Friday, November 25, 2016

Time

A popular post from November 2008

By Julie Wright

One of our commenters, Curtis Moser, made an excellent point the other day. He said he was, "working a full time job, struggling through full time school, and trying to balance that out with being a good husband and father."

Stephanie Humphreys said, "I feel I should spend my time doing things that will actually help pay for the groceries. Writing doesn't fall under that category, so then I feel guilty for even taking the time."

Life is insanely busy. Today even more so (get out and vote!!!!). Most men and women are in the workforce. there are children to raise, marriages to keep alive, house payments to make, things to fix, things to wash, things that must be done. There are days when I shout to my children, "I am only one person!" This is my lame excuse for not being able to be ten places at once, to accomplish all the things sitting on my "must be done right now" list.

Insanely busy.

I completely understand. I am no different. Though many might say Julie Wright is merely insane and the busy part is a side note, I maintain that my insanity is a direct result of being busy.

So when do I write? When should you write? How many words a day is enough to accomplish your dream, because you MUST reach for that dream. If you don't, you will die always wondering what you might have done. So not doing it is not an option. Let me see if I can help a little.

I've said it before and I will say it again (probably many times) Time is made, not found! I've never found time like I would spare change in the dryer while doing laundry. If you need to write, then you need to make time. It's amazing how a few minutes of writing every day adds up at the end of a year.

And I'm not talking about making huge chunks of time in three hour blocks or anything absurd like that. I know your lives--know MY life. I'm talking fifteen minutes. In fifteen minutes (when I'm focused) I can write 500 words. When I'm not focused, I'm closer to 250. I just took an average of ten pages of my latest work in progress and found that the average page has 302 words on it. This is roughly 15-20 minutes a day. One page a day equates to 365 pages a year . . . hey! That's a respectable book length! Let's say you take one day off a week, that's still 313 pages at the end of the year. So at fifteen to twenty minutes a day, you can write one book a year.

Let's think of where you might make fifteen minutes. If you have a job, your employer will give you two fifteen minute break (it's the law; if this is the first you've heard about the fifteen minute break deal, you need to call your HR manager). Work breaks are awesome writing times because there are so few distractions. You can go to your car where you are all alone, and there are no kids begging for attention, no phones ringing, no one dropping by the house to say hello. Now Curtis said he was going to school full time. This means he likely uses his fifteen minutes for studying, finishing term papers that got put off . . . etc. I totally get that. Grades are important when you're going to school with the purpose of exiting with a piece of paper.

But even students who are employees who are dads need a few minutes to themselves. Find a few minutes that belong to you every day, even if it's only three words you get written.

Stay at home moms have a different set of worries. We all know there is no way to steal a few minutes to yourself. Even the bathroom proves impossible as little fingers reach under the door saying, "Mom? Are you in there, Mom?" Lately I've been driving kids all over the state for lessons, practices, recitals . . . oy! But I usually end up with a few minutes during practice or at the doctor's office. I take my manuscript with me everywhere! I used to write on a spiral notebook with a pen. I finished three manuscripts that way. As a gift to myself when my third book came out, I bought myself an Alphasmart. It's lightweight, portable and doesn't have the distractions of email. I love my Alphasmart. Keep your writing with you (but don't forget to backup!) and take advantage of idle time presented to you throughout the day.

I'm not telling you to neglect your life, I'm telling you to enhance it--make it better by reaching for the dream. A few minutes every day goes a long way towards 'the end.'

7 comments:

Sue said...

Great post Julie.

I don't watch tv anymore and I get a lot less sleep than I probably should - that's my writing trade-off. Once my kids are in bed (they go to bed early and get up eeeeeearly) I head to the computer and write. Some of the time I'm writing for work, sometimes it's for a blog, and sometimes it's for my manuscript. I have to have that time, or I'm not happy.

I used to have a lot of guilt about it (sometimes still do), but my mom reminded me that I've always been a dreamer and a writer, and that it would be a waste of talent not to pursue it. (Hey, she's my mom, what else is she gonna say ;>)

Celise said...

I know exactly how you feel. I have a FT job, too. When I'm in Writing Mode, I write during both of my 15 min breaks and my 1 hr lunch. My goal is to write one page a day. Most often, I do more than that.

Melanie J said...

Right now I've made writing my part-time job with hours that fall during the exact limits of my baby's nap time. I get about 1,000 words done a day and that feels good. But I already dread the day when his naps get shorter and I'll have to focus on remembering the difference between "making" time and "finding" time as you so effectively explained it. I don't do well with fifteen minutes snatches for writing (it takes that long at least to find my groove) so I need to brace for adding a new level of discipline to my writing routine.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Good advice. I need to get better at using the little blocks of time. It takes me so long to get back in the groove that 15 minutes seems to short, but I'm sure I can train myself to be more productive.

Annette Lyon said...

Awesome post, Julie. And so true. MelanieJ, you'll learn to get into your groove fast when the need arises. It's really amazing what you can get done in small snatches when that's your only option.

Keith Fisher said...

Thanks for writing this post Julie. I know I don't do mothering but I do fathering and I am way behind on my honeydo list. I's hard to work a full time job and take care of other duties and find time to write. I, too, have called my writing my part time job but now I've come to the point where I need a real part time job. I'm looking for one I can write and do my job at the same time

Curtis said...

Julie! It's like you've been following me around or something! I bring my macbook with me everywhere I go, and during my two 15 minute breaks, you can always find me in my car plugging away on my manuscript. I usually do my homework and blog stalking between 1-3 AM, then I'm up at 7 getting my kids ready for school, and the sitter, then I'm off to school until 3, then off to work until 1 AM, then it starts all over again the following day—but I have found that those two little breaks, coupled with my lunch break, are wonderful times to write.

I know that you work 2 full time jobs, (not counting mom-duty, which is like 2 more full time jobs by itself!), and you make the time to write, and I respect that. Thanks for your thoughtful posts, I always look forward to your blogs.