#&*$%@$ Day Job!

I know, I know . . .  potty mouth.

But, lately I’ve been very frustrated with the amount of time my day job is taking away from my writing life.  Now, I love my job and it is very fulfilling – I’m an attorney for U.S. Navy and you couldn’t have a better group of clients.  And, this working thing isn’t new. I am not independently wealthy and while my husband is a few years older than I am – he’s no Sugar Daddy. (Although I hear that “the Hef” is now available and apparently has room at the mansion and rockin’ party already planned and paid for)

So, when I began down the path of publication and took this compulsion to write seriously, I always had to work it around the day job.  I write in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed and I can usually get in a good 2-3 hours before my comfortable bed beckons from across the room. And, sometimes I can squeeze in extra time on my regular day off and my lunch hours.  Not bad for a full-time, working mother.

I have excellent time management skills. I juggle my work and the supervision of three others and I fill-in for my boss when he is out.  I’ve done this for years . . .  so, what gives?

Beats me.

Lately work has been crazy and I’ve had a terrible time focusing when I do get a chance to sit down in front of the computer.  Not a good thing when you’re trying to maximize your writing time.

So, I’ve decided to go back to basics and seek some help. Obviously, my life and workload have shifted so I need to re-adjust my time allocation and techniques to maximize my writing time. And, like any good attorney, I went looking for some research tools – some advice from others who have been there and bought the t-shirt.

So, I have started reading this:

We’ll see if it helps.  It’s gotta be better than crawling into a fetal position and crying over blank pages.

What do you do to make time to write?  What do you do when life throws you a curveball?


16 thoughts on “#&*$%@$ Day Job!

  1. Oh, Robin-Mermaid! I totally hear you. I have been feeling so overwhelmed lately – and I don’t even have kids. (Repeat for the thousandth time: I don’t know how parents do everything!)

    Between day job, attempting to write, keeping up with emails, running errands, trying to have a life, I’m just beat. And lately it’s really been hindering my writing.

    So I made a new rule this week. Usually at day job I keep my personal email up all day and consequently feel really overwhelmed by it. So from now on, I can check it three times, and three times only, while at work. Once in the morning, during my lunch hour and once in the afternoon. I’ve only been doing this for a couple days, but it’s made a huge difference.

    Also, I’m trying to schedule in writing time. I’m a slave to my planner. So while it’s not the most creative way to go about things, it does help me feel like I’m allowed to write – because it’s scheduled in.

    Let me know how you like that book. 😉

    1. Kerri – I also have started cutting back on personal email during the day and it has reduced the stress level.

      Great idea on the scheduling. Every published author says to treat your writing like a job.


  2. I’m right there with you Robin! I always tell everyone I was meant to be independently wealthy, something just happened along the way. 🙂 I’m usually good at time management but went off the rails too. Hurry up and finish that book, I want to know if I should download it.

  3. I feel your pain girlfriend!

    For the past year my husband has been in school earning his Master’s. While this is great, this also means he has been little or no help at home. I have a daughter who has developed some significant health issues over the past six months involving many trips to UVA. My dad died right before Christmas and my mom had a stroke in April. Needless to say–motivation is not my friend!

    It can be so overwhelming when everyday life conspires against you. For a long time it seemed like I would open my laptop and stare at the blank page or I would edit the same scene to death, unable to really move forward. Now I force myself to schedule in time to write, just like a doctor’s appointment or going to the gym. Then, I force myself to write something, anything, so long as I’m writing, because let’s face it, you can’t edit a blank page. Once the words are on the screen I can delete the crap and edit the rest. Sometimes reading a page or two from something someone else agonized over can be inspiring. Maybe read a particularly effective scene or a page where the dialog is full of witty banter out of a favorite book before you sit down at your own computer. And sometimes I just need time away from my computer. Taking a few days off and then looking at your work with fresh eyes can also help motivate you.

    I hope this helps.

    1. Dana – Thanks for the encouragement. And hugs all that you have ahd o go through.

      I loved this line: “you can’t edit a blank page.”


  4. Robin–I’m ‘write’ there with you! (See what I did there 🙂 ? ) Humor! It’s the only way around it. After my year (as stated in earlier blog this week) it’s been tough. I went for my physical and broke down a bit (stress). Thank God I have an understanding nurse practicioner who is funny and understanding! When she asked the standard–Do you smoke? No. Do you drink? Every damn chance I can (LOL). We got to talking about my Amaretto and Sprites I enjoy a few times a month. (Ask Mermaid Susan–she knows–it’s how we met at retreat and yes–only DiSorrona will do.)
    When I asked her if she had any suggestions for my condition she said, go home and have an Amaretto and listen to Michael Buble. Good Advice!
    Now as far as everything else, I went back lately to writing lists (I’m hell on lists). Cross things off as you do them and always put write 1,000 word today on story as priority. I’ve vowed to only get on each of my emails once a day. But between waiting to hear back from editors/agents–looking for jobs/sending out resumes–and keeping up with loops, not always easy task anymore. Someone told me recently to shut down all electronics for one hour (don’t answer phones) and have quality time for you. I’ve yet to try it but sounds good.

    All the best and may you (and all my friends out there) find your ‘write’ time to shine.


  5. Hey Robin,

    It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on time management, even if your time is at a minimum, you know what to do with it. I kind of hear that part of you that is feeling stressed or pressured when you do sit down to write. I know it’s hard if you only have an hour or so and it takes fifteen minutes to shut everything out and get in the zone. Sometimes there’s just too much going on to be able to sit down at that computer and write with a purely focused mind on your story. When this happens, I take my work to bed with me. Literally, I just lay down to go to sleep but I keep my characters with me and just think about them and what they’re doing, technically you’re still working on your project, but now you are relaxed and hopefully in the comfort and safety of your own bed, things aren’t pulling you in all different directions. Then the next day try putting it down on the keyboard. It helps me when I just don’t feel it at my desk.

    1. Carlene – I have done that as well – gone to sleep with my characters on my mind and then woke up at 2 am and wrote a chapter! it was bliss.


  6. You crack me up, Robin! Funny, I’ve been feeling the exact same way. Could be summer in the air. Juggling is a tough job and I suspect it won’t stop until retirement and the kids leave the nest. But hey, they say, “If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.” You might be doing more for your writing by staying busy than you realize.

  7. I am an event planner and own my company, which is great, BUT my job can get crazy – like now – when I am working 16 hour days and travel across country, once a month, like now i am in vegas for the sixth time in the past five months – well i sometimes wonder if i am fooling myself about being a writer. But nah, I love it too much, so I decided to become more involved with writers. I actively sought out critique partners, went to more chapter meetings, I blog and tweet and write and I don’t beat myself up about those periods when I can’t write because of work. I plan for those times when i can write. After I finish this event I will get back to DC two days before Nationals, and then I will be Denny S. Bryce again for the next five months. Now it’s up to me to use that time.

  8. I love all of this advice. I’ll just add my own two cents. When you do find time to write but find yourself stuck, set your timer for ten minutes and then tell yourself to go! Write as fast as you can until the timer goes off. Hopefully by that point, the words will be flowing and you will have a productive session. If not, repeat. At the very least, you will get words on the page!

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