Update from the salt mines – send help!

Okay, so I know this is all my fault…after all, I’ve been aware that I’d be teaching a new class this fall for months (and months, and months).  I really could have gotten a head start on the lectures at any time.  I even had very good intentions to do so.

But I did not.

And now…oh, now.  I’m barely keeping my head above water over here, folks.  It’s 6pm and I just put the finishing touches on a (frankly) pretty sloppy lecture on Maya rituals for class tomorrow.  There’s a pile of exams to grade.  They are quite literally leering at me.  I’ve got nothing (zilch, zero) prepared for next week.  Heck, I’m not even sure what’s on the syllabus for next week.

And writing, you ask?  Writing?  What’s that?  I think I got a few hundred words in over the weekend, but who the hell even remembers the weekend anymore?  That was months ago.  Or so it seems.

I have been told by pretty much everyone that I do much, much better (as a human being in general) when I’m busy.  It’s true, of course.  A little structure in one’s life goes a long way towards shaping action productively (or, at least, preventing entire afternoons spent on the sofa watching back episodes of Dancing with the Moderately Famous People), but the last few weeks have thrown me a little more structure than I can handle.

This too shall pass, I know.  But in the meantime, I’d welcome suggestions for ways to find time to write.  I know a lot of you out there juggle full time jobs, kids, and so on and still manage to squeeze in those precious writing hours.  Where do you excavate them from?  How do you get your brain to ignore the huge piles of Other Stuff you need to do and focus in on writing?

I’d welcome suggestions, as I currently seem unable to prioritize even 30 minutes a day for my writing.  Tricks?  Tips?

Send help!

4 thoughts on “Update from the salt mines – send help!

  1. phil culpepper

    Where do i find time to write while balancing a full time job and 2 kids? I dont. That sample chapter of mine you just critiqued? I wrote that before i had kids and before i became a lawyer. Good luck

  2. George Galuschak

    This is what I’ve been doing lately, and it seems to be working. Have a word count goal for the day. Since you’re busy, make it small: 250 – 500 words. To make your goal get up a half-hour earlier than you normally would and write, and at night write for a half-hour before it’s time for bed. The other possibility is to buy a notebook and write during your commute. In my experience a half-page equals about 250 words.

    Good luck!

  3. Cath

    I’m the poster child for finding time to write. I am exceeding busy, as you know, and sometimes I don’t have as much time to write as I would like. But here’s what I do.

    Every week, I pull up my calendar. I look at the whole thing. I have work blocked out, social obligations, that sort of thing. Then I find 12 hours to write. Some days the lion’s share of them can be on the weekends. Some days I have a windfall of time during the day. But during that time, I write, or I notebook, or I read books about writing. So far this year, I have reclaimed about 500 hours for writing.

    You might not feel that you can find that kind of time right now. I know that should I become an 8-4 administrator, I may have to re-evaluate how much time I spend writing, and that hour can reduce. But try to find some time, and make it yours. I know you can do it.

  4. mirandasuri

    Thanks for the suggestions, guys!

    Cath, I’m amazed to hear you are able to carve so much time out your weekly calendar (and impressed)! It does go to show that no matter how busy we *perceive* ourselves to be, there is always time in there to harvest. Good reminder.

    I was considering trying the morning thing. I can be pretty productive in short bursts and maybe getting up 30 minutes to an hour earlier would be enough to get in a low but steady daily word count.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

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