Lessons from a writer: Finding time to write
We all do it. We get distracted, think of something else, chase kids, answer phones, do homework, and just work. And time is the enemy. But people cope with this issue differently and some even control things and find time to write. We have another panel today!
Do you work or have kids? How do you find time to write?
I have three kids. I’m a full-time stay-at-home mom and writer, and I have an essential oil business on the side. My littlest is starting school this year, so I’ll have lots more time to write. -Jessie Bailey Andersen
I am a stay-at-home mother of three children. Two of them are in school this year, which has given me the magical ability to keep my living room clean for hours at a time, but I still have my youngest here at home and I have to drive to and from the school twice a day. On top of caring for my daughter and tending to our ranch during the day, the job of a homemaker entails constant cooking, cleaning, and organizing. It’s exhausting in itself. But when that was all I did, I still found a few hours in the evening to write once the children were all in bed. My love of words has evolved into a freelance editing job, however, and that fills my free time pretty completely. So, how do I make time to write? Well, to be honest, I don’t. I need to though. Once or twice a week, I get this urge, this itch, and I have to write. During those sprints, everything else in the world melts away. I fall behind in my schedule for a few hours, but I get a chapter or so out. It’s not a perfect system, but the point is that if you really want to write, you do it. Even if you have to sacrifice and eat Ramen in lieu of that fancy dinner because your writing cut down on cooking time. Even if you have to skip a shower today and get up a little early to take one in the morning. We writers do what we have to do. -Crystal M M Burton
While I no longer have my sons at home, I have my two grandchildren for weeks or months at a time. Along with a husband of thirty-seven years who pouts like a child if I’m not up taking him to work and then totally stopping the creative flow to pick him up and spend the rest of the day watching him watch TV. And this isn’t even mentioning our nine-month-old rescued puppy that doesn’t know she isn’t human! So I wind up trying to write as much as I can after taking him to work and between walking the dog and picking him up. Then I try to write after he goes to bed. The process is very important to me. It’s cathartic, it’s self expression on a deeply personal level. It makes you feel empowered and vulnerable all at the same time. It can also make you feel obsessed . . . or possessed as the case may be! Hahaha. But I am determined to write and overcome the fear of exposure and eventually hope to be published. -Kim McCormack Harrison
I do work, and I have a two-year-old daughter. I’m privileged to have employers who understand my condition (fibromyalgia), so they give me every other day off on those “off” days. I treat my writing as my job (9-5). My wife is very understanding in that area by the way. That is a big help.
Lately, however, I even write at night when my daughter is asleep so I get a lot done. Thank God. -Matthew T Fields
I was retired so I had ample time to write. But now, I write so much, all my time is spent writing or thinking about writing. I am currently writing a nonfiction book and the time involved for research is tremendous. Fiction is now just for fun. -Cecelia Marriott Chittenden
Haha do I work or have kids . . . I have both. My wife and I share our responsibilities to our kids. With my youngest being on the spectrum, it’s harder than my eldest by a long shot. I work for myself as a measured surveyor and planning consultant in the UK. When do I find time? I suppose in twilight hours, the times in between sleep, or traveling with work. It really is when it’s possible. -Martin Sigournay
Yes, I have kids but thankfully, they are big enough to know to give me time and space to write. My daughter is the youngest of my two. She is fifteen years old and is also a budding writer, so she understands my plight lol. We often talk about our projects with great enthusiasm and get upset when our works come to a standstill. It has been an awesome experience writing and having a child who does the same. I usually write when they are busy doing their own thing—just for the added privacy. But when they were younger, I stole hours late at night and early in the morning to write before I got on with the day’s activities.
Creative Tip: If you have small children that need an activity, get them to do artwork for your book. My daughter drew a princess for me when she was five because my story needed one. I was able to write while she was busy! -Tyronica Smith
Want to know more about this week’s panel?
I am a stay-at-home mother and wife who spends my free time baking, crafting, and fangirling. I work from home as an author and freelance editor, and I insist my positive outlook has gotten me to where I am today.
Matthew T. Fields
I’m from Brooklyn, NY. I currently live in Danville, Ohio with my wife and daughter and a baby on the way. I self-publish. I have three books out already, and I’m working on my biggest project yet.
I love writing across genres. I’ve recently found a fondness for nonfiction, and the best thing next to an awesome cup of coffee is an even more awesome book! Creators create, readers read, and writers suffer long silences from tight-lipped characters 😛
Cecelia Marriott Chittenden
I have been writing for many years but within the last two, made an attempt to publish any of my work. I self-published my first novel, Book One of a trilogy titled Pelicans Haven, in June of this year. I am currently working on Book Two and Three and a historical nonfiction novel.
Kim McCormack Harrison
Hi, ya’ll. I am unpublished as of yet, and this is the first writers group I’ve been in online. I’m truly enjoying it and learning so much. I am working on turning bedtime stories that I used to tell my children into books. But my true love is romances.
Martin Sigournay has been writing for about twenty-three years but only started publishing e-books back in 2014. He mainly writes fiction but has published one litany of poetry. His current published story is Wolfsbane The Mark, which has elements of fact and fiction intertwined within the story.
J. Andersen is the author of The Breeding Tree, a YA dystopian through Brimstone Fiction, an Imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and At What Cost, through Clean Reads publishers. She likes to write books, but doing so means slaying the dragons of procrastination while trudging through piles of laundry to make it to the computer. This stay-at-home mom may be a superhero by day and a world builder by night, but that doesn’t mean she can ignore making dinner.