As a writer who has a 50+ hour a week day job, I have to take advantage of every free moment I have and use it to write. During the school year that generally means writing in the evening, staying up late on the weekends, and taking advantage of my days off. Granted, some days are much more productive than others depending on what’s going on, but I don’t like sacrificing my writing time and make it a point to write a little bit every day.
Finding time to write, however, is not always easy. Most week nights, I don’t get home from work until between 6:00 and 7:00 pm, at which time I take a moment to unwind (because I drive for 45 minutes through rush hour traffic and am grateful to walk through the door alive) before I work on making dinner for the family. During our meal, I catch up with the kids and husband on daily happenings. Down time follows. With a movie or the family’s favorite TV show on in the background, I boot up the laptop and begin to write or revise or edit a manuscript I’m working on.
Since I get up at the crack of dawn and commute through big city morning traffic to get to work by 7:30 a.m., I usually only write for an hour or two before sleep beckons me. I am NOT a morning person, and if I don’t get a full night’s sleep, I have a difficult time functioning and effectively teaching children all day. Sleep and I are best friends.
This writing pattern changes on the weekends, however, when I have a tendency, and probably a bad habit, of staying up until 4:00 a.m. I’m most productive in my writing this time of day because the house is quiet and no one is around to demand my time or attention. Trying to write with background noise distracts me, so I prefer the stillness during the wee hours of the morning, although I usually regret this decision when I’m dragging myself out of bed the next day.
Being a teacher, I am blessed to have Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break, and summers off. These are ideal writing times for me. I fully utilize this extended time and have what I call a writing marathon, where I spend the whole day writing. Of course I get up occasionally to stretch my legs, use the facilities, walk the dog, pet the cat, and grab a glass of tea, but the bulk of my day is used to write. I’ve been known to complete several chapters during such times and could probably bust out an entire book if I really pushed myself.
Writing is hard work, but it’s worth it in the end. I can’t imagine my life without the written word or go a day without writing.