Sadly, I do not make enough money (fingers crossed, yet) to make a living from writing. It is a wonderful dream to have. We live in the real world, though, and need day jobs.
Juggling life’s responsibilities with your desire to write is a daunting task. You will fail miserably from time to time. Give yourself a break. No one is perfect.
I admit that budgeting time is challenging. When I come home from work, I am tired. I have the usual tasks to do –take G. for a walk, make dinner, do laundry, whatever. By the time I have a moment for me, it is almost time for bed. How am I supposed to write? I don’t have all the answers but can offer my three best tips:
Casseroles are your friend. When I get “in the writing zone,” I don’t like to stop. If I can whip up a casserole, toss something into the slow cooker, or defrost a dish from the freezer, I am a happy girl. Google “make ahead” recipes. Or, better yet, support another writer by purchasing a cookbook about slow cooker recipes. Fix a healthy dish rather than zap a frozen dinner. You need nutritious meals to feed that imagination!
Carry a notebook. You never know when you might have an idea or need to jot down a few pieces of dialogue for a scene. You can buy an inexpensive wire-ringed notebook or a nice journal. I used a cheap notebook for the first book. I bought a pretty purple journal for the second one. It made me feel like a “real writer.”
Schedule time to write. We schedule everything else in our lives. Why shouldn’t we set aside some time for writing too? You don’t need copious amounts of time – five minutes a day is better than nothing! At some point, though, you will need to set aside a chunk of time if you want to make real progress. Start the habit of creating time, though; otherwise, it will never happen.
Remember what’s important. I love writing. It gives me an opportunity to finally do something I have always wanted to do. Still, when I am on my death bed, which will I lament more – that I did not finish writing one last scene or that I did not spend another moment with a loved one? I have lost too many loved ones (furry and human) over the last several years. I try to find balance between writing and living. Yes, it is hard. Very, very hard.
Just like everything in life, you will struggle with time management. There are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. You will do a great job one day, only to fail epically the next. I know those words are not encouraging! I would rather be brutally honest, though. Give yourself a break and do the best you can. Above all, remember that you must try to carve out a little “me” time, even if it is just five minutes. You are too important not to give yourself that gift.