When Do You Write?

It’s the constant struggle that I feel I’m always fighting. I’m tired of fighting and I would much rather surf the tides than get overwhelmed by them.
I’m a homeschool mom with a small job from home (a few hours per week). I ache to write every day … I know some writers who just fit it into every spare minute they have (that doesn’t work for me) and some who have a consistent time each day/week they write (I would LOVE this but I’m struggling to carve that out).
Rather than fighting, I would much rather find a flow that fits. What is your “flow”? When do you write, and how do you protect that time?

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Me I found the time in the morning.

My husband gets up at 4am to get parking and go to work at 6am. He goes to bed at 8pm. I follow his schedule. I wake up make his lunch and I’d go back to bed. I now stay up and that is my me time. I take a shower, get ready for work, and then I sit down at my computer and I write. Or plan. But the goal is to write. Or work on some writing avenue. Then at 6am I get my kids their meds, and I do some more writing/planning until about 7am when I start working (working from yay!) I’ve been doing this for about 5 years now. The working from home is new though I used to have to leave at some point.

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When I write it’s in the evening. The daily chores are done, I’ve read my emails and visited my news web sites. No more excuses now. Time to write. But I’ll wind it up around 11PM.

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I definitely feel you. I’m in a similar boat. Was an EMS provider and I dropped to PT when our childcare moved away, wife made more money. I’m homeschooling the kids now. Was crazy hard to find time to write.

Much like AJ, I do my writing in the morning. In fact, my alarm just now went off at 4am. That was a wild transition for me, I’ve always been a night owl, but my wife works at 4am so I hopped on her schedule. Spent a few weeks taking a sleep aid super early so I’d sleep. The first morning was brutal as far as rolling out of bed, but I was very productive. Then the next morning was a bit easier because I was excited and I was productive again.

It’s worked very well. I’m usually in my office with coffee at 4:30 - 4:45 and by 6am I’ve often got 1000-1500 words. I doubt very much I’ll maintain that word count, it seems like a lot, but who am I to look a gift horse.

As far as end time, my girls stay in bed until 6:30, and I flip on the hallway light as their signal that it’s alright to get up, otherwise they were getting up randomly between 5-7, crazy kids.

For me it was about carving time wherever I could find it. I was a night owl and I could try and write when the kids went to bed but I found I wasn’t very productive at night.

In any case, I wish ya the best in finding what works for you, Natalie

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@AJ_Hunter That’s brilliant to be on the same schedule like that! My husband stays up late and gets up early 🤷 so I’m struggling there … Our “routine” is to watch our favorite show together after the kids go to bed, as part of our time spent together. But it really prevents early rising because of the late hours …

However, when I used to freelance write, I had a routine of early bedtime, and I was up at 4:30 am to work. It WORKED! And it was amazing because I felt refreshed and energized by the time my kids woke up.

I guess I need to NOT feel guilty for skipping out on night tv with my husband, and come up with a different way to spend some time with him. He’s always supported my writing, so he would be good with a change in routine … It might even encourage him to go to bed early and get more sleep!!

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It might. My nights are done much the same way. I watch TV with him but I do bring my laptop down and sometimes try to write words. Not very productive though. And I do like the shows we watch together. My husband says I taught him how to sleep. I love my sleep so getting 8 is a high priority for me. No idea how I managed to have two kids and function on broken sleep for those first few years. Thankfully I was a stay at home mom during those years too but I got no writing done with kids… was focusing what time I could on writing code then… how life might be different lol.

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@BQ_Green I love this comment so much and I can relate to every bit of it … I replied to @AJ_Hunter about how I used to go to bed early and get up at 4:30 am when I was freelance writing and it worked. One battle was that my oldest son suddenly started getting up at 5 or 5:30!! He was so little then. He’s 10 now. I love the hallway light idea … My boys would be good with that!
The only thing is that it doesn’t sync with my husband’s schedule, but that’s ok … He’d be good with that too.
It worked before … It can work again. I think I’ll give early mornings a try again!

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See, mine are 10 and 7 so they’re still little-ish. :laughing: We homeschool, so I also stay at home. And I’m with you about needing sleep … I envy those that can go on just 5 or 6 hours. I need 7-8.
I so appreciate your comment … This helps and encourages me so much!

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We can all find our rythym. I don’t function well after 5 so quickly learned I’d better do it first thing in the morning. Most of my coworkers work into the wee hours of the morning. I can’t do that. I’d rather go to be and get up early to do the work thing

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Solid, worth trying it out at least. There is definitely something about having an accomplishment under your belt by the time the kids are up, really sets a good tone for the day.

My kiddos are 5 and 3, the light works well enough. A rebellious phase here and there, but things work for the most part.

It’s just a matter of finding what works. Time with my wife is scant sometimes, and there are definitely days where I’ll make a conscious decision to stay up a bit later and sacrifice sleep or just get up with her and play Fortnite or something and skip writing. Momentum is important with my writing, but I’ve found those days where I don’t get much done to be pretty motivating. I really tackle it hard the next day to make up for it.

For you, perhaps limiting to one episode at night and a little writing in the morning so you get a little of both, or picking a “day off” to spend time with him. Whatever works :slight_smile:

I’m similar @AJ_Hunter with the decline in productivity in the evenings. That’s when I used to write and my wife would watch the kids, back when we were both working fulltime. I was noticing it was almost like procrastinating. A lot of days where I’d put off getting into the office and then I’m tired and nothing is getting done. I’m WAY more productive in the morning!

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I wonder sometimes whether we actually trip ourselves up by trying to have a routine, and then beat ourselves up when we don’t/can’t stick to it?

Writing whilst holding down another job, having children/parents to care for, etc often makes a having regular slot near impossible to commit to. Perhaps considering a different approach might make it easier to find writing windows in your day e.g. agreeing with yourself that this week ‘I want to plot XYZ’, or ‘write the argument section in Chapter 4’, or ‘edit the final scene’, etc. might make smaller pockets of time during the day more doable and effective?

When my five were tiny, I would write when I found quiet moment when they were playing and I was just there to ensure they were safe; it might only be 10 minutes but it helped me feel productive until a longer writing space appeared.

I hope you find the right way for you Natalie x

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I definitely think both ways work. For me personally, if I try to write in these small pieces of time like you’re talking about, I end up not doing it at all. In order to make any progress, I need to immerse myself in the story. I wish I could just write with chaos happening around me, but I just can’t.
At the same time, just like you’re saying, if I have a routine and have a day or two where I miss, I do beat myself up about it.
I think there should be a balance. I feel like having a routine creates a positive writing discipline, but writing when you can during small patches of time during the day trains you to have flexibility.
When I have a routine, I have a certain time of day that I can depend on, a specific time to look forward to, when I know I can forget everything and immerse myself in the story. With that kind of immersion on a regular basis, it then allows me enough clarity and familiarity with the story to write in those small 10-minute increments.
It’s all a balancing act, really.

I write whenever I feel like it or whenever I have time. I often have to stop during school to jot down a sudden idea, or thought. A lot of my writing is done after I’m in bed, and that’s my favorite time to reflect on things, come up with ideas and brainstorm. I find I write better when I’m completely comfortable–especially if I have tea or coffee. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Neil Gaimon talks about his notebook that he carries with him all the time for. He refers to it as a compost pile. Put a bunch of random stuff in it and then go back later, maybe much later, and see if any of the notes have turned into something rich for a story. This has been a helpful concept for me.

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This is one of the reasons I like Dabble …
I always have my phone on me, so can laways make a quick note, idea, dialogue etc into a project …
So … I write anywhere, anytime, as much as I can …

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