Monday, August 21, 2006

How Do You Squeeze in the Time?

This week the kids are off school. And the to-do list (see post below) is a mile long... As a consequence, it's been near impossible to find the time to write. Or has it?

Here are some ideas for "found" time that may help you find the time to write:

a) My son sees a tutor in the library for an hour twice a week, and during that time my daughter knows she is "required" to find a book and read it, or work on some math pages. She and I find conjoining "study carrels" in the back of the library and do our work side-by-side. It's quiet and the children aren't likely to run anywhere and make a huge mess. Even if your child doesn't see a tutor, how about a day at the library with your kids? They can read or do some reviewing of key math/science/etc concepts before school starts, and you can take an hour and work. (Incentives work well with my kids... ie, read for an hour and we can watch a movie tonight!)

b) I cannot get up early and work. I just cannot, cannot, in a boat. However, it IS possible for me to sit up late and work. A lap top or Alphasmart is very portable, and I often bring it up to bed with me to catch up a bit.

c) I've had success bringing the laptop and/or Alphasmart to the playground or pool. My kids are old enough where I don't need to be completely engaged in their play all the time. Of course, I feel more comfortable with the Alphasmart at these places. If it gets stolen, it's worth a lot less than my laptop... and if it gets wet, it might actually survive!

d) Just cut things out. Hell's Kitchen is over and Big Brother All-Stars is an absolute insult to my intelligence, and I am NOT the most intelligent TV watcher, to which anyone can attest. Why not put on some Life With Derek or That's So Raven, cuddle up with the kids, and edit a scene or sketch out a new one?

e) Waiting rooms. We have a lot of doctor's appointments as school begins. That's just our time of year when we catch up on these things. Don't forget your writing bag. It may contain a chapter to mark up, it may contain a laptop, it may contain a boook and some notecards for research... but just don't forget it. Otherwise, you will be stuck for an hour reading DOG FANCY magazine and articles about healthy pregnancies, while your novel is in the car. This has happened to me. I don't recommend it.

f) They read, you write. We have a rule at home--you MUST read for at least a half an hour before the TV goes on in the evening. Usually, I read too. But sometimes I'll make that reading Chapter 5 of the novel-in-progress... etc.

g) Just read whenever you can. Read good stuff. I just finished Joshilyn Jackson's BETWEEN, GEORGIA the other night. IT MADE ME WANT TO WRITE. Next up is COMPANY by Max Barry. Of course, I am also constantly reading about the Irish Tinkers and Travelling People, but that's research. if you're an author who has a lot of research-related reading, make sure to add in some pleasure reading, too. It'll inspire you. And if you WANT to write... you will.

More later... I have some writing to do!