Monday, February 20, 2012

Finding Time to Write

“Where the hell do you find time to write?” This has to be the most frequent question I receive from my non-writer friends, right after “Can I have a walk-on role in the movie version of your book?”

And I can see why people might be curious. I have a full-time job and a busy 2-year-old son, not to mention a house to keep up and two dogs to neglect walk twice a day. Where can I possibly squeeze in time to write? The question is usually asked by other busy moms, and with boatloads of admiration and awe (to that, I refer you all to Ruth Lauren Steven, who has 4 kids and writes fantastic books—she’s the amazing one!) But while nearly all people ask the question good-naturedly, occasionally I do sense a soupcon of curiosity if maybe, perhaps, Michelle is neglecting her family/household duties in order to make time to write. To this, I say that is simply untrue. I make extra sure to only neglect my husband’s needs to write. Just kidding…

But seriously, I never write a word when my son is awake. So where the eff do I find the time? The answer is that I’m REALLY careful with every. single. minute of my free time.

I follow a writing schedule, replete with word count goals for each day that I must reach at the price of lost sleep (I also keep a crit partner who makes me stick to these goals and will flog me if I fail). Ben’s naps are 100% devoted to writing. The house might be a bit messy until the evening, but who cares? Plus, you’d be amazed how quickly one can clean a whole house when you have something you desperately want to do afterwards. When Ben goes to sleep at 8pm, I spend the rest of the evening writing until I crash or cry or meet my word-count goal—whichever comes first. And occasionally, when I’m experiencing the dreaded writer’s block, I’ll read instead, or *gasp* spend time with Logan or friends.

So really, the answer to the question isn’t very complicated or exciting. In fact, I really could have just said:

No Life+Reduced Sleep+Coffee+Time Management+Supportive Husband=Writing Time

Of course, now I have a blog and twitter to keep up with too, and that, I will admit, is very time-consuming. Obviously the answer is to find a part-time job so I can dedicate more time to social networking.

So that's how I do it, folks. How about you authors out there? How do you squeeze in your writing time throughout the day?


  1. In my opinion, writing takes no more spare time than any other past-time activity. If you choose writing as a past-time instead of, say, watching tv, you could spend the exact same amount of time devoted to your past-time activities (a couple hours per night), but in 3 months time you'll have written a book.

    I think what amazes people is the fact that you (and other writers with busy lives) choose a work activity for your spare time instead of relaxation. Writing is fun, but it can also be difficult and make you want to pull your hair out. It takes dedication to push through this instead of turning on the tv. That's what makes me amazed, anyway.

    *Turns on tv*

    1. Completely agree! I have NO other hobbies. I do NOTHING else that's just for me and not an activity for the kids.

      And in three months (or thereabouts) from now I WILL have a new book! : D

  2. I would never write if not for my son napping!

  3. Good point, Brandy. And when you say it like that, I'm even impressed with myself :P

    Christina-thank god for naps!

  4. My kids are in school so I can write during those times, but it never seems like enough. You have to manage your time well.

  5. I don't manage my time well, which is why I'm not especially productive. I think I need to follow your example, Michelle. I'm very impressed with your schedule.

  6. Ah, the all-important word count goals and floggings :D

    Actually, I feel another bout of goals coming on that you'll need to hold me to, Michelle!

  7. I also feel this, Ruth. Starting Friday. I'm on vacation :D

  8. Excellent. Friday - goals will be set and they WILL be kept!