By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund
As a mom of five children, I'm often asked how I do it. How do I find time to manage my busy household, homeschool, AND write?
There are lots of writers who work day jobs, have families, and try to eke out writing careers. And I'm no different. I teach during the day, juggle family responsibilities, and write whenever I can.
Like any other person trying to balance dual careers or multiple responsibilities, I’ve had to look for ways to have a writing career alongside everything else. Of course there are numerous ways I try handle it all: I simplify home life, enlist help from my family, and stick to a strict writing schedule.
Even so, there are plenty of days where I struggle to find writing time. The truth is, no matter what we do, we won't find more time . . . unless we make sacrifices.
Yes, those who juggle multiple responsibilities have to make tough sacrifices in order to have writing time. We can't add writing to our already full plates without taking something away. Otherwise we risk burnout. And we risk mediocrity because it becomes difficult to do anything well when we spread ourselves too thin.
Over the years, here are just a few of the things I've given up in part or whole in order to make time for writing:
1. Sacrifice social activities. I choose social engagements very sparingly. There are always numerous things going on in my community, church, and circles of friends. But I have to say no more than I say yes. I reserve most of my socializing for when I go to my kids' activities.
2. Sacrifice housework. I still try to maintain some semblance of order in my home. And I require everyone who lives in the house to help with the housework. That's only common courtesy and good practice. My husband even does the grocery shopping. But I have to admit, I hired a cleaning lady last year. At this season in my life, paying for help has been worth it.
3. Sacrifice TV. I don't watch much TV. It helps that we don't have cable. Even with a few basic channels and Netflix, it's still all too tempting to turn on the TV. But I work hard at limiting the amount of time our TV is on, even for my kids.
4. Sacrifice hobbies. There are many things I enjoy like gardening, scrapbooking, and doing crafts. But one by one, my hobbies have fallen to the side (unless I do them with one of my kids).
5. Sacrifice outside commitments. I don't commit to many responsibilities outside my family. I don't coach sports teams. I don't teach Sunday school. And I don't serve on any committees or boards. At this point in my life, I'm using my gift of writing to serve others. I don't allow myself to be guilted into taking on more.
6. Sacrifice fellowship. Notice I said fellowship, not friendship. I still value my friends dearly. And most of my closest friends understand that I have less time in my life for getting together, and they support me anyway. But the fact is, I don't often have the luxury of going out for coffee with friends or having families over for dinner.
So what haven't I sacrificed? I try not to sacrifice spending time with my family. I still go to my kid's activities and games (even if it means writing less). I haven't sacrificed my own spiritual, emotional, or physical care. In fact, I even added running to my weekly schedule.
Of course there are many things that remain constant in my life. But as my writing career has progressed, I've had to give up a lot in order to fit in the time I need to write. The bottom line is that I don't have much free time.
I'm not sure if I'll always need to make so many sacrifices. My hope is that one day I can add back in some of the things I've cut out! But for now, the sacrifices are worth the opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream and desire to write novels.
Writers, what are some sacrifices you've had to make to find more writing time?
And readers, what do you sacrifice in order to do the things you love?