Pockets of daily writing time

Thursday, March 19, 2009
Recently I spoke with someone who seemed amazed that I can write as much as I do and be the mother of three. Some of the amazement, I think, comes from people who don't feel comfortable writing wondering how those of us who do feel comfortable can spend our time writing. Certainly I can look at people in other careers and wonder how they do what they do for hours at a time.

There are weeks I don't feel nearly as productive as others, including this past week which was consumed by pitches, queries, marketing activities...and caring for my family. But today, when I had time between picking up the kids and scheduled interviews, I realized how different my writing schedule may seem from other writers. Some carve out large chunks of time and my writing professors always seemed to recommend big blocks of time to write.

But for me, I find that often I am firing forth during pockets of time when my kids are occupied with naps or homework. When I do have stretches of time, I tend to flit about on different projects within those chunks of time. Oddly, this works for me. Even when working on an article, I'm able to pull away and return without losing too much of the thread. (Or so I like to think!)

What is your writing work habit? Is it developed from a necessity or is it the way you have always done things?


K said...

My writing occurs in pockets of time, too! From 5-7 before my daughter wakes, noon-1 while she naps, and maybe a little bit before my hubby and I go to bed. I often wonder what it will be like when I have several hours in a row to sit down and write one day. Will I be as productive? With such a limited time my mind is extremely focused and efficient. I think I will have to reprogram it when the day comes when I can write for longer periods of time! Great post!!

Elizabeth King Humphrey said...

I wonder also if my writing habits will change with the larger amounts of time (like next year when my son is in school until 3 p.m. instead of noon). If so, how could it change my writing and productivity and style...or success?!
Thanks for the comment!

Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas, M.Ed. said...

I have four daughters and three granddaughters, so I completely understand. I, too, grab chunks of time to get my writing done and usually have several projects going at one time.

What's that old adage? If you want something done, ask a busy person? Writers always seem, to me, to get more done in a day than most.

Peace, Linda

Anonymous said...

I've never been so lucky/disciplined. My writing and novel never took off until both my children were in school.

Mariana D. said...

I have some free time to write, althought I don't spent it right. My best pieces are the ones that I wrote in a rush, I believe.

Kerrie said...

I prefer to write in smaller chunks of time. I think it holds my short attention span better. Plus, my first draft ends up being revised 5-10 times before I do anything with it.

But, like you, I am a mom. Some days, I find time before my 10-month-old wakes up in the morning -- usually only about a half-hour to an hour window -- and at night -- I write in my notebook or on my laptop in bed.

I also bring my notebook with me to the office where I work two days a week and try to fit in at least 15-30 min. during my lunch break.

Lisa Garrigues, author of "Writing Motherhood," enourages mom-writers to take their notebooks everywhere. So, I have written in the car (not while driving, though, in case you were wondering).

Great post!

Elizabeth King Humphrey said...

Funny, I bring my notebook everywhere, write brief notes about ideas for posts and then promptly forget what my note meant. (Definitely need to make a note to spend more time writing my notes!)


Anonymous said...

One of the things I love about working from home and writing in particular is that you can pick your hours. I often work for a half hour here and an hour there. You can also drag your notepad or laptop all over the house and write a few lines here and there while you're working on other things (watching the kids play, taking the dogs to the dog park, during commericals of your favorite show, etc.).

I can't imagine *not* having the flexibility of a writing life. :)

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