1. g_man526
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    g_man526 Member

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    How do you set aside time for writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by g_man526, May 3, 2013.

    This is more a question for those with 9-5 jobs, families, and so on. It's something I've been rather worried about lately, Lord knows why considering I'm only just about to enter law school. How do you juggle your craft with your...life? I don't want to think that these next two weeks may be the last time ever that I get to pursue my passion unimpeded.
     
  2. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I just steal time from other tasks. I get behind on many things.
     
  3. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    When dealing with a busy schedule, it can be difficult to find the time and energy to actually write. The important thing to consider is that your goal right now should be to develop a habit, not to actually accomplish anything specific.

    No matter how busy you are, you can find 15 minutes a day to write. In 15 minutes, you could easily write a page. By the end of the week, you've squeezed in 7 pages!

    So make writing a habit, and start small. Pick either a timed goal or a word count quota, and keep track. Timed goals work best for busy schedules, but word count quotas work best for making progress. If you pick time, record how many minutes a day you spend. If you pick word count, do the same for that. Keeping track allows you to look back and see how you're doing overall. Normally if you haven't written in five days, it's kind of hazy. But with a record sheet, it's painfully obvious. Sometimes that's all you need to get back on track.

    As you develop a habit, you'll find that writing comes easier to you, and the amount you can accomplish with limited time multiplies.

    Are you interested in learning a good way of keeping track of minutes or word count in Excel? I made a spreadsheet with graphs and stuff, if you're interested.
     
  4. g_man526
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    g_man526 Member

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    I mean I'm doing pretty well right now, averaging 1000 words a day. My concern is for the future. I'm only going to be able to keep up this rhythm another two weeks, because after that I start law school. Then I'm worried that after completing my grad work, life is just going to sneak up on me and take all my writing time away. I'll have a job, and then sooner or later kids. Where's the time to write? I just feel rushed I guess.
     
  5. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I did NaNoWriMo in the middle of a hectic term in grad school, and what I found helpful was setting a time limit. I didn't try it with a wife & kids, but I was always able to find at least a half an hour a day. I'd set an alarm for a half an hour, and then I'd write as fast as I could, what I called "Speed writing." It forced me to turn off my inner editor and just type. I usually topped 500 words a day that way, a thousand if I allowed myself an hour.

    I listen to a podcast called "Writing Excuses," and they talked about this once. One of the authors on there was talking about when he had a day job, a wife, and kids. He told his wife & kids that after work he needed 2 hours a day to write undisturbed, and then he would spend the rest of his evening with them. This worked really well for him and he was able to publish enough books to become a full-time novellist.
     
  6. Anthelionryu
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    Anthelionryu Member

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    I have a job, kids and an amazing wife that does her best to make sure I have some time to write every day. The only time I really get is after the kids have gone to bed. Doesn't leave a lot and it makes for some late nights and tired mornings when I get an idea that I really want to pound out... but it means that much to me.

    It's rough, but it's worth it.
     
  7. g_man526
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    g_man526 Member

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    Those last two posts were really encouraging. Thank you guys! I'm gonna bookmark this thread for whenever that doubt slithers up again.
     
  8. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    I schedule time for other things rather than time to write.
     
  9. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    From what I recall: Nicholas Sparks juggled a full time job, wife and kids when he wrote The Notebook. He did it by always alloting a certain amount of time every night and it was agreed by the family that it was his writing time and to leave him alone. Then when it wasn't his writing time, he could devote his attention to them. That seemed to have worked out well. Now, obviously, he writes full time.
     
  10. g_man526
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    g_man526 Member

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    I can only hope to have it that good. I'm totally interested in the law and enjoyed what experience I had working in it so far, but if I get a writing career that totally takes off, there's no question which one stays and which goes.
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I''m lucky enough to be retired now, but when I wasn't and had a day job, I made myself go to bed early every night ...by early, I mean around 8pm ...and then I got up at 4am to write till it was time to go to work. (I write better in the morning, with an uncluttered head, nobody yakking at me, no phones or doorbells ringing, etc.)

    People who say to establish a routine that works for you have the right idea. Of course you'll need study time and all that, so maybe if you do your 'homework' in the early evenings, go to bed as early as you can, and then treat yourself to an early-morning writing session? I know that's what I would do, but everybody is different.

    Just make sure you get your 8-hours' sleep so you don't burn out. Good luck!
     
  12. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The question is how do you set aside time for other things than writing...

    Something's gotta go, you might have to make compromises and prioritize. Time management ftw, plan ahead a lot, don't misplace your calendar (especially if it's your phone...), delegate stuff to your family/spouse. Don't get a dog and accept every party invitation.

