Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My ongoing battle with time

One of the things I'm still struggling with as a writer is finding the time to work on my bigger projects. As a mom, I realize that the moments I can carve out among cooking and cleaning and playing with the kids are precious, yet at the same time, I have difficulty utilizing those ten- or twenty-minute writing sessions effectively. Although they're perfect for writing things like blog posts and drabbles and my 100-word exercises, when I attempt work on anything larger, like my novel, I find that I can't concentrate, and before I'm even able to begin, the moment is gone and something else calls me away from the computer.

Getting up a couple of hours before the kids do used to ensure productive writing time, but I'm finding now that I'm often too exhausted to write, as I generally get only four or five hours of sleep a night. Going to bed earlier might solve that problem--and that's something I'm working on--but I have trouble unwinding after a long day with the kids and find that one of the only things that relaxes me is reading. Unfortunately, I just don't know when to quit, and I often stay up until one or two in the morning, going to sleep only when I can't keep my eyes open one second longer. These marathon reading sessions are creating a new problem: I often oversleep, something I wrote about in my 100-words entry this morning:

I overslept this morning, which has been happening more and more frequently lately. I had one of those heart-stopping moments where something woke me up (thankfully), and I sat up quickly, pulse racing as I realized that the clock said 7 a.m. and not the 6 a.m. it needed to say. My daughter's two-year checkup was scheduled for 9:30, which made my getting up late all the more difficult to deal with. Before I had kids, I never imagined how hard it would be to leave the house on time.

Now I know.

Anyway, regarding my larger writing projects, I'm at a loss. I don't believe it's an issue of finding time as much as it's an issue of learning to use the time I have more effectively. I'd be interested in hearing how you utilize the small bits of time you carve out during the day. How do you make the best use of those precious few moments?


  1. I really feel you on this one Dana . I also jumped up this morning , 1 hr later than I should have ... *sighs* (no excuse for me , don't have any little ones). I also seem to battle with the time management for my larger writing project . I think it boils down to a structured writing schedule and also setting daily/weekly goals with regards to word count for WIP .

  2. I use them the same way as you do: for small projects. It's hard to use those small bursts to do bigger projects. Today at work, for example, I had a 15-minute project of lesser priority and a one-hour project of lesser priority with 30 minutes left till I had to pick up Li'l D. Getting into and out of the big project two consecutive days would've made for more pain in the end, so I opted to tackle the small project.

    Have you ever checked out nascentnovelist on WordPress? She actually left a comment on one of my favorite "mom blogs" that I think might be useful to you ('twas for me and many other mom/writers). I'll paste the tweet here:
    Just had the most helpful comment on the blog ever. Literally: http://bit.ly/r9v0ps

  3. mish: I agree. I think I do need to set more concrete weekly goals for the WIP.

    Deb: I'll definitely check out that link. Thanks!