When friends find out I have finished another manuscript they’re always surprised and ask, “However do you do it with six kids?”
My answer is usually, “How is that relevant?” But, I’ve been thinking about the tricks I employ and realized that over the few years I’ve been writing, I have come up some standard and a few totally weird things I use to find writing time. Maybe they’ll help you a little.
The number one complaint from most mothers is that they have no time to write. Bull. You don’t know how your time is spent and until you do know, you’ll never finish and revise your manuscript. Below is a simplified schedule of when I couldn’t find time to write.
6:00 AM Wake, clothe, and feed children. Look for shoes, look for coffee, head out the door, go back in and find permission slip, notice that the youngest isn’t wearing socks, go back in, find socks, drive to school, go back for oldest who never got in the car, find his shoes, try to remember to count to six next time, get back in the car. Finally drive to school.
8:30 AM Drive home, turn back around and go to Starbucks, get coffee, go to grocery store to get bread and milk, run into another mom from the school, complain about how you never have any time and then come home.
11:00 AM Throw in some laundry, drink coffee, and call Mom or sister and do dishes. Not naked is good. Coffee is good.
12:30 PM Make some lunch, eat, go on Twitter, check E-mail, check what day it is, realize the kids have no lunch, run to McDonalds, take lunches to schools, decide the day is a lost cause, watch the news, call friend and moan about the government, watch Tivoed soap because you deserve a little time. See if soap star is on Twitter. See that a follower has lost five pounds. Go to their blog to see how they did it. Resolve to walk every day. Hang up laundry.
3:00 PM Get in the car, pick up first batch of kids, go to the grocery store for dinner food, pick up second batch, get in the house and realize the milk was in the car all day and is now cottage cheese. Go back to the store and send in the oldest kid, Wait for forty-five minutes and go in the store yourself. Look for oldest and find them wandering in the ice cream section trying to remember why you sent them in the store.
5:00 PM Cook dinner, yell about homework, grab one child and head to soccer/baseball/tap dance/Karate. Talk to other moms about Glee.
8:00 PM Send kids for baths. Wave at your husband who doesn’t see you because the game is on. Chase kids to bed. Get on Twitter. Chase kids to bed again. Do the dishes from dinner.
10:00 PM Open manuscript and stare. Get on Twitter and ask the hive mind who was president in 1962. Play Words with Friends on Facebook while you wait for the answer because it is words and words are writing. Write 6 words in your manuscript. Get water for youngest and check under the bed for monsters. Google the president question.
11:00 PM Spend quality time with husband watching the Discovery channel and count it as research because you might actually need to know about weird restaurants or 18th century plagues.
12:00 AM Make coffee. Get on Twitter and tell them you are writing. Open manuscript, and write nine words. Research agents for next year when you think the manuscript will be finished.
3:00 AM Fall in the bed.
An entire day is gone, you wrote fifteen words, but no one is dead, naked, or starving. Not bad.
Not good either.
2 hours on the phone, 4 hours on the internet, 2 hours were watching television, 3 hours talking to friends. Math isn’t my strong suit but 11 hours should produce more than 15 words shouldn’t it? What is important here? DO YOU WANT TO WRITE OR NOT? What can you give up?
Secret number one is to budget your time. You can’t find time to write if you don’t know where the time goes. Keep track of your day and then make a schedule and stick to it. If a task isn’t finished, LEAVE IT AND MOVE ON. Do not let the mundane suck up your life. If you do, what are you teaching your children?