Friday, September 24, 2010

How do I...?

Time for another installment of "How do I...?" for fellow writers.

My question today deals with stress, exhaustion, and that enemy of us all - TIME!

I find myself with no time to write these days...and I don't mean that I'm procrastinating - I mean I have less than 3 minutes of non-active time between when I get up between 5:30-6 am and when I collapse into bed around 11. I have 3 kids, 1 in school, 1 in preschool, and 1 in diapers, and a part-time job where I work evenings while on mat leave. To make matters more complicated, our house is on the market, so it has to be pristine every single day, and my husband is probably busier than I am.

These, among other less-important-but-still-time-intensive commitments has left me feeling drained and exhausted, and verging on depressed. This isn't unusual for me since all my life I've been a bit of an overachiever and have a tendency to stretch myself just a touch too far.

This is the first time, though, that I've been stretched so far that I hve no time to write, and even if I had the time, I'm too worn out to write complete sentences, much less create believable dialogue and plot. This means that not only am I stressed to the max and unreasonably busy, I can't do the one thing that helps me cope with the stress and busyness.



  1. I should note that while I wrote this blog entry, I had my baby napping on me to keep her upright as she has a cold, and that I got up at 4am to start the housework... but perpetual insomnia isn't really a viable long-term choice.

  2. The frivolous response is, I married a woman to do all you do, so I can write! The truth is less easy.
    I get up with the rest of the family to eat breakfast, take kids to school, all the rest. I walk the dogs for a good hour or so. So my working day never begins before about 11.00 am. Then I work an hour, take a half hour for lunch, and work till 3.30 when the kids come home. I try to work for another hour through all the noise and shouting, before supper, and generally manage to get back to my desk at 8-9pm when both kids are in bed. And then I work through to 12, 1 or 2 in the morning. It's the only way to find time. But, I will write a thousand words in every hour. I usually find I can work for one hour solid, and that allows me a thousand words and a ten minute break for essential reasons.
    I am a terrible, sloppy writer. I write fast, action scenes, and have to go over it all plenty later.
    It works for me, Heather, but all you can do is desperately try to find any spare time for a writing routine you can. Not easy . . .

  3. I should definitely have thought ahead and married an independently wealthy man, complete with lovely furnished estate and team of servants!!

    I am doing just that, finding spare moments and sometimes letting my kids watch just a few extra minutes of TV in order to maintain my sanity/writing. I just wish there were a way to make it more routine, but until they're all in school (5 years from now!!) I'm stuck writing little snippets in my notebook that I'll use later!

    Thanks for the comment, it's good to know that people do make it work!!

  4. Repeat this to yourself over and over, "To everything there is a season. This too shall pass..." You won't always be this busy. It will pass and you'll get your sanity back.