Blogger: Rachel Kent
We all know that life is often overwhelming–many writers are balancing work, family, home upkeep, writing and countless other things. I have heard of a few techniques my clients use for finding time to write and I’d love to hear what you do too.
1) The first technique is getting up 1-2 hours before the rest of the household. Many mothers and fathers do this so that they have uninterrupted time to write before the kids wake up. I can’t imagine getting up so early and being able to focus on work, but moms and dads are amazing people. I assume this technique works at night as well, but I haven’t actually heard of authors setting aside writing time late at night. Are you a early morning or late night writer?
2) The second technique is to set aside one entire day per week to power through and write a chunk of your book. This technique works well for working writers or for writers who have young children. If a writer has young children it’s best for the kids to be out of the house on this one day a week. Perhaps it could be grandma/grandpa day or that writer’s spouse could take the kids out of the house for the day. The hard thing with this technique is keeping on task and avoiding burnout. It’s easy to let your mind stray if you are working on the same thing all day long. Do any of you have a one-day-a-week writing schedule? How do you avoid burnout?
3) The third technique I’ve heard about is the “fit it in” technique. This is when a writer takes whatever time he or she can find to write. It’s not the most organized approach, but for some people it really works. I think this technique only works for people who are able to easily put down writing in the middle of a thought and pick back up again without losing that writing rhythm. Are any of you “fit it in” writers?
These three techniques only work if the writer actually makes the time to work and sticks to the plan. Procrastination or allowing distractions to seep in can completely derail any of these three techniques.
Which of these techniques do you use or do you have something else you do to fit your writing in to you life? How do you avoid distractions?
I’m an early morning writer. Although I admit to “slacking” lately, I’m trying to get back on track and these hours seem to work for me. I’ve had problems with my health that I’m correcting and things are settling back to normal and hopefully, I can fit back into “routine.”
I think it’s common for writers to get off track for awhile and then get back into the correct routine. I hope your health continues to improve!
With 3 boys at home involved in school, soccer and summer hockey (do not get me started!!), it’s just like the school year, only warmer, and with bugs. I do alot of my blog reading/writing, correspondance, housework (I’m lying) and busy brain work in the am. I need total silence to write, so I also stay up late if,as we say here, “in a groove”. With school out soon, I’ll be staying up late, simply because there will only be peace long into the night.
COme summer, I’ll be a ‘fit in’ and a night owl. I don’t mind though, when the ideas come, they come. It’s a good thing to carry a notebook too.
PS_getting up 2 hours early? Yeah. Umm. NOT.
Me neither. I can barely tie my shoes when I get up at 6:30 with the girls. I would be useless at 4:30. 🙂
I’ve always been a night owl, so I do my best work late. After lunch I will write for a bit, and then after the girls go to bed I stay at my computer until around midnight. Some of that writing is blog posts, but I’m trying to avoid the lure of the Internet and use that time solely to work on WIPs.
That’s me too. There’s no way I could get up early. I’d much rather stay up late.
Agreed! I’d rather write throughout the night and get two hours of sleep than to get up two hours early. It would be a waste of time anyway. I am definitely not a morning person.
My schedule hinges on fatigue. I know a lot of writer pals carve out time for their MS every day, regardless of exhaustion levels, but I find that method shows in the work. Tired me = tired story. I suppose I’m a “fit it in” gal, but the “fit” is more flattering in the summer months when the Day Job takes a hiatus and family life gets a bit less manic. 🙂
It’s good that you are aware that your exhaustion level affects your writing. I think some authors don’t realize that or they aren’t willing to admit it. Have a wonderful summer!
I love this question, Rachel! I am definitely an early morning writer. It did begin when my kids were younger. Now they are busy adults living on their own, but I hang on to the early morning routine. I love to write before the mental “to do” list for the day becomes a distraction!
Thanks for sharing!
Jessica R. Patch
Since it’s summer everything has changed! I’ve been writing earlier in the morning and then for a couple hours in the early afternoon. I’m not one to get distracted with racket going on around the house. I like to write with my ear buds in and music going–drown everything out but the fire alarm! 🙂
How often do you start typing the song lyrics? 🙂
Hahahaha! That’s a great question!
LOL! That’s why I DON’T write with music on!
