Monday, February 16, 2009

Finding Time To Write

© Sia McKye 2009 all rights reserved



“If we make it through December
Everything’s gonna be all right I know
It's the coldest time of winter
And I shiver when I see the fallin’ snow
If we make it
through December, we’ll be fine…”


Merle Haggard sang that song way back when. For a country song, I always liked it. I liked the message behind it. Tough times. Taking it a day at a time. The feeling of hope.

We’ve all made it through December, and January. We’re renewed with the New Year. Many of us are trying to get back on track, after the busy holidays, with our writing. Now we need to make it through the rest of winter and into spring. How are you getting back on track with your writing schedule? Do you have a schedule? A schedule is a must for me. Everyone’s different. There’s no right or wrong way.

For me, it’s discipline. I have to organize my time to allow for my writing time. Those days I’m not working, I write a couple of intensive hours in the morning. I treat it like a job. I have to stay focused or I lose it. If I lose it, I feel guilty because I frittered my time away. What that means is, I can’t surf the net, or take part in my on line discussions.

I’m usually up by 6:00 a.m. every morning. My son, Jake, gets up at 6:30. While I have my first cup of coffee, I catch up on my email and what’s been happening. By the time Jake walks out the door at 7:30 a.m. to catch the school bus, my dogs have done their duties outside. I eat something; grab a second cup of coffee and by 8:00 a.m. I’m ready to write. I close out all but the MS I’m working on. I don’t answer the phone; I let the voice pick it up. I write. There’s no magic to it. It’s a matter of just sitting my butt in the chair and doing it. Just as if I went into the office to work. I take minimal breaks during that time.

Somewhere around 10-10:30, I’ll break. I may walk outside and check on my animals (I raise Great Danes and horses), start a load of clothes, figure out what I want for dinner. If I’m in a good writing groove, I’ll continue writing for another hour. I have chores to do and sometimes errands to run. I work on getting all that done mid-day. I try to nap for an hour, if I can, around 2:30 when I’m home. That way I’m refreshed for when Jake comes home by 4:00 p.m. I tend to wake up a bit out of it, so I need that 30 minutes to get into gear for snacks, homework, chatting, and the evening feedings, starting dinner. My husband is home by 5:30 so we spend time talking about our day while dinner is cooking. After dinner, it’s catching up on secular work issues and I try to get in an hour or two of writing. Depends upon work. I’ve been learning how to juggle editing and new writing. I haven’t won that battle completely, but it is getting easier.

Bottom line for me, if I don’t make the time, then my time gets squandered away and nothing is accomplished. I don’t like that feeling. I also need to be consistent. Most successful writers have to be.

How do you carve out time to write? Some work full time. Some can’t write at home but have a favorite place they can write. Some can only write on weekends, or early morning before the day starts, or late at night when the house is quiet. The point is they have to make the time.

So, what works for you?
About the author
I'm married to a spitzy Italian. We have a ranch out beyond the back 40 where I raise kids, dogs, horses, cats, and have been known to raise a bit of hell, now and then. I have a good sense of humor and am an observer of life and a bit of a philosopher. I see the nuances—they intrigue me.

I’m a Marketing Rep by profession and a creative writer. I have written several mainstream Romance novels one of which I’ve out on a partial request. I’ve written and published various articles on Promotion and Publicity, Marketing, Writing, and the Publishing industry.

Aside from conducting various writing discussions and doing numerous guest blogging engagements, I write a blog, Over Coffee,
http://siamckye.blogspot.com/ Each week I promote and share authors’ stories, on the laughter, glitches, triumphs, and fun that writers and authors face in pursuit of their ambition to write—Over Coffee.

18 comments:

Judi Fennell said...

You're right, Sia. It's a job. I've learned to not be so fussy about who didn't make their beds, what we're having for dinner and when I'm on deadline, pizza delivery is a must (and if you get meat on it, it's a full meal - LOL).

There is no magic to it - it takes good ol' fashioned hard work. Put your butt in the chair and write!

Pat S. said...

Sia, I do wish I had the discipline you have! I fit my writing into whatever moments I can seize or when the voices get too loud to ignore. Even doing it in dibs and dabs, I still managed to finish a first draft in 6 months (and then poked and edited it for another 6!) But it paid off. I just got a request for the full from Soucebooks! Check it out at http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/ (Pocketful of Ashes, by Pat Shaw)

sherilynwinrose said...

I can always find reasons not to write. It's a matter of putting my bottom and the chair.. and not going to blogs.

~Sia McKye~ said...

lolol! Sherilyn, I schedule time for blog reading. Otherwise you could spend forever.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Judi, exactly. I look at my writing as a job, because that's what it is. Just as with any job we have, as writers working in the home, or working outside the home, I fit my home chores around my job. I try to take advantage of an empty house to get my *job* done.

Thanks for stopping by! :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Pat, how absolutely wonderful to hear! Fingers and toes crossed that the full request works into a contract for you!

The whole point of the article is making time to write. It's different for everyone. We all have schedules to work with. Aren't you glad you you found the time to write?

Keep us posted on how it goes, my friend!

Marta Stephens said...

Sia, great to have you here on MB4. All the best!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Marta, thank you. I'm honored to be here.

Pat Bertram said...

Write? What's that? I barely have enough time to eat or sleep anymore. I'm stuck in copy-editing hell, plus trying to keep up with my blogs, promoting my books, and planning a virtual bash for when the books finally come out. If I don't figure out a way to write (which is what I want to be doing) I'll go nuts. Maybe I should take up juggling. Where do I find those plastic bowling pins?

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

That is my new theme song. "If I make it through winter."

I'm proud to say my husband went to the lodge over the weekend and I added 2400 words to my 22,000 word ms. I'm thrilled. He's retired, so generally I write 200 words a day during the winter.

The guy's a peach, but man can he talk.

jrafferty said...

Sia,

Finding time to write and balancing it with work and family is hard work, but worth the time needed to do justice to all of them. Now what was that next thing I need do do?

James

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Marta, Just a note to thank you for including Sharing with Writerson your blog roll. You do much for writers; I'll be dropping by to check things out here frequently.

Best,
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Also blogging at www.thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com

~Sia McKye~ said...

joylene,

Yay, on the 2400 words. It sure feels good when we can do that. I know all too well about distractions from loved ones, especially days when both my guys are home. Nothing like hearing the words, guess what? when you're deep into writing...

My schedule has to be fluid when things like that happen, but I do have a door that closes on my office. :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

James,

lolol! I hear you on that one. For many writers, that fine juggling act is every day stuff. the main thing is, as you say, is finding or scheduling regular time to write. There are many things that can and do get in the way. We just have to carve out the time when we can.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Sia McKye~ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Sia McKye~ said...

Carolyn,

Thank you for stopping by. You're the Frugal Editor. I've read some of your work and you have some great suggestions on promotion. I like your common sense approach playing up your strengths as author.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Marta and Murder by 4 crew:

Thank you for having me.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Sia, this is a wonderful piece! I'm so glad you've stopped by today to share your wisdom with our readers. I've found that with life's major challenges (family passing, getting laid off, major illnesses) that my writing is sometimes put on hiatus, sometimes invigorated. Strange... right now I can only think of getting a new job, even though I always thought of writing as my "REAL" job. I must write about this when I get out of my funk. LOL.