Like many writers, writing isn’t something I’m able to do full-time at this stage. While I don’t have a 9-5 job, I homeschool my teen and consider that my first priority.
We’re mostly natural learners which means he follows his passions rather than having formal lessons. So learning time stretches from when he gets up to when he goes to bed, and my role is primarily facilitating his learning by driving him around to many different places, help him with any tasks he needs help with, watching videos / reading articles with him and taking part in discussions at any moment of the day (or night). At any stage he might wander out and start a conversation about the research he’s been doing on his dream camera rig (and the fact that at his current rate of pocket money it will take him 19 years to save up for it 🙂 ), or politics / human rights / LGBQTI issues, which TV show we’d most like to see make another series, or abstract number theory. (Life is never boring!) In fact around 10pm last night, he wanted to show me these two VSauce videos on Math Magic and Supertasks, which led me to show him a video explaining Schrodinger’s cat, and introduce him to Schrodinger’s cat jokes. (I take my geek training seriously!) Hmm, no wonder I didn’t sleep well last night!
Add to that, I still do a small amount of web programming, am heavily involved in Scouts, help out as production manager with son’s drama company and try to be an involved friend and family member! (Plus they have this need for food & clean clothes – so annoying!) Not to mention trying to fit in time to exercise, learn new skills, have time to recharge
I’m certainly not whinging and saying “woe is me”. I love my busy life. But in order to achieve my long-term writing goals, I need to make sure writing gets the time too.
I came up with a schedule at the start of the year, aiming for at least 10 decent hours / week writing or editing. So far I’ve managed to put the time in, but I haven’t managed to stick to the schedule yet 🙂 But I’m learning more about the best times for me, and what does and doesn’t work.
I’m too easily caught up with rules – you MUST write every day, you need to get up early, it’s best if you exercise / journal / write first thing in the morning. Etc, etc. I’m sure you’ve all read them. I need at least 8 hours sleep, and my son is a night owl, so I rarely get to bed much before midnight. I can have the best intentions in the world to get up at 6am and go for a walk or write etc, but it ain’t gonna happen. Maybe the first day, but not for much longer!
I’ve learnt that I find it really hard to be creative if I’ve spent time before that doing left-brained stuff like accounts or programming etc, and I find it hard to settle to creative work if I know I have to do it. So far it’s working better for me to set aside one day to get all that stuff out of the way.
My brain doesn’t wake up first thing, so I can’t even think of doing anything productive until at least late morning. I’m still working out when my most creative time is – and while I’d love to be able to say “right, 2-4pm is my most creative time, I’ll write every day at that time”, my life doesn’t let me work that way. Yet.
But I’m finding it interesting keeping track of the hours I’m writing and how productive I am at that time. In a few years I’ll hopefully be in a better position to stick to a schedule and that knowledge will help me be more productive. At the moment, aiming for a set numbers of hours / week, is helping make sure I put bum in chair, and I think is starting to make my brain realise this is my job not a hobby.
Are you a night-owl or an early-bird? Do you have the same routine day-in, day-out or like me, do you fit your writing in where you can? I’d love to know.