I realized last summer that if I wanted to write, really write, I was going to just have to make time. No more excuses. See, I have been involved in these wonderful MA and MFA programs of Children's Literature at Hollins Unversity. Every summer, I became a writing maniac. I banged out a lot of writing, but I had a hard time keeping motivated after Hollins. When September hit and school got into full swing, I would taper off.
My life has gotten busier, and since I have two kids, I don't think it will settle down for many, many years. I made a determination. Write. Write. Write. Even if it is only for 15 minutes everyday.
Things I've learned about myself in this process:
1) Deadlines help me. I joined a local critique group. I must turn something into them every month, so I'm accountable.
2) Challenges help me. I did the picture book marathon in February. I have spent much of March rewriting and writing some more. I will be doing a poem-a-day in the month of April.
3) Little bits of time do add up. I write in the evenings after my kids go to bed. I am a morning person, but so is my son. So unless I get up before 4:30am to write, I have to write after he goes to bed at 7:00pm. I always have a journal in my bag so I can write when I have short snippets of time. When my daughter has ballet, I throw Cherrios at my son, and revise my writing. When she has Daisy Scouts, I leave my son with my hubby, and I write in my car while I am waiting for her to come out. It does add up.
4) I really don't need to watch TV that much. The best Christmas present I bought myself is a DVR. I record things I want to watch. I'm not beholden to that stupid TV. I watch it without commercials when I have time on the weekends.
5) Sometimes writing is serendipitous. I feel like ever since I made the commitment, I have found lots of articles about this very idea. Apparently it's a very common thing.
* Kristi Holl at Writer's First Aid talks about using "hidden time" to write.
* Kim Norman talked about "squeezing creativity into an overbooked life" at her talk at the VSRA conference (which I didn't get to go to, but her handout is on their website). She gives a dozen habits to foster creativity.
* Eileen Spinelli talks about this on an e-mail I just received from Highlights Foundation. I couldn't find this online, so I'll quote from the e-mail. Spinelli says, "In terms of 'writing time'—it's not a matter of finding it. It's a matter of making it." She also talks about finding snippets of time in your day.
6) Taking a day off is okay. I have worked 12 out of the last 14 days. I was exhausted, mentally and physically. Yesterday I cleaned my house, took care of two sick kids, and I read a book! I read the last 250 pages of the latest Jodi Picoult novel called House Rules. I was about halfway through yesterday morning and it was already two days overdue. I never turned my computer on all day. And I don't feel one bit guilty about it.
Now...off to practice what I preach. I will be writing...