One of the greatest struggles writers face is finding TIME to write.
I opened up my blog for questions a week ago, and many of the questions had to do with the TIME factor.
So, I wanted to start the week by tackling Liza Carens Salerno's question: “What do you do when your writing routine gets disrupted? How do you get yourself back on track? I'm struggling with the changes that the summer schedule has introduced and am curious how others adjust.”
Oh, Liza, thank you for asking that question! It’s one I’ve been struggling with a LOT this summer. And I’m sure others are as well.
At the beginning of June, I heaved a huge sigh, grateful to be done with the school year and the hectic daily schedule of mothering and teaching my five children. Now I would have more time—extra long days to work on my writing-related work, clean my house (finally), take the kids swimming, and maybe enjoy a day or two doing whatever I wanted.
Boy was I wrong! I only had to take one look at my summer calendar to realize I had suddenly become Taxi-Mom. Pottery class for my twins, computer class and guitar lessons for my oldest son, swimming lessons, basketball camp, piano lessons, and on and on it went. Between my five children and all their fun activities, I suddenly found myself with more interruptions to my writing time than during the school year.
I started to stress. How would I finish the edits on Book #2 and get them to my publisher by the end of June? When would I find the time to comb through my Galleys for The Preacher’s Bride? Would I still have time to write up interviews/guest posts I’d planned on doing in my “free time” during the summer?
I can’t claim that I’ve resolved all my stress or come up with a perfect solution to the problem of having disruptions to my writing time. But here are just a few of the things I did to adjust to the new routine:
1. Have a meltdown and gain sympathy from those we live with. Okay, so NOT really. Try to avoid this one, if possible. It didn’t work very well for me.
2. Look at my schedule and block in times to write. Maybe I won’t be able to write at my usual times, but when I looked hard enough I could find chunks of time most days where I could schedule in concentrated time.
3. Let my family know my work schedule. The fact is most writers work from home, and we all know that working at home presents all kinds of challenges. We battle our own distractibility as well as the interruptions of others. But if we schedule “work” time and take it seriously, our families will likely follow suit.
4. Let some good things go. We’ll have to make some sacrifices because as much as we’d like super powers, we just don’t have them. We can’t go everywhere and do everything. And as much as my kids would love to go to the pool and park to play with friends every day, it won’t hurt them to stay at home, ride bikes with each other, and run through the sprinkler in the back yard. In fact, maybe those are the moments that will stick with them the most after the classes and lessons are long over.
5. Lower my expectations. I’ve had to realize I just can’t do everything the way I have in the past. Maybe I won’t get all the projects and cleaning done over the summer that I’d hoped to. Perhaps I won’t have time to write up all the interviews. I have to remind myself to set realistic goals, ones that I actually have a chance of meeting.
So, that’s what I do when my writing routine gets disrupted. What's your writing schedule like over the summer? How do you get yourself back on track when you face disruptions to your routine?