Finding the Time to Write

Good morning, Mysteristas readers! It’s 4:16 AM on a comfortable Southwest Florida Tuesday and I’m just now able to sit and write my blog. The one I’ll be posting and hopefully, you’ll be reading today.coffee

As a writer, the most important tool in the toolbox is not pen, paper, computer, or even the dictionary. The most important tool—coffee. Some writers may scoff at that, but dig deep enough and you’ll find they don’t perk the words without tea or chocolate. In fact, one of our standard interview questions here at Mysteristas is to ask what kind a chocolate a writer’s book would be. Not that we’re obsessed.cake-pops-693645__340

Why is this blog so late in the writing? Life. Unless you have the luxury to be a full-time writer you fit your writing day around your day job day. Then there’s family, friends, chores, emergencies, interruptions. It’s easy to get distracted, and sometimes, there is no alternative. Is there a solution? Yes. Maybe. Yes. A lot depends on how you see your writing. For me, it’s a second full-time job. For others, a hobby. Either way, finding the time is hard no matter your best intentions. Here, let me show you.

Monday to Friday my alarm sounds at 2:45 AM. That starts my writing day. I wish I could say I spring from bed filled with ideas, but I’d be lying. I do spend five minutes contemplating the ceiling and planning my morning so I have focus. And sometimes I fall back to sleep until my day job alarm goes off. Hate those days. When that happens, I plan to make it up on the weekend. Hah! Tempt fate why don’t you.

When I do spring out of bed, I boot up the computer, get that first vital cup of coffee, check in on Facebook, mediate, and then start writing. Depending on where I am and what I’m working on, it’s 1,000 words or some plot outline before the day job alarm goes off. I promise myself, I’ll be back at my desk after dinner. Rarely happens. Weekends are devoted to marketing, detailed editing, catching up with friends on e-mail, and spending the lion share of time with family and local friends. Ah, the ideal day/week.

Now for the reality check. Real life does not like plans. In fact, it laughs at them. Last Sunday my computer decided to go on the fritz. My tech skills are limited—log off/log on. When the computer did not miraculously reboot in usable form, I left the heavy computer lifting to hubs and resigned myself to no morning writing time. Mixed emotions, but was nice to sleep in guilt free!

TEagle Eyeshe computer was fixed by Saturday morning. Just in time for an emergency with one of our birds. The nearest avian vet with Saturday hours – a two-hour drive away. By the time we got home, creativity was gone and I needed a nap. The rest of the weekend followed suit, and Super Bowl Sunday meant I didn’t even set the writing alarm Monday morning. Last night after the day job ended, it was travel two hours to pick up the bird so—here I am at 5 AM finishing today’s blog!

Is there a secret to finding the time to write? No. Yes. Maybe. It’s all about scheduling, and then hoping for the best, but being flexible to deal with the worst. Come to think of it, the same is true of the day job. You show up every day, but somedays, life gets in the way. Writers will write, it’s what we do.

Writers, how do you find the time to write and handle life emergencies and interruptions?

Readers, doesn’t this sound familiar, writers do not have a corner on this market!

Chocolate and coffee pictures courtesy of Pixabay

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Author: kaitcarson

I write mysteries set in South Florida. The Hayden Kent series is set in the Florida Keys. Hayden is a SCUBA diving paralegal who keeps finding bodies. Underwater, no one can hear you scream! Catherine Swope is a Miami Realtor with a penchant for finding bodies in the darndest places. I live in an airpark in Fort Denaud, FL with my husband, five cats, and a flock of conures. And oh yes, a Piper Cherokee 6 in the hangar!

30 thoughts on “Finding the Time to Write”

  1. Coffee is the only thing that gets me to my keyboard. The kids are school is what provides me with the quiet to draft. School + coffee = words on the page.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hey there, Kait. I haven’t gotten up at whatever-dark-a.m. since pulling hole watch in Vietnam. I’m spoiled (retired), and can pretty much write whenever I want to. However, I’m easily “sidelined.” Lately “life” has been a bit hectic and my writing has tanked. Still waiting for the muse to kick me in the backside and force me to the desk. I have a half-written mystery awaiting me (should’ve been published last summer), plus a collection of short stories to polish and add to. Yes. No. Maybe. Whenever. 🙂
    –Mike

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Love this post, Kait. Instead of one large chunk of writing time, I’ve been stringing 15 min intervals together throughout the day. Luckily, the imagination works other places beside the keyboard 😀

