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I get a little writing done here and there, but I’m inconsistent at best. Sometimes a flash of inspiration will lead to an hours-long obsessive sprint resulting in thousands of words. It’s rare, but it happens. Every day, though, I sit at my computer as often as I can (around housework and kids and such) with every intention of writing. The actual writing doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like. What is it I’m doing when I’m supposed to be writing? A few things, some of which aren’t actually bad.

Socializing

If you know me, you know I have a thing for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It’s a love/hate relationship with the sites themselves, but I can’t do without lurking behind the threads of my favorite peoples in the whole wide world (outside my family). I have my days (sometimes weeks, but that’s rare) when I need a bit of radio silence to recharge the old battery. Then I have those days when I need the interactions, crave the light-hearted jabs, and I seek out the innuendos because they always make me smile. Whether I’m having a “behind-the-scenes lurking” type day, or an “omg-talk-to-me” one, I spend more time on social media sites (Twitter especially) than I should, time that I could spend writing. For every 30 minutes on Twitter, I could have written almost 1,000 words. It’s not a bad thing when I’m actually talking to folks, I enjoy those conversations, however brief or seemingly disjointed. I’m just thinking I need to allot specific times during which I “allow” myself to check -in to create and maintain a balance.

Doing Other Writerly Things, but Not Writing

I do A LOT of this, too. I’ve created so many blogs. Why? I don’t know. I made a couple of websites, too. I research Amazon Book Categories and Medieval Terminology. Some of what I do is actually helpful and necessary. I’ve recently released a book, and a part of selling books is marketing. I’m dipping my toes into advertising, now. After a rough take-off, and now that I’ve got a bit of a system going, I’m heading into week two. Week one tutorial period (no, there’s no actual tutorial) is now over, time to leave the newbie zone, buff up and move out. How I did this (today, actually) was to compile the relevant data into a table and make some comparisons to see what worked for me and what didn’t. This time next week, I’ll do the same. I even made a handy weekly planner so I could remember to do this at the same time, on the same day of the week, every week so I can track my trends. Speaking of my handy planner …

Planning and/or Plotting

Also known as daydreaming. I like to categorize and assign, to rearrange before I create. I have two older kids with a school schedule that gets top priority on my list. We wake up at 6:30 every morning to get ready for school. There ain’t no gettin’ around that. We leave the house at 7:15 (Yeah, I’m that good). I’m back at home by 7:30 and ready(ish) to start the day. From that time until I leave to get the kids from school at 2:30, I do stuff. With a toddler, or with a toddler nearby.
Toddler usually eats 2-3 times during the day (plus snack with the kids at 3:30 and supper), and we’re doing the potty training thing, too. Every two hours, on the even 1/2 hours, we go potty. Or go sit on the potty. Either way, everything else I do revolves around the daily schedule of my kids.
Homework is priority one from the time we get home from school (around 3:30pm) until 5pm, though it usually doesn’t take more than 30 minutes. I’m in the kitchen (sneaking back to my computer as often as I can) from 5pm-7pm, and from there it’s a race to clean-up and get the kids in bed by 8.
When I actually sat down to plan out my days, on paper, this is what it looks like I’m left with:

 

8am, 4pm, 8pm: (Check E-Mails for Assignments for the Paying Gig)

9am-11am: Write and Play with Toddler (Possibly sneak in some Twitter)

11am-noonish: Cook and Eat Lunch

noonish – 2:30pm: Write and Play with Toddler (Possibly sneak in some Twitter)

4pm-5pm: Spend time with all three kids

8pm-10pm: Write (Possibly sneak in some Twitter)

 

I do actually write and edit articles throughout the day for the paying gig, so I have been writing some, but I’d like to do more fiction writing. I do other miscellaneous things every day – I have numerous hobbies and an actual, real, live back yard – but this is where the majority of my time is spent. Looking at that schedule, though, I see the opportunity for roughly six hours a day of writing time, with frequent breaks to play with toddler. The most important thing I did today was identify those opportunities. With this information, and a bit of discipline, I’ll know that if I don’t take the time to write during the time frames set forth above, I won’t have time to do it later. Now I just need to figure out exactly how long I spend on the paying gigs so I can set aside time for the fiction.
Here’s to giving oneself a good, swift kick in the pants. I’m going to stick to my schedule for the next three weeks (and I made a note on the third week’s planner to do the next month’s planner, too), and see if I can’t get some consistency going. I’ll let you know if it works out. 😉

Cheers,

Jess

0 Comments for "What am I doing when I'm supposed to be writing?"

  • Bart

    And me, I’m reading blog posts.

    Reply
  • Bart

    Oh, my comment is awaiting moderation as well, eh? Jeezzz.

    Reply
    • Jess West

      Only for your first time. After that, you’re free to post as you please. 🙂

      Reply
  • D. Emery Bunn

    I hold a full time job, and as a result I use my “at work” time, including lunch, to socialize like crazy. When I get home and get into a writing zone, Twitter never gets opened. For that matter, I rarely open Twitter at all when it’s not a workday. I suppose I’m happy that I landed in a routine where I don’t get distracted from the actual writing by Twitter.

    And as someone who’s had designated Writing Times or Writing/Editing Goals, having the set times helps tremendously. Best of luck on the new schedule. 🙂

    Reply
    • Jess West

      That’s great! And thanks! 😀

      Reply
  • Nillu Nasser Stelter

    I feel you. Now you’ve outlined your schedule I’m even more impressed by your output. It’s a juggling act, but wouldn’t have it any other way. Potty training next on the list for me too…

    Reply
    • Jess West

      I have to confess, I’m not strictly sticking to that schedule. She has decided she’ll go potty on her own terms, and I can do little more than follow along when she needs help, get out when she tells me to, and help her wash her hands when she’s done. I’m not complaining, though. She’s getting shit done. 😉

      Definitely a juggling act, but, like you, one I’m grateful for. I’m loving every minute of it. And you know what? I’ve had chicken marinating in the fridge for four hours – exactly how long it was supposed to sit for. I feel super about remembering that, just thought I’d share. Now to cook it without burning it. 😉

      Reply
      • Nillu Nasser Stelter

        What lucky kids you have. A mum who is caring & gives them space, follows her own dreams, is funny (“she’s getting shit done”!) and can marinate a chicken! Star x

        Reply
  • auriecr

    This makes me feel so much better!

    *writes a sentence* *moves baby away from stairs* *checks Facebook* *deletes previous sentence* *Takes fist of cat fur out of baby’s hand* *Checks email* *rewrites sentence* *time to nurse baby and put to sleep*

    Aaaaand that’s it for my “writing session” 🙂

    Reply
    • Jess West

      hehehe … It’s gotten better since I wrote this, but I remember those days well (minus the stairs and cat). 🙂

      Reply

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