1. SprinkleSutton
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    SprinkleSutton Member

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    How do I find time to write?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SprinkleSutton, Jun 7, 2010.

    Help! Mother of one very messy little girl here, crammed into a small apartment with her, my husband and his best friend who sleeps on our couch. (Husband is also messy) My house looks like one of those hoarder shows, sink always full of dishes, stuff packed all around, just little pathways to walk through, and I clean houses for a living 5 days a week. (For shame!) I may need professional help, but I am hoping perhaps some suggestions from my peers could steer me in the right direction to help myself.

    I am horrible at budgeting my time! I'm one of those writers that seldom finishes a story, I just keep getting idea after idea, so I have about 30 stories started. I sometimes finish them in my mind though, as far as character development and pivotal plot points, I just can't find the time to get them out of my head to share them with others.

    Can you guys tell me your methods for budgeting typing time in to your busy schedules? I feel like I am squandering a God given gift by not devoting more time to my talent, I just don't know where to start! :(

    Open to suggestions-

    Sprinkle
     
  2. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Sprinkle

    I'd need to know your domestic situation in more detail to meaningfully answer this, but there is usually a way to work things out.

    For example, when I wrote my first novel, which was several years ago now (it was self-published 4 years ago), I was working full-time Monday to Friday and had a wife and young son living with me. I tended to write for a couple of hours in the afternoon at weekends, and quite often had an empty quiet house to do it in.

    I'm now writing my second novel, but live in very different circumstances, with a new partner and three small children, and the only time I can write is late in the evening, although I sometimes feel too mentally tired to do myself justice, but I persevere.

    You certainly seem to have an unfortunate domestic set-up (with regard to writing I mean) but you have to identify a regular time when you can achieve a little peace and quietness. Is your girl still at home, or does she go to school yet? Does your husband (and his friend) go out to work? In other words, do you have any "alone" time during the day in which you could write? Failing that, is it possible to kick all of your co-residents out of the apartment for a couple of hours at weekends to give you the time that you seek? And if that doesn't work, are you able to write late in the evening, or are your husband and his friend still creating a disturbance?

    As a last resort, maybe you could leave them all to it and head out to a library or someplace quiet and peaceful on a weekend and get some writing done there?

    I wish you luck with whichever way you decide, and don't give up! :)
     
  3. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    I think a lot of people have the same problem. I work a 70 hour week so it is also hard to fit in writing around work. I started getting up about an hour earlier and using that time to write...or going to bed an hour later.

    If you are determined to write then it has to take priority over minor things like housework. Your husband can surely clear up his own mess for a start! If it is too noisy to write in your house then make time every day - go for a walk, take yourself to somewhere quiet at weekends. Make sure your family and friends know that they cannot interrupt you, they should be understanding if it is what you really want to do.

    Sometimes just carrying around a note pad is all it takes. I use my time on trains, planes, waiting for coffee, waiting for a bus, I gave up watching TV about 4 years ago, Sunday is usually a good writing day for me; my friends and family understand that I can't be interrupted during this time. I shut the door, switch the phone off and spend as much of the day writing as I can.

    My partner is a musician - he is very understanding about needing time for creative stuff and also needs time to write music, etc. himself so it works well. Having a supportive partner is a necessity I think.

    The only answer really is to sit down and figure out when and where you waste time each week and use this time to write. I found the only time I had spare was time I spent sleeping so I cut into that!

    All writers have the same problem but like you say, if you have a talent you owe it to yourself to dedicate time to it. I've never met anyone who had any major regrets over leaving washing up in the sink. However, I have met a lot of people who wish they had dedicated more time to pursuing what they love.

    Good luck and I hope you find some time!

    :)
     
  4. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    My methods simple, I became unemployed. Unfortuantly I was made unemployed due to budget cuts at the place that I used to work.

    When I was working full time I found it difficult to get a lot of writing done and as a result my big idea was put on hold. I did used to get a couple of hours of writing done everyweek, but this was done by cutting down on the time that I spent on my Xbox.

    If you've got an idea that you think could be great or brilliant then you may have to cut down on other areas to get it finished. You could also get either your husband or your friend on the couch to take care of the child for an hour a night while you focus on writing.
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I make time.

    I always try to stay up another hour or so just so I can write something short; at least it's something.

    Most of the time I like to put at least 2 hours into my writing in a day, with another few for reading - it's not like writing is my only hobby either; I make time to play my guitar, or bass, or piano too.

    If you really love doing it, you'll do it - that's something of a motto.
     
  6. forgebench
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    forgebench Member

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    I started getting up earlier to get an hour of writing in every morning.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    How do you find time to sleep? To do laundry? To make meals?

