Finding the time to write when you have small children can be difficult.
Making us all the more busy when we have a day job, chores, and a nagging spouse demanding our attention.
Not to mention the constant distractions of a phone, the Internet, TV, or someone at your front door.
I’m no busier than anyone else, but there always seems to be something interfering with my writing time.
So, how do we contend with all the demands on our time and still find time to write?
Here are some tricks I’ve learned over the years that help me manage when life gets out of control:
Work and Family
Balancing writing with the needs of your family can be a trying issue for writers.
Especially for those who work day jobs.
Both place enormous demands on our time we can’t ignore.
However, there are ways we can work around them.
The best solution would be to come home after work and write in our own private little corner or room, and everybody leaves us alone until we’re ready to come out of hiding.
But that’s not always possible when you have a family, especially if you have young kids who demand constant attention.
Then there’s always the nagging spouse or the temperamental teenagers who think your life revolves around them and you have nothing better to do.
Of course, if you can get your family and friends to agree upon boundaries, or even help out every once in a while to make your life a little easier, that would be great.
Perhaps they could keep your kids distracted in another room, or even better, find an activity outside or around town to preoccupy them.
But life’s not always that easy.
Your spouse and kids might eventually feel neglected or will simply refuse to cooperate.
And you might have to resort to extreme measures.
Such as pretending you’re on overtime at work or you have an errand to run.
Perhaps you need to go into work early.
If you can’t write at home, there’s plenty of other places to do it.
Such as the library, Starbucks, a park bench… even your car if you’re desperate.
(Just make sure you’re not parked outside the house, or you might get caught!)
Of course, if you really are on overtime or have to go in early, there’s always the option of giving up your breaks or lunch hour to write.
I’ve had to do these things a time or two myself.
There’s no shame in doing whatever it takes to keep your momentum, but remember to always make room for family and personal time.
You’re looking for balance, not obsession or overwhelm!
Life is full of doctor visits, school meetings, counselor sessions… even the plumber showing up to fix that water leak in the basement.
Some are planned, while others might pop up at the last moment.
But all suck your writing time right out from underneath your feet.
There might be a waiting period before the appointment that can be put to good use writing.
But sometimes you just can’t find the focus you need to write because of all the distractions a waiting room provides, or maybe you’re just too nervous to even try.
I’ve found if I don’t want to fall behind in my writing, I need to stay ahead of schedule.
There are many ways to do this: you can write more in the days before the appointment, get up early to write before you go, or write the night before.
It’s always best to tackle the problem before the appointment rather than after, in case you don’t have the energy or time to do it later.
Plus doing it afterward leaves you feeling behind and rushed, which not only creates anxiety, but you also might not put forth your best effort.
I’m an introvert, so people and public places suck all my energy, leaving me exhausted when I’m done and wanting nothing more than to relax.
I don’t want to worry about coming home to write with nothing to give, so I always plan extra writing ahead of time wherever I can to make up for it.
Keeping ahead of your goals allows for things to come up without adding more stress to your life.
Keep Writing No Matter What
Life has a bad habit of sucker punching us when we least expect it.
We have good days, and we have bad.
Write whenever you get the chance, even if you think it’s crap because you were distracted the whole time.
You can always fix it later.
Remember Newton’s Law: an object in motion stays in motion.
It takes more effort to start than it does to maintain continuous movement.
And if you lose that momentum, regaining it will be ten times harder than if you had just kept going.
What do you do to maintain your writing momentum when life gets crazy?
FOR FURTHER READING
Renea strives to help writers develop the focus and skills they need to finish their first novel, offering writers practical writing advice they can apply one step at a time.
She is the author of Conquering Writing Pressures: Living a Balanced Writing Life in a Busy World where she helps writers find the courage to accept life will never be perfect. And if we want our dreams to succeed, we must fight to make them a reality.
She currently lives in St. Joseph, Missouri, with her husband Joe, her three children, and her five lovable furballs.
From a young age, Renea was mad for books and reading, and especially loved Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, which she read in the ninth grade.
She is an avid reader, with her main interests residing in history, mythology, and fantasy, along with some romance and science fiction in her earlier years.
When Renea’s not writing, she enjoys genealogy, role-playing games, and dreams of traveling the world. In a past life, she plucked chickens and milked cows.