1. misterhamtastic
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    misterhamtastic New Member

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    What are some good goals for making writing a habit? (Especially with kids)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by misterhamtastic, Jul 16, 2012.

    I have been writing here and there, as the mood strikes. I want to make it a habitual thing, though, and I'm not sure what my goals should be. I tend to use goals pretty rigidly, but without them, I'm not sure how to get myself to sit down and do it daily. Some examples: Do I shoot for a word count or a time limit? I have kids, and generally can't prevent them from interrupting-how do I fight the frustration from that? (For example, half way through the last sentence, my 3 year old asked about the time and plans. No problem for a forum post, but while writing a story, it's distracting.) Any advice is welcome.
     
  2. Steph4136
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    Steph4136 Senior Member

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    I can relate to the frustration when you're trying to write and one of your kids interrupts you. Right now I have next to no time for writing because of my 16 month old toddler. I also have a 6 year old, but she's self sufficient when it comes to things like getting a glass of water or going to the bathroom. I try to write when my toddler is napping, she naps for about 2 hours from noon until 2ish. I can usually jam something out, or work on revisions. I don't set daily goals though, since I know right now I wouldn't meet them and I don't need to put pressure on myself in that way.

    I've been thinking a lot about it recently and for me, I have to put writing on the back burner for the summer. Yes writing is a part of my life and a bit more than a hobby for me....but man my kids are so much more important than me staring at my computer pegging away. I don't want their memories to be of mom ignoring them for the sake of the computer. I'm not sure if you have an older child than your 3 year old, but I sometimes look at Ayla (my 6 yo) and it seems like just yesterday she was toddling around like Lizzy (my toddler). Time flies, our kids are only this age for a short time. Soon they'll be teenagers and want nothing to do with me so I need to enjoy it now while I can.

    That said, I do miss writing daily. I miss the escapism. I'm a SAHM and some days are rough - today being one of them. During the school year my mother-in-law takes my toddler for one day during the week. I call it my day off, which it is, and I plan ahead for it so I have the day free of housework and errands and I get solid writing done. I don't want to rush summer by as it's my favorite time of year, but sometimes I can't wait for fall so I can get back to writing like I used to.
     
  3. misterhamtastic
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    misterhamtastic New Member

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    Exactly. I have 5 from 3 to 16, and it's nearly constantly either,"Daddy. Daddy. Daddy? Daddy!" or someone somewhere is screaming at someone else. My wife wants my whole attention when she's home from work. It's just tough. I'm here right now, because I want to write, but everytime I bring up word, someone comes with a question or demand. lol
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm there with you guys. I have an 8 y.o. and an almost 3 y.o. The 3 y.o. goes to daycare 3 days a week. Right now I am a SAHM, not really by choice -- more by the fact that I moved years ago, and then couldn't find a job, ended up doing contract work, which was fine with me since I then had my first son. Then when I had my second son, there was almost no contract work anymore and it's too hard to find something with a reasonable commute and pick up my kids from daycare or aftercare. That's partially why I started writing.

    I haven't so much had a huge problem finding time to write -- I wrote my first novel back in November/December and since then I've been trying to get feedback, etc. on it. (That's been very frustrating.) I ended up writing 2 others, when I had spare time or at night after everyone was asleep. But since I was kind of doing those for fun, I didn't have a real deadline or time crunch, so I didn't worry too much about it. Since my writing is my fun time, or escape, I don't worry so much about finding the time to do it -- I end up doing it when I can, either after everyone's asleep or before everyone's up, or when my younger one is napping and my older one is either in school, camp or out playing. The school year is obviously much easier.

    For me, though, I kind of made a promise that I would do *something* related to writing every day. That doesn't necessarily mean writing my novel (I actually have a harder time stopping myself than starting). Lately, that's meant reading books on the craft of writing. I find I can edit better when I've let something marinate for a while. I posted the beginning of my novel on another site and I got some kind of distressing feedback. So right now I've been focusing on that, trying unsuccessfully to fix it, and reading what I can find on beginnings.

    What I've always heard is that people who really want to write find the time to do it -- they go to bed an hour later or get up an hour earlier and just do it. I've heard writers say that if they've devoted themselves full time to writing and spend 8 hours at the computer just writing and end up with trash, that it was still worthwhile because they were thinking and even the writing of stuff that didn't work helped them work though what needed to be done in order to get to their story.

    I completely understand the frustration. It is especially difficult when my 2 year old insists on sitting on my lap and "pushing the buttons" on my computer when I'm trying to type a response to something I saw on a forum. I wish I had some better advice for you, but all I've ever heard on this topic was just that you have to make the time, taking time away from sleep, television, or other hobbies.
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, I know this, too. My husband considers any time I spend in front of my computer to be me "wasting time." It doesn't matter if I'm on facebook (which I admit, I sometimes am -- especially with not getting to go to an office everyday, it keeps me kind of socially connected to other adults), reading the news (which I think is a worthwhile endeavor), reviewing my email (which can go either way, but often does deal with some legitimate issue I need to address) or reading/revising my story. To him, it's all the same.

    And sure, every time I sit down, someone's demanding something. Sometimes it's all I can do to not say "WTF is it now????"
     
  6. Steph4136
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    Steph4136 Senior Member

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    Liz (can I call you that?), I wish I could write at night, or even get up early to do so. I am just SO tired come evening, by the time my toddler is in bed, I'm pooped. Zero motivation for writing, no creative juices flowing and all I want to do is curl up on the couch and relax. As the alarm goes off at 5:30 as it is and my kids don't sleep in, I can't see myself getting up even earlier to write. Ten years ago I did that though, before going into work....but now that I'm in my coughlatethirtiescough, I need more sleep than I did in my twenties.

    For me I know that once school starts back up, it'll go back to normal. Plus my husband is VERY supportive of me finding time to write. Yesterday I went up to our room with the door closed and spent a few hours wrapping up something I've been working on that could bring some money in. I just need to find more weekends like that to do so. It's the time of year where there's a lot of family bbqs, or just swimming in the afternoons. I admit I'd rather go swimming than anything else though, as I love it and winters are long here.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Steph, you certainly can call me Liz. I get what you're saying. I have the *exact* same issue with respect to working out. Since I don't have any writing so far that's made me any money, and I don't have any sort of external deadline, and since I have my main story finished and I'm just kind of spinning my wheels right now, I don't have a current need to set a particular goal as far as number of words or pages or scenes or time spent writing.

    I also have the philosophy that if I really don't feel like writing and am totally unmotivated and have nothing to say, that whatever I write will be useless crap anyway, so I'm not too concerned about it. It'll be a different story after I sell my three book deal with the movie rights ;-) If I had some sort of deadline, I'd be forced to carve out some time somehow.
     
  8. Steph4136
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    Steph4136 Senior Member

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    The gym is my haven these days. My kids love the daycare there though, so it works for all three of us.

    That's so funny, I'm going to be selling a three book deal with movie rights too! ;)

    And we've steered way off topic....to the OP, if you NEED goals in order to get things accomplished, then I suggest doing a small goal of X words a day. Maybe 300-500 words, which is only about 1-2 pages in Word, Times New Roman, 12 pt Font, double spaced.
     

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