Thursday, March 19, 2009

Where Have All the Hours Gone

So many of us are juggling jobs, kids, household chores and still daring to call our 'real' job as being a writing professional. Despite my determination to be an author, in high school and college, my academic strength was math and science. And I have to say when looking at all those jobs I listed above, the numbers just don't add up.
Let's start with a big time drain, that dreaded day job. Even if you love that job, it interfers with your writing time. Let's give that job at least ten hours if it's full time. An hour to get ready, half hour to get there, eight hours on the job and another half an hour home. So, 10.
Now, you probably have to spend at the least another hour in the morning getting the kids ready for school or the sitter and if they're very young, get them breakfast. So now the total is 11.
Once home from work you have a variety of things to do. Fix dinner, dishes, perhaps laundry, help the kiddies with homework or spend some good family time with them. If they're older, you may be spending hours at athletic endeavors, dance practice, music lessons or just on the road as the family taxi service. This is going to take no less than three hours and likely more. 14
The evening would be deeply upon you by now and you might think you have time to do some promotion, but it's time to put the kids to bed, read the little ones a story and do that softball uniform for the older one she has it clean for tomorrow. 15
Finally the kids are in the bed, the spouse asleep in front of a basketball game on the telly, and you can sit down in front of your computer. You visit a few blogs and update your status on facebook and twitter. Finally you open up your WIP and read the last few pages you wrote the day before. Probably it was only two pages at the most. You gather up the threads of your plot and finally find the emotion you want to instill in your prose when your jaw cracks with a might yawn. Three more hours so you're at 18.
You fall into bed and get up at 5:30 am to start all over the next day. You glance at the morning paper and see a health article on the minimum requirement for a good night's sleep is seven and you've been averaging five and a half to six. Geez, who didn't know that?
As a former math whiz, I know I don't have enough hours in the day to be all I want to be. But I won't give up and neither should you. There are days when I want to put it all aside because I have so many other things I could fill those precious couple of hours I spend at the keyboard. But I don't. I squeeze in every minute I can including writing this post while my favorite show, Supernatural is playing. When it's over I'm going to get back to the edits on Beyond the Gate, the second book in my fantasy series from Medallion Press. After I do at least twenty pages, I'll go get my six hours of sleep for the night. How many hours do you average?


  1. I think I am down to l5 and less, depending on whether I am writing / editing / or so darn tired I can't stay away no matter what! In a way it is reassuring that there are others like me, squeezing the moments from each day when I can write, or edit or blog. And yet there is a form of desperation to this time search that is so sad because eventually I find myself just too tired to concentrate. If you ever come up with a solution, let me know. :)

  2. Please tell me you wrote this post during commercials while Supernatural was on! That was not a show to miss any nuances of! LOL

    I get between 3 and 6 hours of sleep a night. I often doze off during homework time, listening to Number Two practice viola, or while I wait for Number One to come out to the car from soccer practice. And my day job is at home now!

  3. You are amazing, but you don't want to know how many hours I get. Let's just say more. Your day does sound a bit hectic, but you seem to have made it work. No matter how many hours I have, or don't have, I don't get much done until I am pressed for time. Deadlines really work for me, even when they are imposed by my kids, my husband, my mother. Besides, how many times do we set aside a day for writing and then only get two pages.
    Best of luck with your edits.

  4. I'm with you on this one, Sue. I'm afraid to know how many hours of sleep I get. This is definitely a good time for a case of "ignorance is bliss".