    Why is our house a mess? Why can't we own pets? Why do I sleep the average of 6 hours per night? Why do I plan my weeks super-carefully so as to save as much time as possible to do things that I like? Because I want to write. I'm telling ya, when in your household it's both, you and your spouse who write, things sure get rather interesting when it comes to juggling other areas of life. Especially when it's not just writing we do: book research, go-out-there-and-experience-it-yourself research, plus other dear, dear hobbies. I've dropped the ball a few times, but it's not the end of the world, really. Some papers handed in too late, running late for work... it happens.
     
  13. g_man526
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    g_man526 Member

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    Don't get a dog, hm? My significant other will probably be massively disappointed, but I think you're probably right based on prior (vicarious) experience. Lucky I'm the writer and she's the painter.
     
  14. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Instead of go out with friends in the evening, stay by your laptop and write. I freelance now, but when I held a full-time job for a spell, that's what I did. I'd go one or two days without writing, and by the third day I'd be going mad lol. I simply told my husband that tonight, right now, I need to write, and well, wrote. Mind you, we don't have kids yet and my husband's a quiet man, we have days set specifically for each other and then on other days it's flexible, so pushing my husband aside for writing becomes easier.

    It's really more a matter of discipline. I imagine, if I had kids, I'd probably designate one day a week when I'd ask my husband to babysit the children and for that one evening I'd write my heart away. Of course these things are flexible, but I imagine that's how I'd do it. 2-3 hours. The baby should live :D
     
  15. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This. When I was in my late twenties, I used to get to the office by about five in the morning. I'd have at least three good quiet hours before anybody else showed up. I'd brew some coffee and write.

    That was back in the mid 80s, and I couldn't afford my own PC (back then, PCs weren't much - we were running DOS and WordStar at the office), or a printer. I had to use the office equipment to get any of my work into readable shape.

    Writing before dawn is wonderful. The world hasn't wakened yet and you get to watch the sky gradually lighten, and the day is perfect because nothing even remotely annoying has happened yet. You approach your work with a clarity of mind and a purity of purpose you can't get any other time of day.
     
  16. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I make it a priority.

    I teach English (which includes a lot of reading/grading, thus more than 9-5), teach/grade English e-courswork, and I am a village councilman. So, one full-time job, plust two part-time jobs, and writing, which as a published author means three part-time jobs. In addition, I have a family (wife and two daughters) and try to have a life, including being active in my church. So I am very busy.

    One thing that has gone by the wayside is watching television. I watch very few programs.
    A second thing, I listen to audiobooks while driving. It's not the same as reading, but it is close.

    Both of those items have freed up some time that I can dedicate to writing, my third part-time job. I think of it as a job, and that helps keep it a priority.

    There are writers who have far more on their plate than I do, and manage. I think of them and it helps keep me on track, and not say "I don't have the time."
     
  17. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    take inches where you can find them
     
  18. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you really like it, you'll squeeze it in. There's a lot you can do if you don't watch much television, too.

    Law school will be great -- you'll have MUCH more free time than you do when you're actually working at a job. My husband asks why I never bake anymore -- he feels misled, because when we were in law school I used to bake all the time. Once I had a job, the timing never worked. But with writing, you can do that at any hour. (I loved law school. Practicing law... not so much.)

    Now I squeeze it in when I can. Some things take longer than I'd like, and often I need to have some sort of deadline to really get myself in gear. I'm hoping that I'll get to attend a writer's workshop this summer, but I'll have to see if I get in, first. If you make it a priority, you'll do it. (I have two fairly young kids, so sometimes it's a challenge.)
     
  19. squishytheduck
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    squishytheduck Senior Member

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    I had a brief stint in a patent law firm. Sorry to say, but you probably won't have time to write if you become a lawyer. Maybe you can squeeze in a few sentences here or there, but they will have to be in six-minute increments.
     
  20. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    You can write a whole book in 6-minute increments if you really want to. Consistency is far more important that mass productivity.
     
  21. squishytheduck
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    squishytheduck Senior Member

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    That's true, but you also need time to think and develop your ideas, and that takes longer focused stretches, at least for me. But I'm terrible at time management.
     
  22. Anthelionryu
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    Anthelionryu Member

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    Because I don't generally have the time to sit down and write in long stretches I have to develop my ideas in my head. When I do finally get to sit down it's just a matter of putting them on paper. It's what works best for me.
     
  23. slamdunk
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    slamdunk Member

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    Go to law school. There will be time to write if you really want to write.
     
  24. g_man526
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    g_man526 Member

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    Oh yeah, going to law school is a no-brainer for me. I'm actually not worried about it anymore, as all your words of wisdom have helped - as did noticing that a good number of lawyers who graduated from my school are published authors. Thank you all so much.
     
  25. Baz the WarriorDreamer
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    Baz the WarriorDreamer Member

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    I think sometimes I put writing before I put school and friendships, even though the latter should probably come before. I think education and work is undoubtably more important. If its about your immediate education or income, I think it's important to do that, since writing is not going to gurantee you money or a career. I think it's one of those things, if you have the time, do it in your spare time. If you really want to take it professionally, make sure you have an income and then do it full time.
     

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