Chasing Inspiration

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Typical Day

Someone asked me what a typical writing day for me is like. My short answer, anything but typical.

I wish I had a schedule where I could have set times to write. Sadly, I need to hold down a day job. I'm out of the house by 6:30am and at the office sometime around 7am. Since I'm not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination (just ask the boy), I don't do any writing in the morning. I try to carve out my lunch hour for writing or online research, but invariably I get caught up in work meetings or the necessary networking required to build those interpersonal connections that allow you to really leverage your resources. You see, at work I'm a project manager/business analyst. This means I need to be in the "know" and to have contacts throughout the organization. Lunches are the main way I keep up.

So, on those days when I don't get a lunch break (which are most days), I end up not getting a lot of writing time in during the day. I make up for it by carrying a notebook with me that I write in scene snippets or ideas as I wait for meetings, stand in line at the coffee shop, or generally have a spare moment. Once a week I go through this notebook and harvest those ideas that stick.

After work I have several responsibilities. I am a wife and I need to take care of those things that make marriage run smoother. Things like preparing dinner, taking care of the household finances, cleaning, and being there for my husband. The boy is in school earning yet another degree. This one is in mechanical engineering. He works full time while he's going to school and we are renovating/gutting our house. So, he does most of the grunt work and I do the traditional wifely things. Eventually we'll get back to a more egalitarian division of responsibilities, but in the mean time, there's a lot for me to do.

Some nights I also have appointments with couples I coach. I'm a life/relationship/creativity coach in my copious spare time. *snort* I love it! It's what my degree in counseling psychology was for. However, I don't make enough money doing this to ditch the day job. Some day, though. Some day.

I am also very involved in our church, which means that there are nights or weekends when I'm spending time presenting a training, planning for children's education, or organizing work days. As you can see, when the work day is done, I have many other things that demand my time. If it wasn't for my palm pilot and keyboard or my notebook, I would never get any writing in!

So when do I write? Well, I write when I have moments of spare time. I write on the weekends, a lot. I get up at the same time I usually do during the week and I write in the mornings. I set up the laptop at night and write while the hubby and I sit on the couch and watch reruns. I write on Friday afternoons when I'm finished running errands. I have cut down on my reading time so I can write before bed. I have learned to write anywhere. Literally. I have written on the bus, in the car, during weddings, in meetings, waiting in line at the grocery store, in quiet corners at boring parties, in the emergency room. Anywhere.

I have also learned that I cannot wait for the muse to strike or the time to be right. There will always be something that will try to get in the way of my writing. An emergency will come up when I have a block of time set aside for the story. I will over book myself because I can't say no. The hubby will need my assistance to hang drywall. So I've learned to look for opportunities, keep my writing tools with me at all times, and to write fast.

That's a key I've picked up from two prolific authors - MaryJanice Davidson and Susan Mallery. Both have said that they write 120+ words per minute which allows them to write a lot in a short period of time. If I'm going to maximize the time, I need to write fast. I can go back and fix things later, but the ideas flying around in my head need to get on the page before I lose them.

That's my typical day - cramming writing in whenever I have a chance as I juggle all the other hats I wear. I dream of the day I have hours every day to write. That's the goal. But for today, I practice being nimble.


  1. Just thought I'd let you know, your church link has extra 'stuff' in it. It doesn't work to just click it

    btw - luv ya! Keep finding those spare moments. Can't wait to see you published :-D

  2. Well shoot! I do much better when I can use html to do links. *sigh*. I fixed it so you can visit the site now. :)

    As for the spare moments, I find them. Not fast enough or long enough in recent days, but I find them. And I'll let you know when I get that book deal. *grin*

  3. Okay, I am still trying to wrap my mind around the notion of writing 120+ words a minute...My daily goal is 500 words a day, either on one of my WIPs or split between the two. Usually I get in more than that, but it's the measurable goal I set for myself that I am able to stick with. It's nice to see someone else who juggles multiple jobs and writing. I juggle teaching general psych at the community college level, supervising a survey research center for a division of Mississippi State University, and substitute teaching in the local school district while MY hubby also works full time and prepares to go back to school (this fall we hope). I recently came to that same realization that you can't wait for the muse to strike--hence the 500 words a day goal. Keep fighting the fight! I'm enjoying your blog!