Stealing Time to Write

Sunday, June 04, 2017
I had dinner with a teacher-writer friend the other night. She's thinking (seriously) about making a major shift and getting out of teaching. A marriage is in her future, along with children, and since she's thirty-something, she's trying to get her life a bit less stressful.

Teacher-traitor that I am, I told her she was crazy to pass up a sure-thing job that involves less days per week and no work to fill up her evenings and weekends. I might be encouraging a mutiny from the educational field, but I'm also honest.

I've been caught red-handed. I'm guilty. I steal time to write...

Teaching is the most exhausting job I know. Every day I hit the threshold at home and my bra's comin' off. (Once, while driving home after a particularly rough day, I even contemplated taking my bra off while I was still driving home. Thankfully, the idea of getting pulled over for speeding and having Flopsy and Mopsy dragging along on the ground made me rethink it.)

While we sat in our booth and nibbled and chatted, she asked, "How do you have time to write? How do you have time to do lesson plans and grade papers and hang out with your family and also write?"

I told her. "I get up early. I stay up late. I write in dribs and drabs." Driving home after we said good-bye, I continued to think about it. When do I steal time to write?

  • I binge-watch TV shows. Sons of Anarchy. Breaking Bad. Game of Thrones. Better Call Saul. Sherlock. This is Us. Usually at 5 in the morning or 10 at night, I'm watching an episode and if I've already seen it (years ago) I'll write while I'm half-watching and half-listening.
  • My lunch. At school I usually get a half-hour to eat... sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. Most of the time, I eat at my computer desk and write. For some reason, the briefness of the time frame makes my words come faster... but that just might be my delusional thinking.
  • Meetings and workshops. Sometimes I write think about writing write during a less than riveting meeting or workshop session. (I usually think and rethink the decision to do this but sometimes, it's the only way I can stay awake.) Fortunately, my handwriting is only legible to me, so if my boss or a presenter walks by and sees me scribbling something, they can't tell it's totally personal writing. They have no idea it's not work related.  
  • Waiting rooms. Doctors and dentists hardly ever see you at the exact appointed time. I'm on time... but often, they're not. I usually have a composition book/journal with me, so while I'm waiting, I write.
People say we make time for what's important to us. Most of the time, I make time for writing. I squeeze it in here and there. Do I make the most of my time? Do I squeeze in as much writing as I can?

No, of course not. But perhaps you can help me commit a crime. Would you help me steal more time to write?

How do you steal more time to write? What tricks do you have to squeeze more writing time into your day? Slogging minds want to know...

Sioux Roslawski is a middle-school teacher, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a dog rescuer, and just recently, a mother-of-the-groom and a traveler to Turkey. In her spare time, she writes. If you'd like to read more of her meanderings, go to her post.


Val said...

Kudos to you for you thievery! Now that I have ALL DAY to write, I do precious little of it. I was more motivated when I had to steal time to do it.

Val said...

Of course I meant "YOUR" thievery. I'm slacking in the proofreading department as well.

Margo Dill said...

It's good to see this list of yours and how you make your life work for you. You are right--if there's a will, there is a way. I also enjoy having short amounts of time to write--it sounds crazy, but I want to get done so I'm not thinking as hard during the draft stage then. Sometimes, terrible dribble comes out but it's better than nothing at this stage. :)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Val--I've heard that from several retirees. They say they got more accomplished when they had to squeeze time out of their busy work days...

Margo--You get a great deal done. How do I know this? You have a day job, you edit on the side and you write books that get published. Obviously your "dribbling" gets polished to a high sheen... ;)

Angela Mackintosh said...

Sioux ~ You write while you binge-watch TV shows? You are amazing. I have to focus on one thing or else nothing gets done. You are amazing!

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