I’m an early morning writer – 5:15 am almost every day. With a four-year-old and a full time job, mornings definitely work best for me.
I’m amazed! Do you take the weekends to catch up on sleep or is sleep a thing of the past with a 4-year-old?
🙂 I’ve learned that it’s easier to get up that early if I keep the same schedule every day – up at 5:15 and in bed by 10:15. I do however have a special talent for falling back to sleep if I want to. On a Saturday, I can get up and write from 5:15 to 6:15 and go back to bed until my little guy wakes up. It sounds crazy, but it works for me.
I find that writing a little bit every day is better for me than using a large chunk of time on one day of the week. I’m fresher when I write for just an hour or two a day than writing for eight hours all in one day. (This was how I had to do school when working full time and pursuing my master’s too!)
I usually use my lunch break at my full-time job and then an hour in the evening to write. I can pound out about 1,000 words an hour, so it works for me.
But whenever I have kids? I’m not sure. I’ll just have to deal with that when I get there!
You’ll find a way to make it work, Lindsay. I began this writing journey with two young kids at home. 🙂
That’s what others have said as well, Jeanne! When you’re passionate about something, you find time for it. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement.
Me too! Nap time became writing time. 🙂
And 1000 words/hour is great, Lindsay!
I haven’t heard of writing on a lunch break. That’s a good idea! And 1,000 words/hour is wonderful.
I’m a combination of all three. Weekdays I’m the “fit it in” type. My day job is computer programmer, so by the end of most days I’m mentally drained and don’t care to sit down in front of another computer. On weekends I get up before the rest of the family and often write for two days straight. Of course there’s usually a lawn in need of mowing, but I use that time to think out the scenes I’m going to write next.
Recently I built a “writing cave” that is detached from the house and away from distraction. Just me, my laptop, a radio, and all those people inside my head. My plan is to spend more time out there during the week, too, instead of in the recliner watch television. That brings up the issue of family time, though, and the negative feedback that I’m ignoring them.
Anything worth doing takes effort and sacrifice. Balance, too. There has to be some sort of balance or the people you count on to “understand”, won’t.
Balancing work and family is hard even without adding writing to the mix. Sounds like your writing plan is working well though. 🙂
Television avoidance is my strategy, too. A lot of folks who think they have no time for writing (or whatever particular activity) might discover an extra hour or so if they turn off the tube.
I’m a combination, but mostly I’m an early morning writer. I participated in NaNo for the first time last year, and I discovered, if I have a plan, I can get up at 0’dark hundred (4:00 a.m.) and write for an hour before I head into my day and my roles as wife and mom. During the busy school year, I know I’ll get at least an hour a day in if I get up early. I also try to fit in another hour during the day.
I also set aside one day a week to focus on my writing. During the summer, I’ve hired a baby sitter so I can get out and write. Sometimes I write at night too, depending on where I am in the process of writing. 🙂
It’s fun reading everyone’s comments and how they write. 🙂
You are amazing! 4am!!! Well done!
Wow! Again, I’m amazed. You moms/dads show some serious dedication to your writing through your schedules.
I’m a fit it in type of gal. I couldn’t possibly get up any earlier (my little one wakes up at 5:00, so … ugh). I write whenever he’s napping or whenever I can squeeze a moment in. The biggest thing I have to do, is when it’s time to write, I cannot open up the Internet. If I do, all is lost. But I can get a lot more writing in if I refuse to let the Internet suck me in.
It’s nice that he at least naps after getting up at 5. 🙂
The internet is such a blessing but it’s also a curse when it comes to taking up so much of our time.
Social media in the morning, writing in the afternoon. With coffee. And Junior Mints or Dove chocolate bars.
Oooh, Junior Mints are my favorite! I’m always more inspired when I have those to eat. 🙂
I’m sure that chocolate is a fruit. The Incas drank cacao with chilies. So, hey, it’s a vegetable! And coffee is extacted from the seed of the berry of the coffee plant. So it’s a…fruit! Yeah. Okay. So, Cynthia, you have a full meal, right there.
I have a Ph.D in “validating whatever I want”.
I like the way you think, Jennifer!
Yummy! A little chocolate every day is supposed to be very good for you and delicious too.
