the kids are awake. After all, it's more fun when they "help me" fold clothes and vacuum and load the dishwasher.

Their sleeping time is my writing time. And that's that. As much as I love being with my kids, I admit, I look forward to that quiet hour or two every weekday.

How do you make time for writing (or your favorite pastime)?


  1. Even with my kids almost grown, I find it difficult to carve out time to write. I literally have to set the timer and tell myself that I have to write until it beeps. Otherwis my day is wasted away with the "good intention" to sit down and get some words out.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. How do I make time? I refuse to have children.
    Ante Meridiem

  4. Scheduling and balance are key! I'm still learning how to do it LOL.

  5. Hey Amy- I'm a "write by inspiration" gal as well, but it hasn't been working out so well, so I'm trying the blog schedule thing as well. I think I'll give Kate's idea a go and use a timer. They work so well for timeout:)

  6. Ha! And here I thought I was the only one with a filthy house! :D

    Hey, are you on Pinterest? I kind of get the feeling you'd love it...just to throw another distraction at you.
    ~ Wendy

  7. Yes, I know what you mean with the housekeeping hitting the fan...I mean, something's gotta give, right? With homeschooling the kids taking up my morning/days, I write mostly at night, but also squeeze in revisions/proposal tweaks, etc. during down moments in the day. This of course means that supper is almost never planned, so every night I'm surprised when I have to come up with something to cook...

  8. With a son less than one year old, I have to write when he is asleep or it will never happen. Since I have self diagnosed OCD about my house being clean, writing instead of cleaning is difficult. I'm learning to manage with a slightly less than perfect house. Writing is worth the mental distress of seeing laundry pile up and dishes undone. Oh well, there is only one of me. Good thing I LOVE to write!

  9. yes, schedule. SO true. And then you've got to stick to it. Like eating, like sleeping, like taking care of the kids. Its vital to our sanity even if it makes the rest of our life a little more hectic ;)

  10. Great topic. I schedule my writing time, too. And there are more important things than a perfectly clean house! :)

  11. I have to schedule my time too. I write when my son's down for his nap.

  12. It's because you're SUPERWOMAN! ;)

    I've tried to schedule my writing before... I should try it again. :)

  13. Seriously, Amy, I am completely surprised that scheduled writing works for you! But it kinda' makes sense . . . five kids later, it must be impossible to drop kids and chores and the daily in favor of the muse . . . Glad you can make it work!!

  14. Hi Amy .. what a wonderful flower - the Amaryllis is just great isn't it .. great friend!!

    I don't know how you write and raise kids?! Congratulations for fitting things in where you can ..

    Cheers Hilary

  15. Since I've gotten serious about my writing, I've also developed a strange habit of waking up obnoxiously early (I got up at 330am today). Then I write until the kids get up at 6am. So I get those few hours in every day, weekends, holidays, everyday. I don't set an alarm or anything, it's just what my body has programmed itself to do. I'm super lucky, though, because I can take a nap during the day while the kids are at school.

  16. Each morning I go to the gym, come home, shower, and take a nap....then I write until it's time to get my daughter. I do chores in the evening and I read blogs in the evening when I'm watching tv with my hubby. Sometimes my schedule gets messed up, but it's been talking for the last month. :)

  17. I tend to stick to a schedule of sorts, too. Sort of. Usually it means writing every spare moment I have, often cutting out every unnecessary extra thing. I can't seem to blog on a schedule, though. I fail every time I try.

  18. I do it by ignoring the state of my house :-)

  19. I have not scheduled my writing as well as you. But much of it is in bed, with pen and paper after the kids are asleep, or in the car when I'm waiting to pick them up from somewhere. And since I work from home, too, it sometimes fills in the gaps that I wish were spent writing. But someday I'll get there, regular schedule and all. I just know it!

  20. My writing time has turned into 5am. It's all I've got right now with a full time at home job and one child still half day with me. It's been brutal, but it is the only way to keep me writing.
    I feel like I've pulled back from the blogging. I feel bad, but I just can't do it as often. Sigh.