If Only I Had One More Hour a Day…

too-busyI’ve been struggling to juggle a lot of things lately which is stressful enough, but now I’m being barraged with NaNoRiMo e-mails, vacation requests, and holiday planning schedules. After Colorado Gold I had three requests for chapters, one of which turned in to a request for a full read. What do you think I want to be doing? GETTING THOSE REQUESTS TAKEN CARE OF, of course. What am I doing? A whole lotta spinning my wheels.

I feel bad for neglecting my family because when I get home from work I need to edit, polish, revise, and revise more. Events that have been planned in the past, and which I normally would be excited about and enjoy, feel like a burden I can’t avoid.

Thinking about all the upcoming get-togethers, travel, and time-sucks that are the holidays, is beginning to give me hives.

Deep breath.

I know I’m not the only one with these problems. And having requests for chapters/full reads is absolutely fabulous, don’t get me wrong. I think the problem is when I read blogs or articles from writers out there with small children/sick family and a full time job but who still manage to volunteer with food banks or do other “save the world” things, AND write, I think I must be incredibly lazy or totally uncommitted to writing. They can get up at 3 in the morning to write, they write on lunch hours, they write into the wee hours of the night – so what’s wrong with me?

I just can’t do it. I’m tired when I get home, but I can manage a few hours a day a few days a week around dinner, laundry, ironing, vacuuming, and having an actual conversation with my husband. I already get up at 5:30 to be at work at 6:30. If I’m getting up earlier than that, it’s so I can work out (which I don’t have time for either, but that’s another rant).

I consider myself a professional writer. I’ve made money (not a lot) between my book (shameless plug: An Unsinkable Love, a Titanic Love Story) and articles in newspapers and magazines, and I work with deadlines. I write all day long as the Marketing Director where I work.

I’m asking/begging/pleading for comments from all of you out there in the world of writers: give the rest of us struggling to “git ‘er done” your methods for managing your writing while staying sane/married/out of jail, etc. I can’t be the only one who would appreciate this resource from our collective of writers.

So, my blog today is a public service request for ideas. Let me (and all the other readers) have them. If you relieve the guilt and/or exhaustion for even one writer, you will have done your good deed for the day/week/month/year. And we'll all Thank you as we continue to Write On!

Terri Benson
As a life-long writer, Terri Benson has one published novel, award winning short stories, and over a hundred articles – many award winning - in local and regional magazines and on-line e-zines. She is a multi-year member of RMFW (Western Slope Liaison & Board Education Chair, and W/S events are hosted at her employer); she is also a long-time member of RWA. Benson is a regular blogger for RMFW, and frequently pelts them with articles for the newsletter.
Her historical romance, An Unsinkable Love, a truly Titanic love story with plenty of suspense, is available from Amazon in both e-book and paperback. More about Terri on her website.

6 thoughts on “If Only I Had One More Hour a Day…

  1. The single biggest thing I’ve done for myself in terms of time management is a bullet journal.

    It sounds silly, counter productive, and one more thing to do in a busy day, but I can keep track of all the various pieces of my writing in one place. Scheduling is as loose – or as tight – as I want it. I can keep my ADHD brain engaged by changing it up when I get bored. I can plot – or not – and track the story ideas as they come so that when I come back to where I need them (in three days or three weeks), I have a place to find them.

    I know Lisa Manifold swears by her Panda Planner, too.

    The other benefit is that it’s easy to get down on myself for not being productive, for not living up to my own impossible standards. The journal gives me the opportunity to look back to see I actually have made progress. If it’s less than I wanted, so be it, but I’m not left sitting there feeling like I’m mired down and not getting anything done.

    • You and Lisa both had great ideas at the workshop you did over here this summer. I really have to get this together so I can tell where I’m at vs. where I need to be!

  2. I used to work full time (5-6 days a week, 50+ hours a week) plus have to deal with the husband and domestics and still find time to write. Here is the honest truth how I managed to do it.

    1. The house got cleaned MAYBE once a month. My husband helped out. I wouldn’t do laundry until I was out of something. Because my priority wasn’t, and never will be, keeping the house spotless or tidy. I’ll suffer some dirt for my art. But then he knew that when he married me, so he can’t really call foul now. I will go a month without vacuuming if I’m really busy. And I’m cool with that. When he starts getting annoyed – he vacuums and then I don’t have to do it until it starts looking shoddy again.

    2. I will forget to eat and live off fast food if necessary. My husband, luckily, loves to cook. Otherwise we might starve (or eat really bad food all the time). Frozen meals are also my handy friends.

    3. I am a total introvert and am happy to see family and friends 1-2 times a year. I’m perfectly content hiding in my house for months at a time. I’m a hibernator.

    4. I can work in the same room as my husband watching television. I’ve cultivated the power of “ignore”. The rule in our house is if you see Steph’s hands moving, she’s writing, don’t expect a conversation or a response. LOL It also helps that he has his own interests and hobbies and can go do those things while I’m working.

    Now all of this, for me, was easy. I never felt like I was sacrificing anyway because my personality and habits are completely aligned with my career choice. Of course nowadays I only work part time and have 4 days to juggle the writing and domestics in. Which is a hell of a lot easier. Of course ultimately, sitting down every day for at least an hour and pounding out as many words as possible is the best possible thing you could force yourself to do.

  3. I have a lot of the same “household” theories, but my husband is a social guy and likes to have friends and family over, often on short notice. He’s beginning to understand the “look” when he tells me he invited someone over for dinner three hours in advance, but I also don’t want to become a hermit. I enjoy my friends (but try to make everyone stay outside so I don’t have the dirty house guilt that I can live with until I see someone else see it). Unfortunately, I didn’t vocalize my career choice early enough to convince everyone – I’m working on it.

  4. Hmm. Consider a formal ceremony in which you crown your husband “The Grilling King.” Gift him with a “Grilling King” apron and nice grilling tool set. An dinner invites, and he’s now officially in charge. No more worries about last-minute guest invites, and you can write happily until he rings the dinner bell (ah yes, another gift.) hahaha

  5. I’m struggling a lot with time to write. I used to write more when I had kids at home; in fact, when I started they were barely in school. There are just so many distractions for me nowadays. I have the money to “have a life”, I garden and I try to spend time with my husband. But what I need to do is remember the payoff of writing. It really does calm me and take me away from all my worries. It is an escape, and one that doesn’t leave me with a hangover or any regrets the next day. I need to remember that.

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