Junior Mints and peppermint patties can get me through about anything:)
Yep, I could have used some of those today when I got back some contest results. Sigh. Good feedback, but Junior Mints would have made them easier to read. 🙂
Mint grows. Soooo, pepermint patties are like, salad.
Jennifer, you tickle me. Perfect capper to the day. 🙂
Right now, school is taking over so much of my day (I homeschool and our vacation came in March this year, so we’re making up time over the summer), that I no longer have the 2-3 hours I used to take each afternoon to write. Plus, my mental facilities are so worn out that I couldn’t get creative most days 🙂 But I have been trying to wake early and get things like critiques and edits done then. And I’ve set aside all day every Saturday to write at my favorite coffee shop. It’s not always about how much time you have, but like Rachel said, the key is making sure you use the time wisely.
Right now, schooling is taking up a big portion of my time and writing a small portion. But for me, I know in a few months, that will flip around and writing will be my focus while school is cut back to the basics. And the two biggest time-consuming students will be at camp for a week later this summer, so I’ll take full-advantage of the extra time to write!
Also, my husband is frustrated that my schedule doesn’t allow as much writing time presently as it did 2 or 3 or 6 months ago, so I know I have his full-support when it comes to taking time to work!
Supportive husbands/wives can make all the difference!
I do an hour an evening. Maybe a little more or a little less. I find it a lovely transition between the bustle of work and the joy of my own world.
That does sound nice and an hour isn’t an overwhelmingly long period of time either.
Definitely not an early morning writer. Not an early morning anything. My kids joke about the babble that comes out of my mouth in the morning.
I use both “chunking” and “fit it in.” When my kids were little, I power-wrote during naptime. Now it’s when they’re in school. But I’m a big proponent of using snippets of time. For me, snippets are less effective for actual writing than for other activities – editing, on-line stuff, research, etc. I keep materials handy and take them with me whenever I think I’ll have a few minutes to spare – doctor’s office, karate studio, DMV. I take care of a lot of the ancillary writing activities on-the-go, which leaves more of my precious school-day-chunks o’ time for actual writing.
I could see that it would be hard to write in snippets of time. Sounds like you’ve found a good way to make it work.
I’m one of those early birds. (Yes, pun intended.) My rhythm when the kids were little was to get up at 3am three days a week. Those were the most productive and uninterrupted 12 hours of the week. I’ve pretty much kept to a variation of that rhythm for over 25 years. This morning I was up at 4:00.
If you’re thinking of implementing this sort of routine let me encourage you. It really works. Your body and brain will adjust. Honest.
This is a great topic, Rachel, because anyone who has been at this for awhile will agree that all those stories tucked away in your heart don’t get written unless you carve out space in your busy schedule and then fiercely protect that creative time.
Thanks for commenting, Robin! I’m glad to hear that you believe that anyone can adjust to a writing routine even if it seems impossible.
Easier to get up now with a gorgeous Hawaiian sunrise to watch? Not jealous, ahem …. Love you, Robin!
I’m a late night writer. My brain kicks in/gets a second wind from 12-2 AM. However, since I’m trying to go to sleep when my husband does, I’ve been working more morning hours. It’s harder, but I can still make it happen. 🙂
I have to “fit it in.” No kids, but a 9 month old puppy and an 18 year old dog, both with major bathroom needs : ) Lucky for me, my puppy likes to sleep in my study while I work, so that helps. Right now, I write in the morning, but if I get up earlier, the dogs do, too, so I don’t have that quiet. I’ve learned to write during their sleepy time, especially over the summer. Once university classes begin in the fall, I’ll need a new strategy.
My dogs always want my attention as well. It sounds like you’re able to make it work.
Early mornings give me hives. I don’t function before nine a.m. And I’m not a night owl either. I am unfortunately one of those rare people that really operates best on 10-12 hours of sleep. Anything less than eight hours and I’m practically useless.
I write best in the late afternoon and early evening, so that’s when I try to do it. If I stay up too late writing I have trouble getting to sleep. I also have fibromyalgia, so that more than anything dictates my schedule. No matter what I’m doing.
I love my sleep as well, but I am a night owl. Early mornings are very hard for me.
It’s good to hear that you have found the time that works best for you!
Ha! On the nose! All of the above!
Except the early morning one…I prefer the extra hour or two at night. But on weekends, when everyone else is lazing about in the morning, I will often pick up the laptop for an hour or two before the day starts.
