1. Marthix
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    Marthix Member

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    How Do I Fit in Time to Read and Write?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Marthix, Aug 25, 2010.

    College just started yesterday and already I know it's going to be a full semester. I'm taking sixteen credits and on top of that, I have one full-time job (40 hours per week...four days a week) and one part-time job (between 10 to 15 hours per week on two days). I'm one who stays fit by running, biking, and lifting weights for about two to three hours per day, and I also spend an hour playing and feeding my black labs. Then I've got all of that homework to finish. Four of my classes are online so that helps; only one is on campus on Mondays at 5:30pm to 9:30pm.

    I'm worried that I won't have much time to read for my own enjoyment and write my story on a daily basis. How can I fit in enjoyment reading and writing? When and how should I go about doing that? Plus how much reading and writing should I fit in per day? Thanks!
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Reading is easy use audio books while you are walking or running.

    Writing how do you commute? or just cut down somewhere else, if you want to commit to something then something else may need to be sacrificed, maybe make it two hours lifting weights and an hour writing. Or put aside some time at the weekend
     
  3. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sadly, Marthix, when your sched is that overloaded, you have to make choices. Something is going to be sacrificed. (In my case, it's usually sleep!) When I was in college, I, too, had a full-time job, a part-time job (that started at 6:00 a.m. M - F), I tutored other students, had two kids and a disabled spouse to care for!

    And ALL of my classes were on-campus. But that wasn't really such a bad thing. Most of my homework was done between classes and I was able to do a great deal of long-hand, pen/pencil to paper conscious writing. I got a LOT of writing done in those down times between classes. Then, of course, I ended up sleeping five or six hours a night instead of seven or eight. I used to run, too, until I powdered a section of my knee joint. That always meant getting up at 5:30 every morning to get 4 - 6 miles in before my day 'started'. It would also not be unusual for me to sit up in bed, a notebook (lower case 'C') propped on my knees, a reading lamp lit beside the bed and write long, loooong into the night - 2 or 3 in the morning. It was while dinner was cooking or kids were doing homework or, usually, on weekends that I was able to transcribe notes to computer and move a story along from there.

    It's a matter of priorities, actually. For me, writing was very high on the list and other things were traded off in the process. You have to decide just how your priorities lay out for you. What do you want most and just how much? Most importantly at this point, how does your writing stack up to your bachelors? You don't want to compromise your studies so you might not be able to give your writing as much time during the coming semester as you would like. And perhaps you might be willing to give up one day or hour a week from things like running/cycling/playing with the dogs in order to give yourself the writing time you want. One trick I learned is to keep a note pad or micro-cassette handy. Whenever you have a few minutes and some idea or plot device pops into your head, jot it down. I always have paper and pen, Notebook, or even a cell phone handy - anything I can write on - and, when I am waiting for an appointment or standing in line at a grocery or department store I can always make notes or additions to my latest project.

    It really is a difficult balancing act and not one everybody can manage. After all ... if it were easy, everyone would do it!
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Keep a notebook to jot down your thoughts and ideas whenever you find the time. But if you want to get real serious about writing, then you will definitely have to sacrifice something. During the school year I set aside 10-15 hours per week to read and write. That really helps me get things done.
     
  5. Cecil
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    Cecil Member

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    If I were you, the first thing I would do is look for little gaps in my schedule. Five minutes here, two minutes there, etc. and at the end of the day, you may have written 20-30 minutes. Carrying around a notepad would help with this, since you'll literally be wanting to be able to write at a moments notice to fully take advantage of your time.

    If you want to write more than that, or your gaps just don't add up to enough, then you have to pick something to sacrifice. 2-3 hours of working out per day seems a little extreme to me, but I don't know what you need to stay healthy. However, if you can maintain decent health with less exercise and you're really just giving up "being buff" then that's another sacrifice I would make to write.

    The other option is to simply put your writing on the shelf for now and pick it back up when you have more time. If you don't want your skills to get rusty, you might be able to maintain them (and keep your story from slipping out of your head) if you can just pull together 5-10 minutes a day.
     
