Brigid Kemmerer on Time To Write
A lot of people ask me how I find time to write.
Sometimes I don’t have any idea how to answer that question. It’s like asking how I find time to breathe. I just do. They say if you want something badly enough, you’ll make time for it.
Here’s a typical day:
5am: Wake up, take a shower, and try to get a sip of coffee before the baby wakes up.
Answer book-related emails.
5:30am: Give the baby back his pacifier and pray he goes back to sleep.
5:45am: Give in to baby’s demands and give him a bottle, then lay him back down.
6am: Nick (five-year-old) wakes up.
6am – 7am: Get everyone dressed, lunches packed, put something resembling makeup on my face, and get out the door.
8am: Arrive at work. YES. I HAVE A FULL TIME JOB. I go there every day.
4pm: Leave work.
5pm: Get home with the kids.
5:15pm: Feed the baby and start dinner.
6pm: Eat dinner and attempt to make eye contact with husband. Surreptitiously Tweet/Facebook from phone under table while no one is looking.
6pm – 8pm: Clean up dinner / bathe kids (or pray no one will notice if we skip it) / try to cram quality family time into two hours
8pm: God willing, the kids go to sleep.
8:15pm: Whip out the laptop. Answer more emails. Talk to people on Twitter and Facebook.
9pm: Start writing.
11pm (or later): Bed.
Sometimes, I skip the quality time and baths and go to Starbucks, and my husband takes care of the kids. (This is always a very tough choice for me to make, but I get a lot of writing done at Starbucks. My local shop will actually be thanked in the acknowledgments for Spirit, because almost the entire book has been written in one of their chairs.)
Now, I don’t write every day. I can’t. I would never see my husband.
I also can’t write at work. Not even when it’s slow. I’m very, very careful to keep my day job life very separate from the writing life. I might surf a few writing-related websites during my lunch hour, but that’s it. Not one word of my book is written while I’m at work.
I don’t assign myself daily writing goals. That’s a good way to make myself nuts. I do try to set weekly writing goals (which I never meet), and I’m fine with looking at my life as one big fluid block of time, and I’ll get things done when I get them done. My kids are young, and I want to see them grow up. I don’t want to watch the Starbucks baristas grow up.
I’m also big on living in the moment. When I’m with the kids, I try to be with the kids, not worrying about word counts or deadlines. When I’m with my husband, I try to focus on our time together, not anything else. It helps, because when it’s time to write, it’s time to focus on that.
Right now, my life is kinda nuts, and I’m okay with that. You’ll notice above that I don’t schedule in any time for friends, or for going to the gym, or for anything social. Right now, for me, doing any of those things is a rare occurrence. It’s a sacrifice for sure, but right now, it’s worth it. I also couldn’t pull this off without the support of my family. My husband is amazing.
Because there’s a passionate spark about writing. Even if I didn’t have the deadlines, I’d find the time to do it. I’m burning the candle at both ends, and I’m going to keep right on doing it until I run out of stories to tell. (Or I run out of wax.)
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