Thursday, September 15, 2016

When Do You Find Time to Write?

This is by far one of the most common questions I get as a writer. I heard it several times just this past weekend while signing books at the 44th Annual Little Falls Arts & Crafts Fair in my hometown.

It's estimated that our town of about 8,000 swells to over 120,000 for those two days. Erica came to visit me for the weekend and we sat outside the local Christian bookstore with another writing friend, Delores Topliff, meeting with readers and signing our books.

Some of the traffic was local citizens who know me and came by for a copy of my book, others were visitors who we engaged in conversation. A few of the people who passed recognized the books and either read them--or were in the process of reading them! One lady stopped and said she knows another Love Inspired author. When we asked who the lady was, she said Ruth Logan Herne. Her son is married to Ruthie's daughter! Small world.

As I talked with people, and shared a little about my life, I heard: "How do you find time to write?"

I am married and the mom of four children ages 12, 10, 6 and 6.

My husband and I own and operate a lawn care and landscaping business (to be fair, he does all the hard work, I just do the billing). We homeschool our children when they reach third grade, which means the girls are at home with me, and the boys are in a private Christian school in town. We live in the same community as both our parents and all but one of our siblings. We volunteer in our church and community, and spend many of our evenings taxing our children from one lesson/event to another. My husband coaches basketball and refs middle school games, and I'm always there to cheer him on. Our days and nights are full, and we love it that way.

So when do I find time to write?

The answer: any spare moment I can.

We wake up early and everyone gets dressed. We eat breakfast and my husband brings the boys to school. After dropping them off at school, he gets to work. Sometimes that means working from home--sometimes he's at a customer's job. The girls and I do a little housework (run the dishwasher, get the laundry underway, sweep the floors, make the beds, etc.). It takes us about a half an hour to do chores. After that, we sit down to school. Since it's only the two of them, I can usually get their instructional portion of the day done by lunchtime. They usually have independent study after lunch--but at that point, I'm free to get some writing done. I write for a couple hours, and then it's time to pick up the boys. Some days we have piano/violin lessons and afterschool sports, other days I run errands or do billing. There's chores to be done and time for the kids to play. Supper comes next, and after supper is cleaned up, we have sporting events, AWANA, and other things to fill our evenings. Then it's off to bed for the kids and I get a couple more hours to write before I go to bed.

On a good writing day, I can get in four hours of writing, which equals two scenes. If I can write two scenes a day, and my stories average about forty scenes, I can get the rough draft of a book done in about a month (taking a couple days off on the weekends). Some days I get more written, and some days less, but it averages out in the end.

That's how I find time to write. I don't watch much television, and I don't really have any other hobbies. There are things I enjoy to do, and shows I enjoy to watch, but I have to make sacrifices at this stage of my life to write and homeschool.

Our weekends are full of fun activities and time with friends and family--but on the weekdays, there's very little wiggle room in our schedule. It looks a little different each day (yesterday we took the morning off and visited a brand new baby in the hospital!), but then we make the necessary adjustments and get back on schedule the next day.

When we get off schedule for too long, things start to suffer (usually the laundry!!). :) I've found that my writing is yet another thing God is using to teach me discipline. If I want to be productive, then I need to be diligent in keeping my life disciplined.

Your Turn: Do you struggle with being disciplined? What tips can you offer to be productive? What does your daily schedule look like?

Gabrielle Meyer
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