  6. Nervous1st
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    Nervous1st Senior Member

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    Marthix - Have a look at an earlier thread (just the other day) I started titled 'Time Management' there was some good advice there as well as what you already have here.

    I have two kids under three and work part time in my husband’s business plus work additional hours at home. Hubby works up to twelve hour days, so I'm more or less raising the kids on my own.

    I'm desperate to get my novel finished so, as the others have already said, something has to be sacrificed. For me at the moment it’s spending time with my friends. I would usually meet with other mums during the week or go out on weekends, but since it's winter here anyway, I'm staying home a lot more.

    It’s a juggling act and I’ve found there are many benefits to establishing a routine.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the same way any writer does: wherever/whenever/however possible!

    as much as you can...

    there are no rules 'n regs for this stuff... no right or wrong way/time/amount... only whatever works for you... and routines don't work for everyone... some lives are too complicated to keep to a routine, so simply doing it whenever/wherever/however you can is the best you can do...
     
  8. Marthix
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    Marthix Member

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    I thank you everyone for the advice, suggestions, tips, etc. I'm willing to make a strategic sacrifice so I can continue onwards with my story. I haven't written much of it yet but I sense that I have the urgency to write this story now. If I delay on writing it because of my sophisticated school and work schedules, I may lose that thrill I'm getting from this story I have envisioned over the last few weeks. Right now, it would be very hard to find a time niche for me to rely on for reading and writing. However, I think I've decided to cut a class for the semester. I'm cutting it out of my schedule because of this tuition rate thing. It'd be smarter to take an extra class in the spring versus taking that same class this fall. I'd still be on course to graduate by summer 2011.

    I think that shall allow me to write this story while I have great passion to do so. So that's great news and makes this fall a little bit more relaxing! Now I'll have four-and-a-half solid months to work on my story on a daily basis (maybe minus a day or two...Mondays are my busiest days by far). Yay!
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    is it only a 'story' [which in the writing world = 'short story'] or is it a book/novel?
     
  10. Marthix
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    Marthix Member

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    It is a book/novel. Not a short story. Perhaps if I treated my novel as a 'class' that I would've had, I can make some real ground work on it nearly every day. If I have from the beginning of Septemember to mid-January (13 credits) before school really ramps up in the spring (18 credits), I can get a lot done. Perhaps I'll finish my first draft by then and start revising and all. Do you think my approach is good?
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    whatever approach works for you is a 'good' one!
     
  12. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Yeah, definitely. Get all the grundge work done, then take your time revising and editing. Hope your story goes well :)

    T1
     
  13. litchickuk
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    litchickuk Member

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    Commuting is a good time to get in reading and writing - i used to get the train to uni and it took about an hour so instead of wasting the time looking out of the window I worked on what was important.
    Getting the need to do stuff out of the way first is always best - do the essay etc while its all still fresh in your mind and clear it away, so that you dont have to worry about the deadline coz its just sittting there ready to go - therefore you can spend more time on you personal writing.

    Basically you can fit it in around anything and everything, if you want to that is. You dont need to kick anything out of your schedule. I always carry a notebook and even though Im not meant to, if work is dead then Ill write at work. Its concealable enough and I just keep telling myself that once ive written that fab book - i wont have to work anymore so I can spend more time doing the all important reading and writing!
     
  14. LBD
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    LBD New Member

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    As litchickuk said: commuting is great for reading/writing! No matter where I go, I always take a book with me. And a notepad. If I'm standing in line somewhere, I can read ;)

    I also read on the toilet. And right before I go to bed.

    As for writing: try to write at least 300 words a day, no matter how good or bad they are. It will keep you going and maybe you can treat it as an assignment so that you don't procrastinate?
     
  15. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I writing is one more chore to add to your burden, you probably going too fail.

    If writing is the breath of life that you need, crave and cling onto. If you love it like manic stalker. If it is what you mind is always working on. If you cant help yourself filling each paper you come across with scribbles on the marginal with fragments of story... The you will be fine.

    You will find the time, hours and hours of it each week. But if you don't posses that insane drive for writing... well... good luck.



    Ps: As a practical foot note. Get a physical paper notebook. If you got tons of stuff hanging over you writing at the computer tend to invite distractions.
     

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