Monday, September 04, 2006

Time for writing

I work a full time job, which fills my day until 6:00 and 6:30 p.m. five days a week. After a day at work, I am pretty tired. Maybe I could write, but I feel more like watching a movie on DVD or reading a book or going to bed. On weekends there is house cleaning and running errands and various writerly activities other than writing: posting to my personal blog and this blog, reading stories by other Wyrdsmiths... My second writing group, the Lady Poetesses from Hell, meets one Sunday a month. In the fall and winter there are operas on Sunday. (I have season tickets.) Patrick and I like to take day trips to Duluth or down along the Mississippi on the weekend.

Most of my working life, I have worked part time or taken time off between jobs to write. About ten years ago, I looked at those neat little reports you get from the Social Security Administration and realized I could not afford to retire. I needed to make more money in order to increase my social security payments; and I needed to save money. Since then, I have worked full time, and my productivity as a writer has gone down.

I'm not saying it's impossible for me to find time to write. Difficult is not impossible, as I always like to say. But I do feel frustrated; and I am unwilling to give up the rest of my life in order to write. Russell Letson, the distinguished Locus critic, has told me -- when you get to be our age, Eleanor, it's time to give up deferring gratification. Deferring gratification is fine when you're young; but if we don't enjoy our lives now, when will we?

How do other people find time to write?

6 comments:

Mindy Klasky said...

I wake up at 5:30 each morning, so that I can shoehorn in .5 to 1 hour of publicity/promotion (including reading and writing in my blog). While I occsionally get some writing done during that slot, I get the vast majority of my writing done on weekends (taking one morning or one afternoon a weekend) and on "Writing Marathon", taking a week of "vacation" time from the day-job, to write for 9 consecutive days. I've tried to hone my writing focus so that when I'm writing, I'm producing solid, usable words.

It isn't easy to balance. I'm fortunate that I've got an understanding spouse. (I'm not trying to juggle kids in the mix.)

Sean M. Murphy said...

I've tried to put aside at least two evenings a week, plus half of a weekend day. I, too, do not have children (and to those of you who do, along with a full time job, and still find time to write--I stand in awe).

Had I my druthers, I would either A) Go to bed at 8 p.m. and get up at 4:00 am, starting the day off with writing for about three hours, or B) get up at about 7:30 am, but go to bed at 11:30 or midnight and finish the day off with about three or four hours of writing. I need longer blocks to write, to the point where if I only have about an hour and a half, I probably won't try to write, because I haven't been able to get very much accomplished in that length of time, and working without accomplishing anything is an easy way to destroy motivation.

And I agree, it's hard, it's frustrating, and I wish I could write for 60 hours a week.

Mari Adkins said...

I'm lucky. I'm mostly a homemaker (Brian Keene would kill me if he saw this post! LOL). I have a strict schdule I adhere to. I spend my time writing from 1pm to 5:30 every weekday (my schedule is a bit different on the weekends). 5:30-7 is making dinner, eating, and cleaning up. And then, since I'm not a tv watcher, I curl up on the sofa with either a movie or the radio on in the background, clipboard and pen at hand and write more until 10 or 11.

If nothing's coming or if I need a break, I read. I do believe very strongly in taking breaks. To me, it's kinda like rebooting the old noggin'.

lydamorehouse said...

I completely sympathize, Eleanor, but you know that I think work is overrated. I completely advocate time thieft whenever possible. Stick it to the Man, grrl.

Seriously, though, these days I write when Mason (my three year old) is asleep. Luckily, he's a lark, which means he's to bed by 7:00 or 8:00 pm and that still gives me a decent chunk of evening with which to get some writing done.

I will tell the truth, however. I wouldn't write at all if not for deadlines. The day I don't have a contracted deadline over my head may very well be the last time I write.

Reader Kurt said...

As a reader, the older I get the harder it is to find time to read. My eyes give out on me much sooner, so I can't stay up as late as I used to. To pay the bills, I work two jobs. I can get some reading done at Uncle Hugo's on the Saturdays I work there, but not at the library where I work full time. Keeping a blog and reading all those other blogs doesn't help either.

You fine folks do what you can to write the stories and I'll do my best to getting around to reading them. Time, where does one purchase more of it?

Erik Buchanan said...

My schedule is get up at 5:45 AM, gym, breakfast, kid to daycare (she's 19 months) for 8 AM, me to work for 8:30, go home at 5 PM, dinner, kid to bed or tidy apartment (my wife and I take turns), then write from 8:30 or 9 PM to 11 PM or midnight every evening (because sleep isn't necessary, is it?)

One weekend day, I try to write in the afternoon as well.

All you married writers, join me in taking a moment to thank the Gods for understanding spouses!