Writing is a second or third job for many, placed firmly after the one that pays the big bills or looking after the house and family. Many aren’t in a position to quit their day jobs just yet and must squeeze in time to write wherever they find an odd hole in their busy day.
Balancing these multiple duty jobs and chores is a nightmare but it’s one that is all too familiar. A typical day will see budding, or even seasoned writers, rising way too early to get in a little work before the rest of the family surfaces. This is usually followed by a mad rush to complete the required activities for the day - all the while fighting to keep the mind off the article, short-story, novel chapter or whatever “work-in-progress” that was reluctantly left unfinished that morning, that is quietly beckoning from the desk. Once everything is finally done and the family is either in bed or involved in their own “thing”, there’s the fight against tiredness to steal another few hours before going to bed - usually in the wee hours of the morning.
Unfortunately, there is no alternative to this kind of scattered and snatched writing approach when writing isn’t a full-time job. There are however, a few tips and tricks that can make the experience more positive.
- Minimalism - It never ceases to amaze how much mess and clutter a family manages to accumulate in just one day. Minimising and simplifying meals, shopping, kitchen cupboards, the refrigerator, clothes, shoes, toys and chores can cut out a huge amount of stress, e.g. less to put away or move before the vacuum cleaner can do it’s job or the dish cloth can wipe the surfaces clean.
- Sacrifice and Surrender - Sometimes the only way to make more time is to give up something else - be it reading, a girls’ night out, weekend’s away, time playing piano or sleep. Sadly for most, sleep is more often than not the victim.
- Enjoy the Moment - Don’t spend the time involved in the duty job and chores constantly thinking about the unfinished “work-in-progress”. Make the effort to consciously accept this is how things are and stop thinking about it. These duty things must be done so find the pleasure in them and remember “it’s not just about reaching the destination, it’s important to enjoy the journey. It will reduce the stress involved and make the process a much more positive experience.
- Find Support - Whether it’s from the mother-in-law or husband helping out with the ironing or arranging play dates for the children at their friends’ houses to free up a few hours a couple of times a week in the afternoons, it’s surprising how readily others will help if asked. Take a look at the family schedule and see if you can change things to accommodate a bit more writing time.
- Keep a Handy Pad - Keep a notepad handy at all times, whether it’s waiting outside the school gates for the children to pile out, sitting in the dentist’s or doctor’s waiting room or sitting on the bench at the park while the kids play, there’s always a few spare minutes to jot a few words. Every little counts.
- Relax - It’s meant to be fun!