Carving out time in a busy schedule to write.

6:00 AM the day starts with a horrifying sound from the alarm clock. Kids need to be woken. If you have teenagers you know this part’s almost as bad as the sound from the clock and in some cases, quite dangerous. Breakfast needs to be made and nobody wants to eat “the good for you oatmeal that tastes like poop”.  The dog needs to go out, BEFORE he pees on the floor, and he needs to eat too. And if you’re me, you can’t just scoop some crap into a bowl because he’s a French Bulldog with allergies and requires two scrambled eggs even though my breakfast consisted of a cup of coffee while making lunches. You spend a short amount of time in the shower washing all the necessary parts, you dress in something you hope matches and smear some make-up on as quick as you can because you don’t want to scare anyone at the office. A quick kiss at the door to the hubby who takes kid #2 to school and you take kid #1.

If you’re not lucky enough to write full-time, you head to a job that’s probably okay and brings in some money while you work on your novel, short story, poem, or what ever it is that you are passionate about. The job you go to most likely takes up a good portion of your day and at the end of the day you need to get kids to sporting events, dance classes, dental appointments, dress rehearsals, religion classes and God only knows what else. After all that, dinner needs to be made, eaten and cleaned up. Homework needs to get done and checked. The day needs to be talked about, some times in-depth, if “so and so said such and such about you-know-who and can you believe that!”  After all that, and again, if you’re me, you need a half hour of exercise so you don’t kill anyone and your head doesn’t explode. It’s 11:00 PM and I haven’t written a word.

I used to think I needed HOURS to write. So as the day would go on and I didn’t have HOURS, I would wait until the next day. And the next. And the next. Before I knew it days passed and by the next time I got back to writing I would have to reread everything to catch up. Reading would take up all my allotted time and I’d be right back where I started. Then I took a creative writing class where I heard author Howard Roughan say, “you have to write everyday if you’re going to be a writer”. I was like, buddy walk a mile in my shoes! But by the end of the class I realized what he was saying. Writing everyday doesn’t have to consist of a chapter or even a page. It could be a sentence. A fantastic phrase. An amazing piece of dialog. A description of the perfect scene. A new character’s name. Before I knew it I was writing tiny bits on napkins at Dunkin Donuts, a word or two on the palm of my hand while stopped at a red light, just something that I could hook onto IN-BETWEEN the moments of my life. Because truth be told, my life, the hubby, the kids, the crazy egg-eating dog, are pretty wonderful. I just needed to find a balance.

I found the balance IN-BETWEEN everything else. It wasn’t so much a decision because I NEED to write. It’s a passion. It’s part of what makes me, me. So I took all the bits and pieces and before I knew it, I had an idea. Not long after that I had two chapters. A few months later I had a finished manuscript. You have to be disciplined. You have to write every day. Something. Anything. Before you know it you’ll have napkins, discarded faxes, candy wrappers and marked up body parts with some of your best ideas. Start weaving it all together and before you know it you have a story!

What are your IN-BETWEEN times? How do you fit writing into your busy schedule? Give me some good tips to steal!

Happy Writing…See you next week!