I have two kids. My wife and I both work. We have a *typical* busy, modern family life. Have to take advantage of any and every opportunity to keep on track and work consistently.
This is a great post and great blog. Keep up the good work!
So you do all three. Interesting! I guess when you are busy with family you have to take the time when you can get it.
Yes, juggling family time and a full-time job makes it tricky sometimes. I’ll consistently write at night, after the kiddies are tucked in. But I also occasionally work a deal with wife and/or kids’ grandma to watch the kids for longer hours on weekends and days off.(they are WONDERFULLY SUPPORTIVE).
Also though, if I’m in the middle of a chapter or blog post, I’ll cram in the writing whenever I can (except early morn!).
There’s a post I pulled together:
10 Tips to Finish a Novel while You Work a Full-Time Job
I work full-time as a lawyer, commute to my office, and have an 8 yr old son… so I really struggle to find the time to write. But I try to fit it in when I can! Thank you for this post!
Thanks for commenting. Full-time as a lawyer is more than just full-time I assume. I bet you work some long days!
I’ve tried all three, and I seem to stick best with the two-hours-a-day but it has to be at nap time. If the Littles wake up early, the Bigs will run interference for me. (See? It’s nap time, now. At least where I am.) When my mind is really working, though, I will also “fit it in” in extra moments throughout the day, writing down ideas and sketching out scenes on scrap paper or index cards.
Nap time sounds like it’s a life saver for writing moms. Hopefully your kids keep up the napping for awhile!
I’m not a morning person at all, and I’ve done some of my best writing late at night. I don’t feel rushed or compelled to do other things, and I can really concentrate. When it comes to fit-ting writing into my schedule, I find that doing revisions and maintenance type work is possible.
I especially like to weed-out overused words at these times, since I don’t have to be as creative.
Sounds like you and Sarah Sundin have both figured out a good way to use those snippets of time productively. 🙂
When the kids were little I was a late-night writer. I could stay up most of the night writing and I still could force myself out of bed in the morning for the kids who needed me to get up. I couldn’t force myself out of bed for writing, which could wait.
Now I’m a twice-a-week in the afternoon writer, and and all-day Saturday writer. I love to have four or more hours to write. Even more, I love writing several days in a row nonstop, when I can find away to get away from my other responsibilities. When I’m writing I hate things to interrupt me.
I’d do book in a week every month if I could find a way to fit it in.
If I were to write, I think I’d need large chunks of time because I am prone to losing my train of thought if I’m interrupted. I have this problem at work too and I’m constantly having to refocus myself when a task is interrupted. Somehow I manage to get things done though!
Right now, I use the “fit it in technique,” which only works because I work on short pieces. So I can hammer out a short article in half an hour while my kids are playing by themselves, and then I can get back to them. I haven’t worked on a novel in years because I can’t concentrate on a project that big in small chunks of time. I’m not good at waking up early, but by the time the kids are in bed, I’m too tired to write. Someday maybe the once-a-week plan will work… and I can get back to a novel. 🙂
At least you know what works for you at this point in life! Sounds like article writing/short stories are the way to go for the next couple of years and then you’ll be able to adjust when the children are older.
NOT a morning person. I have a child who is in school, so that helps. However, hardly a week goes by where they don’t have SOME vacation days for something, and summer can be hard. I’m a night owl, so I do most of my writing at night. I also try to fit in a little here and there, but 2-4 hour chunks at night work best.
Summer is filled with distractions, but I do believe taking time to have fun is important too.
Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts
Primarily I’m a “fit-it-in” person but many times the fit it in comes at night. I put on my bed clothes, get comfortable and start writing (I love my laptop!) Although I’m definitely not an early morning person, sometimes I wake up writing in my head, and then it’s a rush to get it into the computer before breakfast and whatever I have to do that day (e.g. work). I teach at a college and my class schedule changes every semester, so that also affects when I write. What has helped me is to put writing on my to-do list each day. Since I love writing so much, it used to feel like an indulgence that I allowed myself if I finished all my chores. Now, though, I look at it as one of the things that needs to get done each day. That has helped me to make it a priority. Also, recently I joined a writing group that meets every Friday, so I HAVE to write something to share every week. That helps motivate me too.
Thanks for the great question, Rachel, and thanks to everyone for sharing.
