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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Writing Time

Although the new year isn’t quite, well, new any more, I find myself focused on a particular new year’s resolution.  Maybe not a resolution, but more like a goal, to carve out more time in my life for writing.  It’s something I love to do, but is somehow the activity I probably spend the least amount of time on compared with all the other activities in my life.  So, how to do this?  I have heard quite a few writers say that they started their writing careers by working at a full-time job, as I do, and doing their writing on the side.  Many of them advise getting up extra early in the morning before the day job to accomplish writing goals.  If you’re not willing to sacrifice, maybe the writing life isn’t for you!  This sounds wonderful in theory, getting up before the dawn, sitting in your writer’s nook, maybe next to a roaring fire, sipping a hot mug of coffee or tea while gazing out the window at a beautiful sunrise, the house otherwise quiet and peaceful as the other inhabitants snooze away.  

But for someone who begins the work day at around 7:00 or 7:30 a.m., that’s awfully early!  Is it that I’m not serious enough about my writing if I don’t get up at 5:00 a.m. or, dare I even say it, 4:00 a.m., as some ambitious folks I’ve talked to make it a practice of doing?   

There’s also the option of writing at the end of each day after work.  I’m sure you know the excuses here - too tired, mind not fresh, need to run errands, need to make dinner, etc., etc.  Another plan might be to catch up on writing during the weekend.  

But what about those other things that sneak up on you and gum up the works, like family and friends,

weekend excursions,

sporting events,

cats can certainly be a distraction,

and I can’t think of how that trip to the Jelly Belly Factory could have been avoided.

But a trip to a mystery convention is an acceptable distraction, right?

Then there’s the daily minutia of cleaning the house, cooking, washing dishes and clothes, exercising, learning another language online, not to mention Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogger, Tumbler, the list could go on forever, all lurking right there on your computer where you should be writing!  

I know the majority of writers face these very same issues daily, so this is not an original problem, although everyone finds different ways to work writing into their lives if they love it enough.  And after writing this post, I may have figured out a few things I’m willing to give up - it’s gonna have to be hours of sleep! 

Angela Crider Neary is an attorney by day and writer by night. She is an avid mystery reader and especially enjoys reading novels set in interesting locales. She was inspired to write her first mystery novella, Li'l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau: The Case of the Parrots Desaparecidos, by one of her favorite areas in San Francisco, Telegraph Hill. To learn more, visit her on Facebook and Amazon.


  1. LOL I gave up New Year's resolutions years ago. I never stuck to them anyway. But I liked your excuses like that jelly belly factory.
    I believe every writer has to find the best writing regime that suits that individual and the lifestyle the person lives. Some days I have my best creative energy in the morning (not 5 am for certain), some days I feel like writing in the early afternoon around 2PM, and on a rare occasion, I might write late in the evening. I guess there are those writers who have a very structured time to write; I'm just not one of them. I try not to create unrealistic goals for myself since I'm basically lazy. LOL
    Thank you for an interesting blog, Angela. All the best to you.

  2. Thanks, Sarah! I often think I must be lazy! I used to be able to write anywhere, including hospital rooms and public transportation, but have gotten to where I feel like I need the perfect time and place - although I know this isn't true. I need to get back to the mindset of fitting it in whenever and wherever I can.

  3. The barriers are real and difficult as you’ve summarized them so nicely here. I suspect the solutions are partly personal and partly universal. For myself, I’m fresher in the morning so it’s easier for me to write early than late. I’m never more productive than when I do NaNoWriMo. Why? It must be a combination of the goal, the deadline and the feeling of being part of something larger than just myself.

    So how to sustain this discipline the other 11 months of the year? Full time writers have real writing demands. Publishing deadlines, readers “demanding” the next story, and the validation of past paid work. All outside forces that motivate. Non-full time writers usually have only themselves. Nobody will be too upset if your writing slides another day.

    I think you have to adapt the mindset of the full time writer as best you can. The idea of acting like the writer you want to be until you actually are that writer. The one with publishers’ deadlines, readers who await the next adventure and actual cash to pay some of your bills.

    Good luck on your next adventure!

    1. Thank you, Krauss! All very good points. I also work better under a deadline.

  4. Great story, thanks. Best of luck with your early morning routine.

  5. Strangely I was most productive when I worked four days a week, took care of my ill parents and babysat my grandson one day a week. Now I have lots of time and seem to get less done. Maybe it's time for me to retire.

    1. Don't retire, Patti! I can see how getting more done when you're busier might happen since you are working everything in and have to get organized. When you have more free time, it's harder to buckle down, get organized, and work!

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