“Hi Rebecca, I’m a father of three, all in elementary school, and I work full time (often more than that) in the IT world. I have a book idea that’s been with me for years, but I just don’t ever seem to be able to find the time to get started. I know you work full time as well and also have kids. So what’s your secret?” Sincerely—————
Dear ——–, This is such a great question, and one that also gets asked a lot because it is a real concern for MOST writers. And I’m not talking about most NEW writers here, or even UPCOMING writers. Almost ALL writers work either full or part time and many are also juggling family responsibilities as well.
Very, very few writers earn enough money from their books or freelance work to sustain life–never mind three young kids. If you’d like to get really depressed, pop on over to John Scalzi’s blog and read his recent post, Author Incomes: Not So Great, Now or Then Which naturally leads us to a whole other question: WHY do I find time to write? But that is another blog post altogether, so I’ll stick to your actual question.
How? How when we are raising children we love, and working jobs, and paying bills, and doing laundry, and buying groceries, and making doctors and vet appointments, and getting our cars fixed, and driving our parents to the airport and our kids to practice, and not being a completely shittastic friend by forgetting our BF’s birthday…how on EARTH do we find time to sit in one place long enough with our fragmented focus to create a book?
*Takes giant cleansing breath* Excuse me…but that last paragraph really stressed me out. Anyway…I’m going to try and give the most honest answer I can here.
Sometimes, maybe most times, you don’t.
And that really is the truth. Sometimes, when you don’t have the ability to make a sustainable wage off your current writing career, you simply don’t find the time the write. The truth is, you’re too busy running from one hectic must do to the next. And when you do find half a moment for yourself, often you’re too exhausted to manage much more than flinging your ragged body into the nearest couch where either Netflix, X-Box, or various social media accounts promise to not make you think too hard for the next three, or four, or six hours before bed.
Wait…did I forget to mention those items in my very-busy-lady-list? Because, if we’re being honest, and I said I would try to give the most honest answer I could, we both know that both of us spend quite a sizable chunk of time on leisurely mind-numbing entertainment. Including me! For sure.
Also, time is spent on not mind-numbing and important to my writing activities–like reading other people’s books! But worthy or not, reading still takes time…right?
So, back to your question: How do I find the time to write when I work full time and raise kids?
I don’t FIND it, I MAKE it. And I make it out of those hours I would otherwise have been watching movies, scrolling through the internet, or even, as sad as it is when I have to push pause for my own work, reading other people’s books. I make choices everyday. Some days, probably most days honestly, I’m choosing to read, watch, chill. BUT, in any given year there have also been enough days where I’m choosing to sit down in front of my book and write; on average one book every eighteen months.
Some people write much more than this! Even with jobs and kids and life! They are much more disciplined than I have been up to this point, and their results are in their output. They can crank out 2, 3, 8 books a year! Maybe more.
But this is, again, another post for another day. What you should know is this: you already have the time to write. Probably plenty of it. You just need to be really, truly, painfully honest with yourself about how you spend it. Then, make the choice to spend it on something else…like that book you’ve been thinking about for years.
Do you have a question you’d like me to answer on my blog? Email it to me at: rebecca (@) rrtaylor (dot) com