Finding Time to Write … by Danica Favorite

2016_Danica FavoriteWhen people outside the writing world find out that I’m a writer, they’re always shocked because they have no idea how I find time to write. I work what amounts to a full-time job, and though I work from home and have a semi-flexible schedule, I still have to put those hours in. With two children at home who are involved in multiple activities, I spend most of my evenings and weekends driving them back and forth. Some days, I feel like I live in my car. I am on the go from the time I get out of bed until I fall back into bed, exhausted.

Right now, I’m in the middle of a crazy deadline crunch. I just turned in my line edits for a book I have coming out in September, my January book is due May 1st, and I have a book releasing April 1st. Which means I don’t have the luxury of writing when I feel like it or hoping my life is going to slow down so I can catch up.

So, how, then, do I get the writing done?

The key is in finding ways to make the schedule work for you. When my kids are at their activities, I have my laptop with me. An hour of dance practice becomes an hour of writing time. The kids have to be at the riding arena all day? Have laptop, will travel. And, for those unexpected wait times, I have my book files saved on Dropbox, which I can access from my phone or tablet. Writing on my phone is not fun, but I can do it. I was just at my daughter’s robotics competition, and all of my electronics had dead batteries, so I pulled out a notebook and wrote by hand. It wasn’t pretty, but it did the job.

2016_Favorite_ShotgunOne of the most important things I do, though, is communicate with my family. They know when I’m coming up on a deadline, and what kind of time I need. Part of that is knowing how much time it takes me to write a book, then looking at our schedule to see where I can find that time. And when those times don’t add up, it means figuring out what I need to do to make it work. Sometimes, when I’m in a crunch, I’ll spend the weekend at a hotel, locked in a room, writing.

The other crucial piece to balancing my busy life with my writing time is making time for self care. If I don’t have enough fuel in the tank, I’m not going anywhere, especially when it comes to the energy I put into both my family and my writing. I have a standing massage appointment every other week.. I have a regular journaling habit, and I also do a lot of art journaling. That all seems to add up, time-wise, but what I’ve found is that when I am doing all the things that support me emotionally and creatively, I’m a better wife, better mother, better writer, and I don’t feel as pressed for time, even though I still have exactly the same hours in the day.

How do you get that balance?

Take a look your writing habits and needs. Track how long it takes you to write. If you can write an average of 1K in 1 hour, how many hours do you need to write your book? Then look at your schedule. Where in your schedule can you fit those hours? Does that mean cutting something out? I’m amazed at all the ways we all waste time when we take the time to analyze how we’re spending it. Also be aware of hidden times you can use to write. I can usually get about 6 hours of writing time just sitting and waiting for my kids at their various practices. When you’re making your schedule, be intentional about also scheduling down time and self-care time. It’s tempting to pack every minute full of stuff, especially when you’re feeling pressed for time, but in those circumstances, the best thing you can do is to give yourself a break.

How do you balance your writing life with everything else you need to get done?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She and her family recently moved in to their dream home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado. Danica loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun.

Learn more about Danica and her writing at her website. She can also be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Become an RMFW Guest Blogger
Interested in submitting to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Blog? Our blog's theme is Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, so we're interested in original, well-crafted and proofread blog posts on writing (all fiction genres) and the writing life, reports on RMFW events, interviews with agents/editors/published authors, humor, photo essays, and book reviews. Contact the editors at blog@rmfw.org for more information about available guest dates. CLICK HERE for additional submission guidelines.

5 thoughts on “Finding Time to Write … by Danica Favorite

  1. I write first thing in the morning. I’ve tried other schedules, but the only one I find that works is getting up at Oh-Dark-Thirty…before my day job, before my wife gets up, and hit the keyboard. Even on the weekends. I have a many times more-than-full-time job…I also hit the gym…not to mention other family related functions (though we do not have kids, we have nieces and do help out attend their functions as often as we can), and the basic “stuff” of every day life, like chores, yard work, appointments, you name it. As you say, Danica, you do have to make time for yourself, and for me the gym is lifesaver…not only for the obvious, but it’s also stress relieving. Usually the angrier or more frustrated I am…the better the workout! :-]

    But you also need to get away from your routine and “get out there” and do something totally different or see a totally new scenery. It’s tough to do, when everything is so “shoe horned,” no matter if you have kids or don’t. Life piles up on you, and sometimes you just have to make time to get away! If you think you can’t, then just take a vacation day and disappear! If you don’t have “vacation days,” then talk to your significant other, get a friend or two to help out, and schedule one. There are ways to manage one’s sanity! It’s all about MAKING time to do what we want or need to do.

    Good post!

  2. I’m with Frank on daily & early.

    And one advantage of ALWAYS writing by hand is that it’s extremely portable — no batteries required and no possible ability to get distracted on the world wide ….

    This place.

    Good post !

  3. A few months ago I switched from a rotating schedule to a set schedule at work. I’m still trying to find that prime sweet spot for writing. Before I had time off when no one else was home, so that was great (when I took advantage!) It’s different now and I love being home when others are there, but I’m often thinking about “when will I write” so I’m not completely present in the moment . . . not so good. But it’s coming around. When the kids were young, I enjoyed taking them to activities as, like you mentioned, I could count on some writing time.

  4. Frank, I wish I could get up early and write! I can’t think clearly before about 10 am, so anything I write early turns out to be garbage. Scheduling days for yourself is SO important! With my looming deadline, I booked myself into a hotel for the coming weekend. 🙂 Hopefully after this book is in, I’ll give myself a real vacation day. And you are SO right about making time. If it’s important enough to you, you will make time for it.

    Thanks Julie! Some days (like last night), I put on a movie I’d watched a thousand times and vegged because I didn’t have the energy to write, and that’s okay. I listen to my body, and when it says it’s tired, I rest. So good for you in knowing your limits.

    Mark, LOL!! I realized, too, as I was inputting my handwritten pages, is it gives you another good edit pass.

    Dean, I’m with you! We just moved a little under a year ago, and with the move, I lost my office, so it’s been harder to get that “sweet spot” without having kids bugging me all the time. It’s amazing how they solve their own problems when they can’t see you, but when you’re in the thick of things, they don’t respect the imaginary bubble. But I’m figuring it out. I think we have to change our writing process as the seasons of our lives change, and sometimes it’s a bumpy road. You’ll get there!

Leave a Reply