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I try to keep my laptop and/or paper and pen handy. Then when the babe is napping, or entertained for a few minutes, I can dive right in. I haven’t written this way in the past, though, so we will see if my manuscript eventually reflects my scattered writing process, hahaha… (PS, I’m also glad your bird is okay!)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Holy cow, Kait: 2:45 AM! I thought I was dedicated to get up at 4:30 AM. But that only gets me 45-60 minutes of writing after I feed the dog, do a little yoga and drop in our blog. On weekends, I binge-write. I can’t get up any earlier than that; I’m already incoherent by 7 PM which is just enough time to get dinner on and cleared. Three words: Death Wish coffee. https://www.deathwishcoffee.com/

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yum. As soon as I get to a real computer, I’m ordering. I’m with you on nodding off at 7. 45-60 minutes of writing time is heavenly when it comes without interruptions! That’s my rationale for the early mornings.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, isn’t it the truth. “Life doesn’t like plans.” I’m pretty good about protecting my lunch hour writing time. I am getting better about afternoons and weekends.

    Which is good because there is no way on God’s green earth I could get up at 2:45 in the morning!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I am so impressed by the dedication shown here! I am sadly without a day job at the moment and you’d think that would free up hours to write. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Considering I wrote my last two books while I had a day job, structure seems to help me. But I do the “at least fifteen minutes a day” rule. It sounds small, but it works on those days when life seems to get in the way. I can always find fifteen minutes. And those fifteen usually morph into time I didn’t even know I had. The other days, I plow away and try not to track hours – just progress.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tracking progress not hours. That sounds like a fabulous formula! As for the day job providing structure. That’s probably more true than we realize. After all, it’s the irritant that creates the pearl in the oyster.

      Like

  7. Wow, Kait. I’m so jealous of those people who can do the 15-minute bursts or write when they travel. I need my computer, my desk, and quiet to write. I’m lucky enough to be a “full-time writer,” whatever that means. Yes, it frees up some time, but I still only write four days a week for about 3 or 4 hours each. My website blog posts are the first to get jettisoned when I run out of time.

    I’m glad your bird is ok!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. 2:45 a.m.! No wonder you’re comatose by 7 p.m.!

    There’s an emotional element to writing/not writing as well. When my routine is derailed and my family is stressed, writing is difficult and stilted. My attention is elsewhere. And then, when I want to get back to my story, Anxiety crawls into my head and tells me I can’t write anymore so why bother. Even *knowing* what’s going on doesn’t always help.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. That is dedication Kait … mostly my blog is about walking, and I work from home, but have somewhat structured hours. During the workweek, I come home from an interesting walk, a blog post bubbling around in my head, trying valiantly to remember everything until I can at least get home to write a few things down as it will be hours before I get back to write the post. I don’t write a post every day and I have a Word document on my computer with bits and pieces of interesting stories to revisit – probably when I am retired!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a great premise for a blog! As a runner, I know exactly what you mean. There are so many things in nature that trigger wonderful thoughts and topics, then when you get home, all those things you spotted (and if you’re like me repeated over and over until the next inspiration hit) are faint wisps.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That happens all the time to me Kait. If I get time, I jot down notes on a piece of paper while I’m grabbing a snack when I get home. I find myself trying to remember things on the way home by remembering the first letter of each word … not always easy.

        Like

      1. I think they have improved Dragon through the years and it has come down in price as well. The earlier versions were problematic if your speaking voice was altered by a cold or cough. At least the beauty of a battery-operated dictaphone keeps you from booting up the computer. My boss was doing some interviews for one of our matters, and ran out of tapes – he was taping interviews for me to transcribe verbatim. He bought an Olympus Voice Recorder which looks like a portable dictaphone and used it for the interviews, then dropped it off at the house for me to transcribe. “Here” he says … “they didn’t have more tapes at Staples after I ran out and so I got this.” He was able to get many interviews recorded and I opened up a little plug (like you have covering the hole on a cellphone) and inserted it into the USB plug on the computer and transferred the audio files onto my computer that way.

        I’ve been a legal secretary since 1980; then our bosses would use an IBM dictaphone with “belts” on them and they’d hand you a flat belt to put into your transcriber. The world moves too fast sometimes for this ol’ gal.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. 2:45 AM?! Do you get ANY sleep?

    I admire that dedication, and am still trying to find a routine that fits for me. Luckily (or not, depending on your perspective), I only work part-time and am still unpublished, so I have a little more leeway with my schedule.

    Like

  11. I love your writing alarm and day job alarm! When my kids were little, I often gave them a notebook and made them take notes for me while driving to karate classes. When time is so limited, it’s amazing how much you sprint to find ways to get things done.

    Like

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