Finding the Time

It’s been a long time since I had a post on writing. There’s a reason for that.

Ever since Oliver was born, my writing output  (never fantastic) has literally dropped to zero. For two months I didn’t write a word. That’s not to say I gave up or forgot about it, but I simply did not have the time, even an hour or two. One kid was okay, but two kids are rough.

Every day I get up early and stumble downstairs when Evie wakes up. We are solid, running-around-like-chickens-with-our-heads-chopped-off busy until I leave for work. Even still I get to work at least an hour late every day. Factoring in the commute, by the time I get home, I’m usually late for dinner. This is assuming that my amazing wife somehow had time during the day to actually come up with something for dinner, and I don’t have to make it when I get home. So by the time I walk in the door, dinner is already at stage Orange, if not stage Red. We get that going, we eat, (sometimes) clean up, and then immediately I have to do Oliver’s bath. As soon as he is done, I hand him off to Sara and start on Evie’s bath. After reading her a story and tucking her in, I can sit down for the night…or not. Because then it’s time for laundry, dishes, etc.

I’m not complaining, mind you. I’m just saying that, with two kids, every minute of my day is accounted for, with no time left for other pursuits (writing included). And on the very rare occasion that I do get a minute, I do have other things that I like to do. So even those rare moments are subdivided. Especially since my writing is still on the downlow, so I don’t do it when other people are around (this pretty much rules out weekends).

Okay, so everybody has challenges. That’s good, because that’s what I want to talk about in this post.

First off, I readjusted my goals. I decided that I wanted to complete a minimum of 4 stories this year, one for each quarter of the Writers of the Future contest. I thought this would be an easy goal, especially since the first of those stories was already 1/2 done. Well, here we are, almost done with the quarter, and I haven’t quite finished the first quarter’s story. So, it’s going to be a bigger challenge than I thought.

Second off, I had to cut some things out. This is why I haven’t updated the writing section of my blog in a long time. I’d rather spend that time (if this fictional time were to materialize) writing fiction. Note though, that I didn’t stop updating my blog altogether. There are a few reasons for that. First off, I love my blog, so stopping this would be trading one thing I love for another…what’s the point of that? Second off, I can sometimes blog when I can’t write (for example, when I’m out of the house). Third off, I see the blog as important to my writing, both as practice and for the social aspects.

Third off, I had to be inventive. I had to evolve. I had a major discovery the other day: at the moment, the best time for me to write is on business trips. I was gone for almost a week the other day and, between the plane and the hotel, I managed to knock out something like 1,600 words, even though I was pretty busy the whole time. Previously my writing style was between 100 and 300 words a day, maybe once or twice a week. Slow and steady. Now, that no longer works for me, and I’m doing big bursts all at once. And I plan to continue in this fashion, until something changes.

One interesting thing that came out of this, is that it somewhat forces me to follow Heinlein’s rules, something that I believe strongly in. If I only have a few minutes to write, and if I’m going to meet my goals, then I seriously do NOT have time to go back and edit stories. That time can be for new work, and new work only.

So, as usual, life throws you curves. You can either quit, or roll with the punches. And if I can’t write new stories, at least I have been able to keep the old ones in the mail…


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