For four years, I was a stay-at-home-mom. Then, this summer, I started working full time. I still think being a stay-at-home-mom is one of the toughest--and, of course, most rewarding--jobs there is, but my time was more flexible then than it is now*.
And in those first couple months after the change, I thought, How do people even do this? My time management had to change, enormously. I felt like my writing time had been cut to nothing. It was very frustrating to me to have my whole day spoken for, to not be able to take a moment when I felt inspired to go write what I wanted.
But I got it figured out, mostly, and I thought that maybe it would be a worthwhile post to share some of the things I did to make my schedule work for myself.
1. I started writing during my lunches. This was actually a more recent thing, but one of the most helpful changes I've made for myself, I think. I am sure that not all workplaces are as scheduled as mine, but I have two ten-minute breaks during the day, and a half-hour lunch. And during them, most days, I sit at a corner table in the cafeteria and write. I've found that I can pretty well tune out the background noise, and without the internet or other distractions of my house, I'm very focused. In fact, I think I finally understand why so many people go to cafes to write. It's probably the same principle.
2. I cut out activities and TV shows I don't truly enjoy. This probably sounds really obvious. But you know how there's always that show, or couple of shows, that you keep watching because you loved it so much and you just cannot let it go because even though most of the time it bores you to death, every now and then it has a glimmer of that old charm and lures you back in? I got rid of those last lingerers, finally. If I'm not excited to watch it each week, I don't watch it, simple as that. It's a bad use of my half hour--or hour--otherwise. And I did the same with other things, like Farmville on Facebook, which took up a shameful amount of my time and which had started to feel like a chore rather than something fun and cute to do with a few free minutes. I considered cutting cleaning and dishwashing as well, but unfortunately I think those things are kind of non-optional.
3. I altered my self-expectations. There is only so much a person can expect of themselves. I try to write every night because it is the thing I love doing the most, but at least once a week there's a night where this just isn't going to happen, and I've made myself be okay with that.
Have any of you experienced huge changes in your writing schedules like this? I mean, there are so many ways your schedule could change--not working to working, working to not working, pregnancy, change in work schedule, the list goes on. What did you do to ensure you still had time to write your beloved novels, while not forgetting your other obligations? I'd love to hear!
*this is obviously not a sweeping statement about stay-at-home-moms and their time. I am speaking only from experience here.