Thursday, April 6, 2017

Writing with Riley: Time Management

I missed last week...maybe the week before too. Things have been a little crazy for me and I think it's funny that I'm here blogging about time management while apologizing for not taking care of one of my responsibilities. LOL. But the thing is, we're all human and we can only do what we can do. Between my family and my career, this is something I'm reminding myself of daily.

I get asked often how I manage to do everything I do. How do I find the time? For me...the thing is, even when I have other stuff going on, I make the time. I know that sounds like a simple answer but it's true. First, I'll say I write fast. I'm no Devon McCormack or anything (Hi, Dev!) but I do write fast if I'm really feeling a book and that obviously goes in my favor. Writing is my job, my career, so I don't work outside of the home on top of it, which helps a ton. I get it. But I'm also a mom with a husband who works outside of the home so weekends, summers, Christmas break, spring break, every extra day off from school the kids get is something I have to work around as well.

The easy part first. When the kids are at school, I write. Sure I have appointments and things like that but I try to limit how many of those I schedule when it's my work hours. I try to do my best to treat my job as though I DO work outside of the home. Like I punch a clock daily, because my job is important and just because I work from home, doesn't mean it's not. If you work from home you understand this and you have to make everyone understand that your writing is a priority too.

I try to give myself goals. I need to write at least this amount of words per day. I have this many hours before kids are home so then I have a schedule. I typically check email, FB and such before writing. Then I jump in...and try not to get on again until I've written at least a 1000 words. Then I can check FB again real quick, before I need to get back to my document to clock in another 1000 words. I continue that way throughout the day.

My kids are on a schedule for bedtime. They go to bed at 9:00 PM every school night, so Sunday-Thursday, if I didn't get enough work done, guess who is writing from 9:00-11:00 PM before I go to bed? That would be me :)

I do a lot of my grocery shopping and things like that after the kids are out of school and when my husband is home. He doesn't have to shop during his work hours, and I try not to either. When I say that, I'm not trying to sound like I have animosity or anything toward my husband and his schedule, I'm just saying that my writing is my career so it needs to be treated as such, just like his does. Sometimes we all shop together after school, evenings, or weekends, or sometimes he'll stay home with the girls while I go, but again, that's something I try not to do between 8-1:30 because those are my work hours.

I'm also very, very, VERY lucky that I have an understanding husband. He works with me well. If it's Spring Break or summer, he works during the day, and then a few days a week, when he gets off, I take my laptop down to Panera and I write through the evening while he's ok kid duty. I can't lose days upon days because it's Spring Break. I still have a job to do. We keep a schedule that works well for us.

Every writer is different. I have friends who can go weeks or months without writing. They have to get hit strongly with an idea, out of the blue, and then can work like crazy on a book...and then not write again until the next hits. I'm pretty good at finishing one book and then already having the next idea in my head, or sitting down and saying, "Okay...time to figure out what's next!" and then figuring it out. I have to write. I would lose my mind if I didn't. In this post, I spent a lot of time talking about how writing is my career, but it's also my passion. My love. It's the one thing in my life that is totally mine--not my husband's or my kids'. It's a part of me, so it's easy for me to write five days a week. It's easy for me to make the time because I mentally and emotionally need to write. It literally keeps me sane. I don't say that being funny either. Writing helps me work through a lot in my life--current and previous issues, so I'm not just making the time, no matter how tired I am or how much I have going on, I want to find the time too, because damn, I love what I do.

That's it for me. Hit me up with any questions in the comments :)

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