There’s been an interesting set of exchanges going on in the comments on FAAB Jordan Rosenfeld’s Sept. 24 guest blog, and it’s made me want to throw a couple of questions out for general discussion. (I know that not everyone goes back and re-checks comments on the older blogs, as I do.)
First, how DO you make the time to write, amongst your other obligations?
Second, how do the other people in your life respond to your need for writing time? How does your significant other, if any, deal with it? Your kids? Your boss? Your pets?
To get the ball rolling, I’ll start: every couple I have ever known that contained at least one artist — including my household — has had to deal with both of these issues on a daily basis. My parents had these issues (he wrote, she sculpted) throughout my childhood — and that’s why, I suspect, I was the only six-year-old in the history of my elementary school to tell her teachers that she wasn’t going to have kids until she could afford domestic help AND a secretary. Trade-offs must be made, and in my household, then and now, art generally takes priority over dusting.
Generally, my s.o. is pretty understanding about this — although, like Jordan’s husband, he was not altogether pleased when I came home from a month-long writing retreat years ago and announced that I wanted to write and edit full-time. It took him a few months of noticing that I actually had LESS time to play once I rearranged my life to give first priority to my writing (it’s not unusual for me to put in a 60+ hour week) before he really got that what I was doing was WORK.
(He just read that last paragraph over my shoulder, incidentally, and he says that his adjustment was instantaneous: it was the cats who really minded.)
But even with good support, I still have days when I think, “Oh, I can’t possibly start writing until after the laundry is done.”
What about you?
7 Replies to “Let’s talk about this: finding the time”
I write whenever I can, most often in the evenings after work, but on days off I’m at it on and off each day. There isn’t a day that I’m NOT writing. My youngest son was in 5th grade when I finished my first novel. It had taken me 3 1/2 years. He asked if I could play with him now. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had started on the next one. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t a good soccer and scout mom. I took all 3 sons everywhere, but I also took my writing with me. I’d print off the last page and just do it by hand. I got very good at cheering for the boys and getting that next paragraph down. I did it at work too on breaks.
I’m not so obsessive with them grown and away, but I write every day.
My tractor oil-stained husband cooks and washes laundry and dishes so I can write. Like Bob Tarte, I, too, am a duck enslavement victim. All writing is put on hold at duck bedtime. Any and all creatures needing assistance come before writing or anything else. I’ve spent many a night quacking, gobbling, clucking, and mooing through the brush while my computer’s screen saver runs through every photo stored on my hard drive.
I have found that writing is almost an obsession. Do I write, or do I mow the yard? If left to my own instinctive choices, I write. So if the yard is going to get mowed, I have to make the choice to leave the computer and go out and mow. For me, I guess, it isn’t a question of finding time to write, but rather one of limiting it so that I get other stuff done.
I do a lot of the thought process of writing and creating while at work, pushing the sweeper cart around the tennis courts. I can put the physical effort on cruise control and let the mental condition wander.
At home, after coffee and the paper, I can get to the actual task of writing…or correcting previously written material, or checking e-mail and the web. Like my coffee, I need that daily dose of Anne’s blog.
I worry about this, actually, when I write an extra-long blog: how much am I eating into my readers’ writing time?
I write. The house is a mess. I write. My parents accuse me of having my priorities backwards. Whatever. I write. Hubby does laundry (love him). I write. Hubby cooks dinner (love him lots). I write. Hubby reminds me dinner is getting cold (love him love him love him). I write. My stepdaughter rides my horses, to the chagrin of the poor beasties as they thought they were getting a permanent vacation. hee. I write. My cats yowl outside the office door. Sometimes they make me feel guilty, so I take a break to pet them. Other times, I pretend I’m a cat and ignore them. Mwahaha. I write. I work as a corporate correspondence writer. During my breaks, I write, and also catch up on reading this fabulous blog. 😉
My father used to say that he never trusted an artist with an immaculate house. Dust is just not as important as art.
When I’m in mid-project, I suspect a literary archeologist could walk into my home, measure the piles of books, papers, and assorted effluvia of living, and predict with pinpoint accuracy just where I am in the process. Just before a deadline, I tend to be VERY well dressed, because the dress-up clothes are all that is clean.
To save the archeologist some time: I have a deadline at the end of October; expect to see me walking around in a ballgown near Halloween.
For me, all dressed up means wearing different colored socks and eating out of a crystal serving bowl. hee.
P.S. I have selected effluvia as my word de jour.