    You have to find time for those things. They aren't optional, which is another way of saying they have the highest priority.

    So you list what activities you need to fit into each day, and prioritize them, and allocate time for all te priotitized tasks you decide to retain. Some priority tasks still must be done, but maybe not every day. Other tasks you may be able to squeeze into a tighter time slot than they currently occupy.

    If you have Microsoft Outlook, you can use the Calendar and Task features to help you schedule. And yes, that even works when you have kids, even though you don't know exactly when they will demand your time. Because you already have those skills, to complete the tasks that are already on your "no choice" task list.
     
  8. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    A crazy life can often make it impossible to write. I used to baby sit eight children all between the ages of five and ten from 4am to 7pm. I squeezed in house chores, luandry and every other chore that needed to be done. When I wasn't baby sitting I was at my house doing chores and helping with the yard work. Before I got to bed it would be past midnight.

    During this time I wanted to write in the worst way possible, but I was also suffering from writer's block. Finally in the midst of all the chaos my friend dragged me from the house and we took a eight hour walk. During this time she got me talking about my stories and where I had plans on going with them. It wasn't writing them down, but it got me back to focusing on them.

    The next day when she came over she had three notebooks full of everything I said about my stories and where I wanted to go with them. After that I started dedicating an hour to two hours a day to writing.

    Anyways, my point being is, get out of the house for a little while. Leave everything behind and just go someplace where you can organize your thoughts and get things written down. Your husband can manage your daughter and make some effort towards cleaning the house. Do this once a week, or maybe every few days. Before you know it you'll be taking hours a night to write away.
     
  9. Joules03
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    Joules03 Senior Member

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    I am a mother of two young boys, and the only time I have to write is when they go to bed at night. Even if I only do half an hour a night, at least I make time for it. I think it's valuing writing enough to consider it part of your daily routine -- it's just what you do.

    What helped for me was buying a laptop. There's some super cheap ones out there, like netbooks, and then you can write anywhere. You could bring it with you at work, and schedule in the time to write in your car. You'll be completely undisturbed, and you can park somewhere that inspires you.

    As for finishing your stories, pick your favourite and finish it. Don't worry about how every little line sounds, just get the words down and get to the point where you can write THE END. You can go back and revise later, but at least you have something to work with. It is SO satisfying to finish a manuscript, and I promise you, it will motivate you to keep going!

    Good luck - and make the time!
     
  10. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    Whenever I have a break from my university studies, or when I am on holiday, I can be found writing stories; I even write stories during breaks in my class time.
     
  11. Tiger Shark
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    Tiger Shark Member

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    I also work 2 jobs and I also have a messy apartment. lol, but I dont have anyone to blame that on but my self since I live alone. I have found, at least a partial solution, to my writing time problem. I recently bought a Motorola backflip, downloaded a couple of apps and signed up to a couple of blogs. On my breaks, I can write, save, and post my ideas and even add to them with my phone. If I don't write my ideas down immediately, they get lost.
    You might look into a smart phone and use it to its full potential.
     
  12. SprinkleSutton
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    SprinkleSutton Member

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    Oh my gosh! Thank you so much everyone! :) You all gave me lots of ideas to try and encouragement to help push me forward.

    To answer a few questions my schedule goes like this:

    Everyday is different. :)

    I just started dedicating spare time to working out, so I do know how to prioritize to a degree. My health was fading fast, so I melted about 30 pounds off and am now a new person. I have a long way to go still, but it is a good start. Sunday morning is the best time for me, so I suppose starting once a week is still at least something. Hopefully I will find more time to be had later.

    How does one prioritize life? You do things that needs to be done, somethings are more demanding than others, especially when you have a family to take care of. I have a very hard time with schedules, they stress me out completely. I'm such a free spirit and prefer to follow the wind instead of a timer. I don't know how I made it through school as long as I did, but I ended up dropping out of high school and getting my GED. A schedule seems to be the only solution here. :( Woe is me...

    But on a lighter note, it is refreshing and inspiring to see so many of you care to share you opinion and try to help me with my problem. Thank you so very much, and hopefully you will all be as kind when critiquing my work in the future. Ha! Now I know that is a joke!
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    As someone with relatives who are hoarders, I'm more concerned about the household issue than the writing issue. But it occurs to me to wonder if the two could be combined. You could start a blog, or a journal, and simultaneously clear the house and write about the process. And I'm confident that it would be an interesting process to write about. (Two or three books on the subject just came out, in fact.)

    If you want more interaction and input, you could join one of the online decluttering support groups, and journal by writing there. Sure, that wouldn't be a book, but it would be regular, frequent practice in writing, and I think that that's worthwhile progress toward your goal of writing.

