5 ways to juggle your writing, your job and family responsibilities
Published: March 22, 2005
|If you're like most writers, you're juggling writing with family life, soccer games, dinner preparations and carpooling. Time gets away from you during the day and before you know it, those hours you planned on devoting to researching markets or working on your novel are gone for good.|
Here are some of the ways I've found time to write and tend to family responsibilities.
Get up early I drag myself out of bed at 4:30 every morning. As much as I dislike rising before the sun and the birds, I also know early mornings are the only times when no one will want me to fix them a snack or expect me to answer the phone. For projects that require more concentration, this is the best time for me to work.
Take work everywhere When I'm working on a book, I have to cram it in among appointments, kids and other work. I usually write five pages in the morning, then print them out and take them everywhere I go. Throughout the day, when I catch a few minutes—waiting in the car for my kids to get out of school, for example—I edit those pages and add ideas for the rest of the chapter. Over the course of the day, I can usually sketch out a few more pages.
Let the kids fend for themselves Too often, moms feel we have to do it all—make the sandwich, feed the dog, wash the floor. As my schedule started getting busier, one of the first things I had to learn was that letting the kids do things for themselves not only freed me up to work, but taught them responsibility. My 4-year-old doesn't make the neatest peanut butter sandwich in the world, but he is mighty proud of the one he does make—and he eats the entire thing without being reminded to finish. To me, that's double success.
Set goals Your writing can fall by the wayside if you don't have a deadline to meet. Before I sold my first book, I bought an inexpensive calendar to track my page count for the day. I set a completion date for the book, worked backward and calculated how many pages per day I needed to complete to get there. This gave me a concrete goal. Granted, the only editor breathing down my neck was myself, but having those little squares to fill in gave me a daily sense of accomplishment.
Let go You don't have to be Super Mom or Super Dad. The house doesn't have to be perfect; the cookies can come from a package. Prioritize what's important and realize that laundry should never be at the top of the list. On the other hand, you don't have to be a workaholic or to take every assignment. Remember to set aside time for fun with your family or to relax.