Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How do I find the time to write? I hide!

I'm hiding from my children.

I have a cup of coffee and a laptop. If I can just have thirty minutes to myself, no one gets hurt.

Yeah. Right.

The only way I get thirty minutes to myself is if I leave the house completely. Nothing is sacred. My kids follow me everywhere. Yes. I said everywhere. It's either leave the bathroom door unlocked and be prepared for visitors, or listen to wailing that could put professional mourners to shame.

Which is why I frequently go several days without doing any writing at all. It's not because I don't want to. It's because I have to stage an all-out covert operation, complete with diversionary tactics, to get enough quiet to be able to hear the voices in my head and release them onto the page. (Side note: I'm not crazy. All writers hear voices in their heads. Honest.)

I think this is why my fiction writing ground to a halt post-baby. Until a few days ago, I hadn't written a single word of fiction since February. But, I haven't been too stressed about it. I started writing my first novel when my now 2-year old was 6-months old. I knew the muse would return and that her return would probably coincide with a schedule that includes sleeping all night long.

There has, however, been one nagging problem. The last time I had a newborn in the house, I wasn't a writer. I am one now. And writers write. If they don't, they aren't writers. They're wanna-be-writers. And while I've been writing--blog posts, devotions, an article on (feel free to get a chuckle out of this) writing software--there's been no consistency. Even as I mentally acknowledge that it takes time to adjust to life with three children, the hit-or-miss writing schedule has started to irk me.

In the midst of this, I was challenged a couple of days ago to commit to writing for ten minutes a day. Every day.

Sounds easy enough.

Yeah. Right.

It took me over an hour and three tries to get that ten minutes in yesterday.

Today went a little better. My initial attempt lasted a whopping 54.7 seconds.

I know this because being the Type-A, over-achiever, eager-beaver that I am, I set the stopwatch on my iTouch. When I say 54.7 seconds, I mean 54.7 seconds. Less than a minute of writing time before the baby started crying and the two year old bounced into the room asking for more apples.

But on my second attempt, I squeezed out an additional 15 minutes of writing before the baby decided that my Twitter feed needed to change from #amwriting to #amnursing.

My total writing time for the past few days comes in under thirty minutes, but in that time, I’ve churned out approximately 700 words on my novel.

I’m committed to writing ten minutes a day through the month of July. I’m going to keep track of what I write in those ten minutes and we’ll see just how much of a difference it will make. I’m sure some days I’ll get more than ten minutes. And some days I'll be lucky to get my ten minutes in by midnight.

At ten minutes a day, it could take another year for me to finish my second novel.

And that's OK.

My kids found me a little while ago. During the “interruption” to this blog post, I’ve sat with my 8-year old and listened to her read. I’ve snuggled with my baby boy and watched as my almost 4-month old discovers his feet.

I’m so glad they found me!
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Lori Stanley Roeleveld said...


Lynn said...

Thanks for the challenge Lori!

Charity Tinnin said...

I am always so encouraged by your posts! I have been feeling frustrated by my lack of writing time due to the craziness of nanny-life paired with the chronic fatigue cycle but ten minutes a day? That feels realistic and like progress. I think I'll do the same. Thanks friend! And thanks to Lori as well, I gather. :)

Lynn said...

Charity! I miss you! Give the 10 min a day a try and let me know how it's working. And yes, thanks goes to Lori for the challenge. As she pointed out, if you've had time to read this post, you've had 10 minutes to write :-).

Ellen Andersen said...

10 minutes per day. Seems more than doable--it's getting past the multiple distractions (mental or otherwise) that's the challenge. But if you can do it with 3 kids, and 2 under the age of 5, I certainly should be able to.

Mary Ellis said...

That was a lovely posting, Lynn. All writers start out with small time increments that build as their lives allow. I started writing with a full time job, a house & husband, and elderly parents that needed my assistance. Sometimes 10 min. was all I had. I now write full time and I'm at my comupter 8 hours or more a day, 6 days a week. It was a long road in between. Be patient with yourself. God has you in the perfect place in His plan. Blessings, Mary Ellis

Vonda Skelton said...

Great post, Lynn. Ten minutes add up! Can't wait to read the outcome!

Alycia Morales said...

Wow Lynn! You are super busy! Ten minutes definitely sounds doable. My house is a bit like yours, only mine contains elementary/middle school-aged kids. Constant demands on our time, huh? Here's to ten minutes! Can't wait to hear how far you get by the end of summer!

Lynn said...

Thanks for all the encouragement everyone. I got my 10 minutes in today - it took 4 tries!