    And once the chaos in the house is reduced or eliminated, I think that there would be room, both physically and mentally, for pushing the writing to the next step.

    Another side note: Houses such as you describe are often a result of perfectionism, a fear of completing tasks because they might be completed imperfectly. Is it possible that you're experiencing perfectionism in your writing? What if you took some of those stories and forced yourself to finish them, no matter how lousy you thought that the ending was?

    I also have to comment about the "messy little girl". The state of the house is not that little girl's fault. Children are not designed to solve the problems of, or even function in, a house that's reached the point of narrow pathways. The most that a child can be expected to do is perform simple child-sized tasks in an otherwise orderly house - such as putting her toys away in the empty space in the roomy shelves that have been provided for her. The state of the house is a problem that the adults in that child's life need to solve. It's not her fault and it's not her responsibility.
     
  14. Jenni
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    Jenni New Member

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    Hi,

    I have two girls (messy ones too) who are 7 and 18 months. The oldest goes to school so I write for around an hour while the youngest is having a nap. I then write for an hour two when they're both in bed.

    I don't do this every day as sometimes there are places to go or the will to write is absent but most days or every other day at a stretch, I get something down.
     
  15. SprinkleSutton
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    SprinkleSutton Member

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    I am not a hoarder, but thank you for your concern ChickenFreak.

    I live in an 800 square foot apartment with three other people, and while my domestic talents leave me as the housekeeper, I don't have the time or energy to clean up after everyone, including myself sometimes. I know if my family asks to help me clean it is getting bad, then we all spend an hour or so cleaning up.

    My biggest concern is not cleaning, but having time to write. I am not getting any younger, and the farther away I get from high school the worse my grammar gets.

    I'm just going to take it one day at a time, remember the great ideas all of you have offered and hopefully one will work into mi vida loca.
     
  16. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    Remember, if you can even just squeeze in one page a day, you'll have a novel length manuscript in a year. Even the little stuff counts. It can be hard in a hectic life to fit in writing time, but even 20 minutes can really add up if you are consistent. Good luck! :)
     
  17. philfoot
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    philfoot New Member

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    Where and when do you write ?

    Hi

    I am new to writing, but I have listened, good or bad, to the idea that there is a good book inside everybody.

    I have the idea, the plot, the path it will follow, and have outlined over a period of many months how the story will develop in short hand. For me I am very excited because there is a lot of humour in the book, and I fall about laughing when put the word's on paper, or even just thinking about the story whilst doing my day job involved in the medical profession. I am sure people, including my wife, and my patients must think I am going insane, who knows perhaps they are right. Once the 'book' is finished it would be fantastic if everyone that reads it understands my sense of humour, either that or lock me away !

    Even with months of planning actually getting the words into my computer has been a problem. I seem to be able to what I call write in pen and paper, but have problems to get it in to this high tech machine.

    I think I know what it is, a lack of organising correctly my 'me' time. I can make so many excuses for not sitting down, but how can I get round it. Its a sad situation that the pace of the world is such that we have to multi task as a matter of course, is this really progress?

    How do you set out your writing time, how do you manage your time, what advice would you give for a new writer. Does it get better as you become more experienced, or do I have to retire from my day job, if only. I am sure I am not alone, the problem must affect many, possibly all writers.

    I am rather impressed that in my limited time on this forum I have achieved promotion from a newbie to a writer in my mind at least. However if I do not get somewhere with this problem I have a feeling I will be demoted very soon.

    Some wise friend suggested a writers retreat, but can not summon the enthusiasm to take that option, or at least not at the moment too busy!

    So tips please, otherwise I will never get this book out of my head, and I will continue to burst out in fits of laughter just thinking of some of the story plots.

    Thanks all.

    Regards

    Phil
     
  18. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    I find time to write in that measly hour (45 minutes or a half-hour if I have homework) between when I get home and when my dad gets home. The silence of the afternoon fuels my creative juices. I write a lot on weekends too. By write of course, I mean sit in my chair trying to think of plot points for my novel project, email my writer friend, and attempt to finish up my months-long Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction.

    The real writing goes down around evening, after I've digested my ridiculously hard-to-swallow teen vitamin. I'll write, just so that I don't forget my ideas.

    The bottom line is, I find time. Sometimes I'll write a bit at six in the morning before school too. The bright computer monitor wakes me up. And even if I can't find time, I still do things that contribute to my project. I multi-task, gathering plot inspiration and sketching characters at midnight while I watch anime. And, I manage to do all this while getting straight-A's and maintaining a healthy social life.

    If you really, really, REALLY want to write, those opportunities to do so will weave their way into your schedule. Some writers even carry around notebooks, finishing chapters while waiting at the dentists' office. I don't write on-the-go, but to each their own.
     

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