It’s great that your writing group acts as an accountability group too. It’s always nice to have those little “deadlines” to motivate.
Holy cow, *I* thought I was the lone …person…who woke up with the story already running!
In all seriousness, for a long time, I thought I was losing it. All these stories in my head that I couldn’t figure out where they came from, but I wanted to tell them. Now I see through all the comments I read, that I am not crazy, I’m a perfectly normal writer.
Okay, I still may be slightly off, given that I sing opera while strolling through Costco, but at least the stories have a home.
Let me clarify that…not LOSING IT losing it, just wondering if anyone else had a constant stream of stories in their brains.
Have you ever tried to explain to people who barely know you that you aren’t nuts?
Meadow Rue Merrill
Wow, one whole day a week sounds great! My writing day currently starts at 5 a.m., Monday through Saturday. I also have a babysitter come for a few hours each week after my husband leaves for work. But I’ve done it all, including working as a guide at a historic house where I could write in between giving tours and borrowing a friend’s bedroom where I’d write each night after dinner. Where there is a will, there is a way!
“Where there is a will, there is a way!”
I’m an early morning writer, usually writing for two to three hours, with the goal of starting my day job by 9 AM.
If I write in the evening, my mind sometimes becomes too engaged to fall asleep. That’s a bad thing.
(I have, upon occasion, gotten up at 2 or 3 AM, written for a couple hours, and then taken a nap — so I could then get up like usual.)
2 or 3 am?! Yikes.
My job is feast or famine when it comes to work. Some days I’m so busy I work right through lunch and past quitting time without realizing it, others I sit twiddling my thumbs. Most days have down time. I usually write during those slow times, which makes me joke that I’m probably the highest paid unpublished author around!
I also try to write after dinner. Interestingly, those busy days at work see little writing after dinner, I’m just too tired!
My family expects dinner every single night! What is up with that? Hello? Can they not see I’m thinking about stuff?
Lol, Jennifer. Your family is very blessed to have you!
That’s so nice that you can write when it’s slow! Sounds like you have a great job.
Thanks Rachel, that was sweet.
And I would like everyone to know, that I did not offer Rachel money OR chocolate for that compliment. Although, if you get a box of Purdy’s chocolates arrive at your office. It’s from moi.
Heather Day Gilbert
I found that NaNo (writing a book in a month) worked for me–I’d write at nights, when my kids were asleep, for 2-3 hours. I’ve kind of kept that schedule, only my books are longer now (more than 50,000 words), so it takes me longer to write (plus it’s historical fiction, so you have to calculate all the research time, too).
I think it depends on if you’re a goal-oriented person or if you tend to procrastinate to the end, then work overtime to get it done. I like to get the job done ASAP, then relax. So when I had to self-edit/read my book aloud, I set aside a week and did nothing BUT that (and then got shingles, b/c I was wiped out!). But the job was done. I can’t rest until it is.
And glad to know you’re another late-nighter, Rachel–that’s when my brain works best. Early mornings, I’m barely surviving! Grin.
Early mornings+Jennifer=bad parenting.
Research does take a lot of time! Having the facts ready can help the book writing go more smoothly though.
Awesome techniques! I am a night owl so tend to write more at night but it’s a good reminder to get up earlier than everyone else. I’ve been meaning t do that.
Find what works for you and stick with it. 🙂
I read once that each interruption costs 15 minutes of re-focus time, Rachel. For me, at least, that seems to be true, so my husband and I worked together to try to limit those interruptions during my morning 2-3 hour writing time.
1. Our best tactic? Caller ID. Although our children are grown, we care for 3 parents and 2 of their houses/yards. It’s very important to answer the phone when they call. But not so important to answer the other “bother” calls that come through.
2. We established a united front with our parents until they understood that nothing except an emergency or a doctor’s appointment or visiting relatives (and there are many)takes place during my writing time. One parent tries to make me feel guilty about that. I don’t.
3. One of my husband’s brothers calls our house two or 3 times a day during my writing time. My husband backs me in that I don’t answer my brother-in-law’s calls in the morning.
4. I don’t join groups that meet in (or volunteer for activities that take place in) the morning.
Even with these “rules” my writing time is often limited to 1 or 2 days a week, but I always try for 5, and either way I am totally grateful each time I have the opportunity to do what I love so much!
