After almost 18 years together, my wife has come to accept that when she asks me how much longer I plan to write before lunch and I say, “15-20 minutes,” that what I really mean is, “Maybe 40-45 minutes.”
Spending time with family is important, but so is having time to write.
Throw in a day job, and it’s easy to feel like there’s no time for anything.
Here are five tips to help you find time for family when writing and the day job feel like they’re taking over.
My wife knows that I write between breakfast and lunch each day, and she gives me time. After lunch and after dinner are flexible times–we may run errands after lunch, or go out after dinner. Depending on what we do, she knows I will write during one of those times.
When I’m working a day job, she knows I write before she’s even awake, on lunch, and sometimes in the evening.
She gives me my time, so it’s important that the times I’m not writing are devoted to spending time with her.
Make a schedule and stick to it. If you have a hard time finding time to write, consider these 10 tips.
Once family is aware of your schedule, the most important thing you can do is write when you’re supposed to be writing, and spending time with them when you’re not.
It’s easy to get distracted at home–there are bills to be paid, family wanting your time, errands to run, and things to be done around the house.
The solution to avoiding those distractions? Don’t write at home.
Write during lunch break and you can get 2.5 to 5 hours of writing in each week at work.
Stop at a library or quiet coffee shop for an hour after work, before going home.
Even if the best you can do is jotting down ideas in a notebook at work, every bit of writing you can do away from home gives you more time to take care of things around the house and having time to spend with loved ones.
I wander a lot when I write. I pace the apartment; I drink a lot of water, so yes–that means trips to the restroom. During all these little jaunts, I chat with my wife.
My wife keeps herself busy with things, but there are days when she wants to go out. I can usually sense that and will break my normal writing schedule for her.
Sometimes my wife comes right out and says that she’d like to go do something together.
Unless I have too much to do or I’m in the middle of writing that’s flowing, I’ll gladly hang out.
It’s very easy to get caught up in a story or an article–so caught up, that we sometimes don’t pick up on clues from family.
Don’t get so caught up in what you’re doing that you don’t communicate with family. If you break from your schedule, let loved ones know that you may hole up a bit longer than usual when you get home, or write a bit longer the next day.
Not only is communication vital to healthy relationships–it’s nice taking a break from writing, sometimes, and having somebody to talk to…even if you’re talking about things that need to be done around the house.
If you’re spending time writing instead of with your loved ones, you owe it to your family to actually write.
If they respect your writing time–WRITE!
Don’t surf the Web, post “I just wrote 37 words on the WIP,” on Twitter, play solitaire, or sit at your desk doing nothing.
WRITE! (See a pattern, here?)
If family respects your writing time and you’re not getting enough writing done, you have nobody to blame but yourself.
I’ve been guilty of looking at people from the old day job and thinking they were nuts because they spent more time working than with family.
Yet there are times my presence in the apartment must seem like a Bigfoot sighting for my wife as I wander out from my study all bushy-haired for a glass of water, and quickly retreat back to my lair.
It’s easy to get caught up in writing.
Some days, the best thing you can do is not write. And by that, I mean no late nights…nothing!
Have breakfast with your family and do something fun. Take your sweetie out for a nice dinner. Instead of pulling a late night writing, actually go to bed at the same time as your spouse.
As much as I love having all the time I want to write since being laid off, even more–I’ve loved having all the time in the world to hang out with my wife.
Write as much as you can, but never sacrifice time with family to do it.
There are much worse things in life than being loved.