There are so many people that I meet every day, who, having heard that I’ve finished a novel look at me sorrowfully. “I wish I could do that,” they say to me, “but between work, housework and kids, I don’t know where my day goes.” My heart goes out to them. Writing is harder work than non-writers understand, and it’s pretty tough to balance the demands of everyday life with our need to write.
So, I spoke to various working writers, many of whom are also parents and have full-time jobs, on how they fit writing into their lives. These were the top 3 pieces of advice.
Assign a specific time: This was possibly the most resounding advice from everyone I spoke with. Allocate a time within your week during which all you will do is write. If you can pocket only one slot per week for a few hours, make sure that during this time you don’t email, check Twitter, answer the telephone, or tend to others. Write! It’s true that initially the words might come slowly, or not be as delightful as you had wished, but as you write, your writing will grow stronger.
Allocate a place: Find a place within your home or elsewhere, that will be your designated writing space. Whether it’s your dining table while your kids are at school, or a favorite café on the other side of town, it matters not. What is important is that you go there at the assigned time and write.
Meet other writers: Meeting and connecting with other writers will give you a kind of support and self-belief that is hard to replicate. Writers often work in isolation, and communicating and connecting with others who share their passion helps renew their much-needed creative energy.
How do YOU manage your writing life? Please share here in the comments.
10 replies on “On Writing Well – Managing Your Writing Life”
I try to set aside a two hour time frame to write. I’ll tell my family what I am doing so that I’m not interupted. They have been terrific about supporting me.
I go to the school to pick up my child one hour early. Then I can quietly sit in the line and write without interruptions. Also, I make certain to write before I go to bed after everyone else is asleep. Even 30 minutes makes a difference in my productivity and creative process.
Yeah, Balancing our normal home and other activities with writing can be sometimes frustrating. But I think the tips mentioned above have done justice to that. Thanks!
As a wife, mother, grandmother, author and Kindergarten-Enrichment teacher, I have found it difficult to find time to do what I love. That is writing and sharing my life’s experiences with others through my writing. Your tips are very helpful. Thanks!
I schedule my writing time. I can’t get anything done if it’s not scheduled. Of course, I’m writing full time at the moment, so it’s easier to schedule, but even when I have other work, I have to schedule it.
The dining table is my favourite spot. At least I get to know the food available for dinner. If it’s a delicious offering it motivates me all the more to go that extra mile and write something good.
Agreed about the time slot. Thats vital. What’s required is a space where I can totally be myself.
I love to write and its hard to set a place and time for me to write because I could be sitting down and watching television or having a conversation and my mind wanders. At that moment it wanders to a place where I have to write something down, right then and there. I write mostly when I’m at work during my lunch break. Or very late at night and it is very peaceful and quiet. I will wake up from a dream and start writing (learned to keep a pen and pad right near my bed) When my mind is not wandering and I am in need of completing a writing project before a deadline. I go out and sit on my balcony with a glass of wine, or a budlight whichever is more convenient and focus on writing.
Writing is something “the creative state of mind” – it could not be triggered for a normal state.
For me – I like a lush green scense, relaxed chair, silence and some times chirpping of birds – to be a creative writer….
My writing transverses a range of poetry, the vibrational sounds for my hoilistic practice, practitioner courses, and a number of books. I write where ever and when ever I can. I usually carry an exercise book and a pen, however I have been known to write on the back of a supermarket docket if needed.
Much of my writing is poetry, and happens very quickly, usually not more than a few minutes for a poem.
Writing for the ‘sounds’ which are my passion can take hours and I usually put a Do Not Disturb sign on my door.
I often write late of a night, usually sitting up in bed as I find it is my most focused time, less interruptions from phone etc. It is a good time for me to proof read and edit what I have written.
Getting up a little earlier works well also, quiet time and for me an easier focus.
Also using head phones to cut out background noise can help, with music if you wish, I prefer the basic quiet.
Thanks for sharing your own writing habits here! I love hearing how others are finding time to balance life, work and writing.