Monday, August 6, 2012


Photo attribution-wikimedia

“I'm livin' in a world that won't stop pullin' on me
I'm not complaining but it's true

It's like I owe my time to everyone else
'Cause that's all I seem to do…” 
Keith Urban, WHAT ABOUT ME?

There are times that no matter what you do there just aren’t enough minutes in the day to get everything done. There are things you must do, a list of things that should be done (but aren’t set in stone), and then there is that list of things you want to do. Guess which list gets balled up, more times than not, and tossed across the room?

I think juggling life is one hardest things a writer has to do.

I know it is for me.

Carving out time to write isn’t always easy. There is always something tugging on me and demanding my time. Then there are the characters in my head doing the same. I’ve tried to set aside small sections of time to write and overall I’ve managed to add small chunks of words to my manuscript. The hard thing is having a workable amount of energy remaining when I’m finished with my MUST DO list. I don’t have the luxury of burning the candle at both ends if I want to remain healthy and that’s a juggling act in itself.

The past few weeks my early mornings, the time I do my best writing, has be stolen by college stuff for the kid—people to meet with or contact and a cazillion forms. I hate forms! Then there is the reviving of my online presence after being ill, books to read and reviews to write, correspondence to handle and promotion.

If I have outside appointments, as I have recently, by the time I get home from those appointments, I’m usually wiped out—remember, I live in the middle of nowhere. Other than the local grocery or feed store everything else is at least thirty-five to fifty miles away. So you’re looking at travel time, which is a minimum of an hour, but most of the time, it’s more like two hours. The cost of gas being what it is I tend to maximize my errands. That usually takes up the whole morning and when I get home my brain is already mush and all I want is peace and quiet, no people, something to eat, and somewhere to slither for a short nap. Then it’s onto the list of things that have to be done here on the ranch and then dinner and socializing with the family. I’m fortunate in that I can write nonfiction in the evening but even there, if I’m up too late, which seems to be the pattern recently, it cuts into that early morning creative writing time. A bit of a vicious circle at times.

I’ve been thinking about that. My conclusion is I need to get better organized and a better schedule. I have a window of time that I do my best creative writing. I’ve determined that I need to apply some tough discipline and set that as the focus first. Let the dog out, grab my coffee, open my word document, and spend that hour or two in the morning and write. The housework will still be there when I’m done, ditto with correspondence, Internet, reading blogs, and appointments. I need to be firm with those things.

The later part of last week I implemented part of that. This week will be the kicker. Nose to the grindstone and do it. At least I feel better knowing what I have to do. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • So, how is your writing going?
  • How do you juggle life to accommodate your writing, job, and family?

What About Me-on Youtube
Keith Urban 


Jo said...

I was thinking, as I read this, that you should wear a head mike and a dictaphone of some kind so you can dictate your ideas as you feed the horses, or dust the furniture.

Kat Sheridan said...

I don't know how you do it all, and good for you for making your dream a priority! I am my own worst enemy. I have tons of time and few demands, but my muse has ADHD and keeps wandering off. I'm a night writer, but I just can't make myself sit down and do it. Le sigh.

Karen Walker said...

I'm struggling with some very similar issues, Sia. I wrote about letting go of to-do lists yesterday. I need to get back to my writing somehow. This week hopefully, that will happen.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That commute sounds awful.
I just set aside a couple hours a night and wrote no matter what, even if it was for less than an hour.

KarenG said...

The juggling act is tough! And writing is tough, and solitary, so it's often the first to go, at least with me it is. When I can't put it off any longer I set the timer for 30 minutes and say "I'll write just that long then quit." What happens of course is after a few days of that, I'm writing longer and longer until the timer is no longer necessary.

Johanna Garth said...

I think the key to it is creating a habit and sticking to it. I think someone once told me it takes three weeks to create a habit. Good luck!!

DL Hammons said...

I'm starting to feel that time crunch now, myself. Between WRiTE CLUB and being 1/2 through with my current WIP, I'm getting a bit stressed. I'm managing though. :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Jo, I used to do that. I haven't thought about it recently. I can just see transcribing away and come to Dammit Doc, would you stand still. Or Magic, you come over that fence and I swear I'll neuter you!

Actually I tend to be in my thoughts and and mentally writing. When I get inside I write it down the notes.

~Sia McKye~ said...

There are times mind has ADHD, too, Kat. But I do look for ways to make her sit still and work, even if it's short term. :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Karen, I need the list so I don't forget something. If I don't write it down it's lost sometimes but making time to get to the writing I want to do is important.

Hope you get back on track, soon!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Alex, it is awful. I live for many years in a centrally located area so dashing out wasn't as onerous or time consuming.
Setting aside time and then sticking with it, even a short time is good. I do seem to have that part mostly down again. I've been steadily adding chunks of words.

Karen, that's a great idea and believe it or not, I have been utilizing that practice lately. It partly assuages the guilty feeling of I should be doing x y and z and turns it around to, "surely, I can take 30 minutes and do some writing. I'm amazed how quickly that piece of time goes by. So far that has been very effective.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Johanna, Sounds about right. I think that's the secret. Getting the habit down daily. Of course, things will get in the way, but if it's a habit then it will gnaw on you because you didn't do it.

DON, I hear you. It's hard to juggle and I'm the first to admit it. You do have a hefty time drain with Write Club. Which reminds me, I need to get over there and read the entries. I've neglected you, and the hard working writers.

I'm also involved with some promotion work for a new book coming out next year and some other rep work--which I get paid for. Surprisingly, when I'm also working for money I tend to get my act together and I'm more productive. Would seem like the opposite would happen, wouldn't it?

Ciara said...

I'm trying to reorganize my schedule, too. Kids go back to school in six days, and instead of cleaning and such, I've told husband I'm doing all that when the kids get home from school. We'll manage.