Great Post, Rachel! Thank you!
Establishing “rules” like these is a great idea! Thanks for sharing, Sue.
I switch between writing in the early morning and staying up late. It really depends on my schedule. If it were up to me, though, I would always write in the early morning!
You must be an “early-bird.” It’s great that you are able to still function at night too.
As you can see Rachel, you hit a nerve with this one. I immediately had to read it when I saw the title because I am so in that boat too. My time seems to disappear down a sinkhole every day!!
I did a writing course with this teacher once who advocated pinpointing the time of the day when you have the most energy. She said that should be the time when you write, and no other. Now that is really difficult for me. Because my high energy time is from early morning to midday. I’m busy with the kids and the household etc then.
I have found that apart from snatching chunks here & there, I really depend on writing at night AFTER the household is asleep. Not my peak time but hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?
Interesting advice from that writing teacher. I wonder if writing during that high energy time produces better product too? I also wonder if anyone actually is able to focus on writing during that optimal time.
My only article ever published was called “Spurts and Splats.” I wrote it out of my frustration with myself that I couldn’t make myself write every day like I’d heard “real” writers do. At the time, I had six children at home, and it seemed I could only write in spurts and splats. Knowing that about myself, the article was about how I learned to schedule the “splat” days. Otherwise, I would always feel on-the-clock, which does not work well for me.
But I’ve always wanted to write novels, and it took a writing class that required 50,000 words for the final to help me see that it’s the word count I need to focus on.
So, I’ve tried all three techniques with haphazard results. When the kids were home, our computer was in the living room. We taped masking tape on the floor in a square around the desk and put a sign by the “door” that said: Do not Disturb, Authoress Extraordinaire at work! It was fun and the kids only “knocked” with emergencies. Luckily, I learned to tune out distractions out of necessity. At that time, I just “fit it in,” and I also kept notebooks all over the place before I figured out a slightly more organized system.
I do like early mornings, but not for writing. In the evenings, I like to spend time watching movies with my husband or visiting family, etc. What works for me now is to schedule my work days and times and output. Currently it is to write for two to four hours, four days a week (preferably M, T, Th, and Sat). On writing days, my word count has to be between 500 and 1000. Wednesday is my day off! It takes a lot of effort sometimes to force myself to take a day off, but balance is supposed to be good, right?
I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. I really admire your dedication to writing.
Having a word count goal is also a great technique. Thanks for putting that up here, LJ.
Oh, and my writing time is between two and six in the afternoons. I enjoy rewarding myself when I finish early :-).
I have to have a quiet house to write and with four children that time is hard to find. I can’t write in School holidays, so I write in the school terms only and if I am not working I write in school hours but I also have regular breaks every 40 minutes or so and do house work for 5-10 minutes. At the end of the day I feel good becuase I have achieved the thing I love to do and the practical needs of the family – it’s a win win.
Early mornings – NOT a good idea for me. I’d be grumpy by the afternoon.
I do the break thing too. I have to focus on a task for awhile and then take a break to do something quickly and then start in on the next project. It’s like a reward system though most of the time my reward breaks involve house work. 🙂
Although after reading all these comments I am wondering if I can lock myself away for an hour during the school holidays in the early morning(8am-9am). It’s hard to keep momentum when you have a two week break. Something to think about and try I guess.
I have been “finding the time” in the middle of the day, but that is challenging to do regularly. I am preparing to put my weekly schedule to paper…and then actually following it (go figure)!
I plan to put writing as one of the first priorities of the morning.
However, I find blogging works better for me in the morning, while book writing works better in the evening.
I wonder why blogging would be easier in the morning. Interesting!
Beth K. Vogt
For me, the “get up early before anyone else” works best. The next best thing is the “stay up late when everyone else is asleep” tactic.
And when there’s a deadline? It’s all about ignoring real life for writing life: Ignore laundry. Ignore the house. And apologize to my family for ignoring them.
I do try to avoid writing when my youngest is home after school.
It is important to meet those deadlines. 🙂
I used to get up early to write (sometimes my stuff and sometimes contract tech writing or editing), but now I’m married to a night owl I like to hang out with, so I don’t get to sleep early enough. My problem is, I write for others for a living, which makes it a little more complicated to stay motivated to write during time off. Writing is exhausting, and it’s not always easy to write before or after writing. I’ve done the lunch thing and it has worked well for me. Surprisingly, writing my own stuff can be a nice escape from writing for someone else. But that doesn’t work every time.
