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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Working in the middle of the storm.

Have you ever had a time in your life you’re so busy you don’t feel like you have time to work? I work from home, so this can easily happen to me, but I’m usually pretty good at keeping outside commitments to a minimum. Not true at the end of the school year. I have two children so I have times two the commitments.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m incredibly grateful to have two healthy children who do keep me busy, but these last few weeks are about to kill me! I’ve been trying to edit two books in two different genres and start planning the next book that needs to be written. This would be enough to juggle for most writers, but I’ve also had to go to track meets, baseball playoffs, soccer games, six end-of-the-year parties, and swimming lessons. That’s just where I’m expected to be for my kids. I have other commitments for my husband, but I think you get the point.

So how do I write when I’m so busy? It’s funny to me how often I get this question from friends, family and strangers. Here’s a few tricks I’ve picked up on the way.

Carpool line – I arrive 20 minutes early and whip out pen and paper.

Very early in the morning – Just like right now writing this blog!!!

Late at night – My husband super loves this one. Not!

In the basement during kid’s free time – If you don’t have a basement that locks I suggest you build one ASAP. In all seriousness, just find a quiet place during the day and give yourself one hour. I call that my children’s free time. They get one hour of mom approved fun that has to be done inside, so I don’t have to worry about what my youngest is doing outside. Now this is assuming I have that hour during the day, and lately that hour has been hard to find, so it’s been twenty minute snatches here and there.

Cut out things that you usually do and replace those things with writing. –

I haven’t made a huge grocery run in two weeks because I needed the extra writing time. However, this is ending today. My husband asked me last night if I was ever going to the grocery store again. Oh, how I wished I could have said no!

There are other things that can be cut back or minimized like time on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. I know for some of you that’s like asking a baby to give up milk, but you can do it!

You can also cut out television. Gasp! I only have one show I’m watching right now, so that’s been really easy for me, but I never watch much television anyway. Sometimes, I think I’m the only person on this planet that doesn't watch reality television.

How do you make time to write or do whatever it is that you do for a living when times are very busy?

Have a great day!


  1. Hey, Julie! The best thing I ever did was accept the fact that there are times in my life when I simply am not going to be able to write. I've got the freedom of taking some time off if I need it, and I make use of it. When things are just too busy, or when I simply can't seem to focus because of other life events, I give myself a break. :)

    1. I do try to give myself a break during vacation. I made a rule a few years ago that I don't take my computer on vacation with the kids. It's been really good for me!

  2. Julie,
    I feel your pain! With three little(ish) ones at home, it's hard to focus on writing. Even harder on the weeks my husband works nights because he is home during the day and let me tell you, he is worse than all three kids combined. The man thinks it's the perfect opportunity to chat me up--doesn't matter my face is planted in the monitor, he sees me as available. I. Am. Not. Be gone! I know better than to attempt prose after the kids are in bed because my brain can't cut it. What might start out as Lord of the Ringsish becomes Dr. Suessy. And not in a good way. ;[

    1. Andris,

      My husband is the exact same way! If I'm home working and he comes home he always wants to chat me up! Drives me nuts!

  3. Julie,
    I hear ya on being busy. Between my day job, kids activities, being a mom, and still being a decent partner to my hubby, it can get pretty insane. Okay. I can get pretty insane. ;)

    I have to prioritize and accept that I can't do everything. And sometimes I just have to barrel on knowing I'll get to rest eventually. I'm fortunate to have two days a week at home when my kids are in school, so that helps. I find I can get more writing done when I have a short window of time to do it. There isn't time for playing around on social media.

    Summer is a huge challenge, though, and I have a book to turn in early fall. Play dates are a big help, because my daughter's time is occupied and I can write. Also, my husband is amazingly supportive. He'll take our daughter and one of her friends to the YMCA on the weekend for a few hours so I can write, or he's fine with me disappearing to the library on the weekend. I used to write in the evenings, but I stopped doing that because I realized there were days my husband and I barely had a chance to speak to each other.

    Speaking of writing... I'm going to have to generate some words this afternoon!

  4. Good luck, Samantha! Sounds like your life is a lot like mine right now!

  5. This is such an incredibly useful post that I can totally relate to. I'm a mom, a full time teacher, and a writer. And to add to the already full schedule, my lease is up and I'm trying to close on a home at the end of the month. As I sat down to read the Lady Scribes blog for the day, I was actually nursing a sense of writer's guilt at the lack of time I've had lately to fully immerse myself in writing. That said...my time to write is at night, when my son is sleeping and my husband is laying down, watching tv...and he loves this just about as much as your husband does! : ) But my writing is actually done in chunks. Because I teach, and because my son is in school when I have off, I have hours and hours of uninterrupted writing time during the summer, December, February, and April vacations. Otherwise, I have to steal moments when life allows me!

  6. hi julie! your blog is so refreshing! love the colors, theme, & layout! + great reads. will be back for more:) xo