Monday, June 29, 2009

Author seeking time management hints

I was at my very favorite store yesterday. As I was checking out, I saw a member of my local writers group. We started chatting and he asked how my writing was going. I had to admit I'm not being as diligent about my writing time as I should be.

Can you believe he laughed? Seriously!

I'm sure I looked at him with astonishment. What could have been so funny?

He must have read the look correctly, because he quickly added, "So you haven't found a way to keep the phone from ringing, the kids from fighting, and the dog from barking, just because you want to write?" Let me tell you, he surely called that one right!

I think I'm fairly self-disciplined. I've owned and operated my own home-based business for more than 10 years. That takes motivation. I home educated my youngest daughter until she started high school. Not for the faint of heart. I even finished one novel. Not everyone can say that!

So why is it so difficult to carve out the time to write? Write this blog? Or the blog at my web site? Or on the second book of my series? I pondered these questions as I drove home, and I think I have the answer. At least a logical explanation for my life at any rate.

First of all, I can't say no. Well, let me rephrase that in case my kids are reading. I can't say no to OTHER people. Think I'm kidding? I'm involved with three different philanthropic organizations. I'm an elected officer in two of them! I still own that business I mentioned earlier and, despite my whining and complaining, I just took on a major new client. I'm the president of my local writers group and I've been asked to help with another non-profit organization. (OK, I haven't said yes to that one, yet, but I haven't said no either!)

Then there's the housework. Dishes and laundry do not do themselves. Trust me, I've tried to allow that to happen. Dinner doesn't magically appear on the table and if it were up to my husband to feed us nightly, I'd weigh 700-pounds from all the fried foods and take-out. Don't forget the little errands that make up the day: the dry-cleaners, the grocery store, the gas station. Oh, and plants have to be watered and animals fed.

Let's not forget the family obligations or the stuff I have to do to stay healthy -- like go to the gym and get my exercise.

Oh, did I mention my husband is retired and home. All the time. Every day. That doesn't lend itself to writing time, either.

So, all that said, HOW do I carve out any time to write? The short answer is not very well. But I've found I get grouchy if I don't make that effort. Even a measly hundred words a day is enough to keep me from plotting real-life murders. A few moments snatched here and there keep me sane. (Or at least "saner"!) Some days, that's all I can scrape up --- those few precious moments.

I know other aspiring authors are more diligent than I. How do you do it? Is there a secret I don't know? Or do you just give the "evil glare" to anyone who dares disturb you? I can't wait to hear your tips!


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