Today I have a freelance deadline looming, the kids’ activities are overwhelming, and I can’t find the time to work on my second novel. At the same time, I’m working with an editor and planning the publication of A GUILTY MIND. Please don’t think I’m complaining – I’m not. In fact, I understand for most writers, this is probably the story of their lives. Maybe it’s a full-time job combined with the care of a loved one that keeps them from the keyboard. Maybe medical reasons are the problem. Whatever it is, I do understand but sometimes I wonder, is it me? Am I just too unorganized? Am I spending too much time on tasks that aren’t worth it?
Previously, I’ve written about trying to write every day in Writing, Motivation, and Exercise. I set a (small) goal of 500 words per day (excluding weekends and vacations) for the month of February. This excludes blogging and freelance assignments. So far, I’m making it – but barely. To do it, I find myself taking my computer with me during the day and pulling it out when waiting in the doctor’s office or sitting in the car during my son’s drum lesson. Oh, yes, I’m snatching 15 minute blocks of time to get that writing done. On the plus side, I’ve become even more engaged in the novel, thinking about story lines and chapters throughout the day. Unfortunately, I’m also thinking about those story lines when I’m supposed to be writing about themes and parties for kids’ birthdays.
Although it’s technology that lets me write no matter where I am, it is also technology that is distracting. When information is at your fingertips, you don’t always stop seeking when you find, sometimes you keep looking. Oh, you think, this is a good blog on writing and click. Hmmm, you say, I’ve sent my manuscript to an editor but maybe here’s a site on editors I haven’t seen before. Click. What does this blog say about the publishing industry? Click. You get the idea. As writers, we want to be well-informed. So, we click and read. In addition, we want to be supportive of each other, so we take the time to check out the sites of other writers (this is a good thing). All of this takes time.
Still, something’s gotta give. I cannot stay up late and write. I’m just too tired after a full day. I already get up early to get all those kids off to school and as I’ve said, the day is filled with events and (luckily) deadlines. So, like many a writer, I’m struggling to find the best way to manage my time. And here we go again, instead of writing…I’m off to research book cover design.
As writers with busy lives, how do you make it work? Do you use a schedule? What do you think about technology as a distraction?