Tuesday, August 16, 2011

With Everything Else you Have to Do, Finding Time to Write

I do not have a job outside the home. Yes, I'm retired, but even when I was working more than full time, I was at home. How could that be? you ask. Hubby and I owned and lived in a facility for 6 women with developmental disabilities. I say facility, because it was licensed by the state and we had regular visits from the placement agency and the state licensing people. It was a home. My family visited, at times we also had grandchildren living with us, we did all the things any big family does and the ladies we shared our home enjoyed being a part of everything.

My job consisted of doing all the laundry, cooking breakfast and dinner, preparing lunches, a lot of paperwork, teaching the women independent living skills and taking them fun places on the weekend and for vacations, grocery shopping, taking the gals shopping, and of course, the inevitable doctor appointments. (I hired someone to do the housework.)

Believe it or not, I got far more writing done then than I do now. Looking back, I'm not sure how I did it, but this is how it usually went. Up at 4:45, showered and dressed, hubby started breakfast while I got everyone up and ready to go. We ate. By 6:15 one of us was out at the end of the lane with the gals waiting for their day program/work bus to show up. I got the laundry started too because I washed at least 4 loads of laundry a day.

When my mom and dad lived in the little house next door, mom and I would then go for a walk and we usually did 3 miles. Took us about an hour. When we got back, I moved the laundry along, and then went into my office and began writing. I was interrupted a lot. Phone calls, taking care of the laundry, etc., but I kept writing. Time out for lunch, maybe folded clothes, did some dinner prep, might get another hour of writing in. (Those were the days I didn't have to go to a meeting or take someone to the doc or elsewhere, or do my grocery shopping. One day a week was dedicated to that.)

By three, the ladies were home and I was there to greet them, hand out medications, hear about how their day went, have a snack, got them situated with whatever they needed to do, usually they separated and folded the clothes I'd washed for them and put everything away. They all had chores and fun things they liked to do.

Some helped me with getting dinner going, setting the table etc. We all had dinner together and often we had other company too like my grandson's friends. I did a lot of cooking in those days.

After dinner, it was time for baths, some had to be supervised, and of course they had a set schedule for watching TV--not my schedule, theirs. A lot of interaction went on during this time--and hubby and I joined in. When things settled down I often did paperwork required by the state and sometimes I did some editing of my own.

By nine, we were all ready for bed.

Weekends were totally devoted to the ladies--we went bowling, shopping, out to eat, to the movies, and whatever exciting was going on in town, and church on Sunday and a big meal afterwards. (Yep, cooking again.) I didn't do any writing on the weekends.

Now, I don't have to take care of anyone, but hubby. I still cook a lot, but not nearly as much though we almost always have our son, his wife, my granddaughter and her hubby at our dinner table. (They all live next door.) My laundry has dwindled to a couple of times a week. My daughter-in-law does my cleaning. And I still have trouble finding enough time to write.

But--I almost always sit down for at least a couple of hours to write. I think the big difference is when I was doing all that dedicated writing was before all the social networking and online promotion that takes so much time. (And writing blogs like this one.) Promo was limited to sending out announcements when I had a new book out and a few bookstore signings and a library talk now and then.

What about you? How do you schedule your writing time? What interferes with it?



essays said...

Written simply and tastefully. It’s pleasant to read. Thank u.

Linda Leszczuk said...

My pre-retirement life was very different than yours - I was up and off to the office every morning and writing was squeezed in on evenings and weekends. But I do seem to be having the same problem finding my writing time now. Some of it is outside distractions (retired grandmothers are fair game for "can you help...") but much of it is doing what I'm doing right now. As my online social network grows, so does the time it takes to maintain it. And since this and my writing take place on the computer, it's harder to separate them and give each their due.

If you find a good solution, please share.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Ha, ha, have yet to find a solution, Linda, but I keep plugging away.


Morgan Mandel said...

I often get distracted by emails and other goodies before I finally get over to my work in progress. Once I get into it, I'm very much into it and don't like being pulled out of it. I don't have a set schedule. I get too many interruptions from the dog and the husband.

Morgan Mandel

Anne K. Albert said...

Social media is both a curse and a blessing for an author. I spend mornings sorting through what needs my attention online. Afternoons are for writing. Still, there are days I never work on my WIP...that explains why I'm behind on deadline!

Anne K. Albert

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Thanks for all your comments. Sounds like we're all more or less in the same boat.


Paul Smith said...

I think we here all are in the same boat; I like the way you work as a writer. Keep in mind that best editing services - edit-ing.services are never behind on deadlines!