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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

When Writing is Your Second (or Third) Job

So, in addition to being a writer, I'm an actress. I also work part-time as an assistant. Not to mention taking care of my husband and the household. So in between all of those things, when do I find time to write?

Well, I just said it. In between all of those things.

It's hard when you want to write full-time, but you can't because it doesn't pay the bills. But you're still a committed writer, so you've got to find the time and space around your other commitments to find the time to write.

This is where my lists come in. I have a daily planner - an actual book, not a Blackberry or iPhone - with one page for each day. Every Sunday or Monday, I make a daily list for the coming week. I look at each day. If I have to work from 9-6, and then have rehearsal from 7-10, chances are I'm not going to get any writing done. So I don't even put it on the list. That way, at the end of the day if I haven't written, I don't beat myself up about it.

But on a day when I don't work, or I have rehearsal from 10-2 and the rest of the day free, I put writing on the list. And boy it feels good to check it off when I've done it!

It IS frustrating when I want to be writing eight hours a day, not working as someone else's assistant. That's why I try to make the most of the time when I CAN write.

It takes a commitment, and it takes persistance. It would be a lot easier to go home and flick on the TV instead of facing the page. But when I choose to face the page instead, I'm choosing to get myself that much closer to the day when I WILL be able to write full-time, and someone else will be MY assistant!


Julie O'Connell said...

Boy, howdy, I hear you! I'm not trying to be Eeyore or anything, but writing is like my 6th job. I have two regular jobs, three kids, a husband, and a volunteer position, too. My writing has to be squished into whatever space I can find. (Notice I said nothing about housework.*g*)

I would love to dedicate more time to writing, but it can't happen right now. So I try to do as much as I can, as often as I can. It's not perfect, and I skip days here and there, but I try to keep moving forward. It may be a baby step, but it's a step.

Gerb said...

Who *does* have time to write? I think the trick is to do what you and Jules mention - fit it in whenever and wherever you can. When we know that many authors don't make enough to support themselves, let along hire an assistant, we can be pretty sure that other jobs/commitments will always compete with the writing time. Being a writer requires patience and diligence and really creative time management!

Ginger Calem said...

I'm in the over-extended, pulled-in-a-million-directions club! Fitting in writing is a test of my dedication to my dreams and goals as a writer. Like Nicole, I firmly believe in using a NOTEBOOK (hi Margie!) to keep myself organized and accountable. The key for me is to be realistic. Yeah, I'd love to set a goal of 5000 words a day. HA! Every day I went to bed I'd feel like a failure. No, I look at my days (my schedule a very flexible, even if full, one) and massage in the writing with a good dose of what I KNOW I can finish. Then I get to feel like a success and if I fit in more than I pledge...BONUS points.