Stretchin’ Out That Writin’ Time

Clocks2When I worked full time it was a struggle to find the time to write. I dreamed of the time that I’d one day be working part time so that I could devote more of my time to writing and to honing my writing skills. Well, that time has arrived and you know what? Doesn’t make a bit of difference with divvying out my schedule and making sure I have sufficient time to write.

If anything, I’m busier than ever. It was decided upon my latest return to work that I’d go part-time and supplement the rest of my income through disability … something I was totally game with. I’ve worked with this law firm for nearly 25 years. I guess you could say I have a certain entitlement to finally taking it easy, particularly given my health issues. What I’m finding is an expectation of accomplishing 40 hours of work in a 24+ hour week. The inability of this is something I really have to make clear to bossman. But that’s beside the point.

I now have before me, two full days available during which I have the freedom of doing nothing but write. At least until 3:00, at which time I pick up the darlin’ daughter from school and start thinking about dinner preparations. Do I take advantage of this blissful free time? So far? … hell no. There is always something that needs to be done. Cleaning … or at the very least … straightening the house, errands to run, groceries to be bought, various health problems going on with my elderly mother, a handicapped sister and an older brother who just had a stroke a few weeks ago. Granted, with the last three issues, I have the help of siblings, so its not a task that I’m shouldering on my own.

I have the feeling that a lot of full time authors are faced with this transition. Plus, I have the feeling that this is a mindset that I have to train myself into. The actual permission that I can give myself to set a certain number of hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays during which I can do nothing but write. Managed to do this for about two hours last Tuesday and I have to admit, it felt pretty good. I also discovered that there was a certain amount of guilt because this was time that I could have used to do one of those many chores that always seem to loom over my head.

Ruler.1So, this is a question for all of you authors who write full (or part) time. How did you manage to make the transition from working a day job full time to writing full time? Both are difficult. However, with the day job, you have a set number of hours that you’re required to use to accomplish whatever task or line of employment that you’re in. With writing from home (or wherever you set up shop) you pretty much have only yourself to be accountable for. How do you do it?

About Liz Kreger

Liz Kreger writes science fiction/romances and to date, has two books published by Samhain Publishing ... FORGET ABOUT TOMORROW and PROMISE FOR TOMORROW. Liz is presently branching out to contemporary paranormals and is experimenting with urban fantasy.
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7 Responses to Stretchin’ Out That Writin’ Time

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Liz, good luck with this! It’s so hard to find a balance. I used to think that I wrote better in the morning, and I tried to force myself to do that. But now I’ve discovered I write better in the late morning and afternoon. Sometimes I get a burst of energy at night. Other times I have to force myself. Perhaps if you find your honey spot for writing and plan your day around it, that might help.

    And even if all you can do is 2 hours a day, that’s awesome! You can get a lot done in 2 hours. And that might make you want to do a little more during the other days of the week. :)

    • Liz Kreger says:

      Okay … case in point. Here it is, after 7:00 p.m. (central time) and this is the first time that I’ve had a chance to even think about responding to comments.

      When I was on a certain type of steroid, I’d sleep about two hours and then be completely awake for the rest of the night. After tossing and turning for hours, I finally gave in and began writing at 2:00 in the morning. It was the most productive time in my life. I was never so sorry to be removed from a med. :cry:

  2. I try to stick to a writing/work schedule, but it doesn’t always work. The only bad thing about working at home is there is always something to do, whether it’s writing-related or housework-related. LOL.
    Jennifer Estep`s last blog was …Killer Frost ARC giveaway …

    • Liz Kreger says:

      So you pretty much have the same problem, Jennifer. ;-) I do have the advantage of not having to rely on my writing for my sole income. Unfortunately, I can also work that into an excuse not to buckle down and force myself into a schedule.

  3. Misty Evans says:

    Liz, good for you! You can do it…it’s tough at first, but once you get into the habit of writing and make it a priority, you’ll figure how to fit in the chores and other responsibilities. I do a lot of chores and *stuff* during writing breaks. I’ll write for a couple hours in the morning, take a break and do a few things around the house, then go back in until lunch time. In the afternoon, I work on client blurbs and plotting, website updates, promos, etc. When the kids come home, I spend some time with them, prep for dinner, and return phone calls.

    With my parents needing a lot of my time and care, some days/weeks are a loss writing-wise, but I’ve set boundaries with what I can do. I still get stressed out too often, but I’m learning to balance my health (physical and mental) with my goals and taking care of them.

    • Liz Kreger says:

      Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on your routine, Misty. How long did it take you to create and then stick with the routine you just outlined?

      Tomorrow is one of my days off. I’m really gonna make an effort to discipline myself to get in a couple of hours. From there, I plan on increasing my writing time by half hour increments until I hit a range that I’m comfortable working with. Should probably keep a journal with my progress. Even I’m kinda curious to see if I can establish, and then stick with a routine.

  4. marilynbrant says:

    Liz,
    I think it’s very easy to get drawn in to all of the work and details around the house or with the requests of other people who have nothing to do with your writing. Sometimes there’s a feeling that these other tasks are more easily accomplish-able than the writing, so why not get them done and feel like you can mark something important off your list, right?! So, it’s pretty easy to talk myself out of starting to write if I don’t physically break myself away from the temptation of doing things like cleaning the kitchen instead. Part of it is just mentally rehearsing “what I’m going to do” when I’m tempted to procrastinate with another task. I need to first picture myself setting aside everything else and just writing. Not always so simple, though I wish it were. :)
    marilynbrant`s last blog was …What Does the Groundhog Say?

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