So I’m definitely a “when I can fit it in” writer, although I write something every day. Just not always what I want to write.
This is my first week back after a two-week vacation I took specifically to do my own writing. Over 29,000 words in 16 days. My very supportive family understood that I was unavailable for anything until I met my goal for the day. But I work at home enough that they’re used to leaving me alone when I’m in my home office.
Thanks for sharing another great technique with us, Scott. The “writing vacation.”
My first couple of hours in the morning are my finest, and I have started using them for writing. Staying up late is fruitless as my brain completely shuts off by 7 or 8pm! But I’m wide awake at 5am!
I’m unfamiliar with the 5 a.m. hour. I try to avoid it. 🙂 I’m glad that you’ve found morning works best for you.
I’m always impressed with how other writers fit writing in!!
My story is not so glamorous. I tried getting up 1 hour early when my daughter was a toddler. She got up with me. Then I tried 2 hours earlier. She woke up with me. After a few weeks, I realized it was pointless!
Now, my kids are older and I write while they’re in school. On summer break, I write from 7-noon or 1. It works great for me!
She must be a light sleeper.
You are able to work in quite a bit of writing time! That’s awesome!
I actually do the second and third steps. It’s the first one that I find difficult. Especially with two kids under 3 who think it’s funny to wake up at 4,5,6 and 7am. But, guess that means I have to get up at 2am.
Hopefully they both nap!
For me the idea of getting up any earlier to write is like signing up for a voluntary root canal. Furthermore, I am not alert enough to write in the morning. Hats off to those of you who can!
I am a night time writer. After the kids go to bed, you will find me online working. I also slide it in when there are other opportunities. But for me, night and chocolate are the perfect inspiration for romantic suspense.
It’s cool how people are so different. I’m with you as far as the mornings go (and the chocolate) but it’s neat how many people are the exact opposite.
I already get up at 5:45 a.m. to head to my day job. I don’t start till 8:00 a.m., but I go early to miss traffic. I arrive at my office about 6:45 a.m., start the coffee, then have devotions. At 7:00 a.m. I start some writing activity (writing, editing, research, industry blogs, etc.) and work at that till 8:00 a.m. During this time I’m available to other early arrivers (I’m senior engineer and am frequently called on to solve others’ problems), but most of the time I get to be writing.
I usually manage to do a little writing work over the noon hour, which may include brainstorming the next scene/story/article on my noon walk.
In the evenings I try to get in two hours of writing/editing/research, and usually can. My wife makes frequent trips to help out with our grandkids, so I’m alone in the empty nest at least a week a month. Currently on a 2 1/2 week time alone, and hope to finish two works-in-progress and start on the next one.
So you are a “fit it in,” “morning,” and “vacation” writer. I hope your 2.5 weeks are very productive!
Every week I set several bite-size doable goals for my writing and send them to my accountability partner along with a report of my accomplishments for the previous week. My weekly goals aren’t always realistic, but they are more so than they used to be. 🙂 The weekly goals do fit into my long-term, bigger goals. Then,no matter what, I work toward finishing the weekly goals becasue I love to mark them off the list. I work at different times of the day depending on my other commitments.
I have a couple of friends who LOVE list-keeping. The satisfaction of crossing an item off is a big reward to them. I need ice cream to feel satisfied. 🙂
As a busy college student, I’ll admit right away that I haven’t had time to write. When I say that, I mean that I actually haven’t written in almost a year now. Ridiculous, right? When I was just starting out my self-study college courses, I used to find I was most productive writing late at night. I would be up until two in the morning slaving away at my novel. Surprisingly, my best work has come out of my crazed night owl states.
This past year, I began to feel a burden to begin writing again if my schedule would permit it. Yet, that was my problem — my schedule just didn’t seem to permit it one bit. That’s when I began to evaluate the time I spent on various things throughout the day. It seems I spend more time on frivolous things on the computer than I thought. I could be using that time to write, right? I think I may have to revert to the ‘fit it in’ technique to fulfill my wish to keep on writing. We will have to see how this works out! 😉