This week’s post is less to do with writing and more to do with “how the heck do you juggle everything”. I was recently given the opportunity to write for money. Twice. Gasp! Someone is willing to pay for my words? Cool. I’ll do both. And I’ll continue with my ‘day job’ and keep a clean house, happy kids and hubby, and my sanity. Turns out that might be a hard trick to pull off.
Here’s a look at my day, and this is not to complain, but to give a better picture of what I’m talking about.
5-5:30am – Roll out of bed mumbling obscenties and go make the first pot of coffee.
5:30-6:30am – answer emails, check bank account, update sites like Facebook, Goodreads, etc. Drink two to three cups of coffee. Review previous day’s writing.
6:30-8am – Daycare kids begin arriving. Breakfast, dress kids, take dogs out (if Kurt isn’t home), more coffee, dress myself, remember to brush hair and teeth. Pee.
8-9:00am – Dogs outside again, gather kids, make a to do list, and off to school.
9-11:00am – Errands. Post office, grocery store, coffee and muffin to my mom at work, etc.
11:am – Noon – Clean, make lunch if kids are home, wrestle underwear, toys, and whatnot from dogs, laundry, coffee, naps.
Noon-3:00pm – Write. Articles, WIP, check emails, make phone calls, vacuum, dogs out again, etc.
3:00pm-5pm – pick up kids from school, supper, homework, daycare kids picked up by parents, wrestle kids from dogs so they can go home, clean, find poop in closet, ferret escapes, make another pot of coffee
5pm-7:00pm – Answer emails, update/research assignments for paper, research or plan articles for Examiner.com
7:00pm-9pm – Baths, snacks, clean, bedtime for kids
9pm-11:pm – Read, write, edit, and last minute touches to anything needing work before sending off to paper.
11pm-ish – bed
With this new job, which I do love by the way, my day is modified slightly if I have an assignment. So if it were a Tuesday, that might include a council meeting between 5 and 7pm that I have to attend or a seminar at the school. Then it’s home to make sense of my notes and go through my pictures. Tuesday to Friday are much the same. Most days I work in taking the kids to the park or at the very least, outside to play. Weekends are more flexible and are the days when I can sleep until 7am if I want to. Yay me!
Why do I do this to myself? I do it for a couple of reasons. First, I have a goal, as I’ve mentioned before. I want to actually work as a writer. I want to publish my books and sell them and make a career out of something I absolutely love doing. This insanity is moving me forward on that road. Second, I’m nuts that way. I like to be busy and by busy I mean doing anything other than housewifery. Third, is my refusal to admit that I can’t. Silly reason, I know. But it won’t change.
As an ‘aspiring writer’ there are several things that one must do to continue moving toward that goal. You must network, and read, and write, and critique and, oh my the list is endless. I can usually pound out a chapter or two in a day (mind you that’s a very rough chapter or two), critique another writer’s work, and still have time for other things. But I didn’t have to go ‘out’ to work before and that made it easier to fit that writing stuff into my day.
So far it’s been about a month and I’m just barely keeping all the balls in the air. I don’t want to sound like a whiner, because I’m not whining, I think I’m very lucky to have these opportunities and for that reason, I WILL make this work. But I’m curious to know how others do it. How do you keep the publishing wheel turning? Market, network, write, study, and grow. Then I wonder how you balance that task with the rest of life. Kids, jobs, home, friends, and remembering to eat and sleep. I’ve tried to set a schedule, but a freelance reporter is apparently not allowed to have a schedule. So I try to at least hide away a secret hour or two to write, another less secret hour or four to clean and take care of home stuff, and then another few moments for things like breathing.
I’d like to think I’m not insane. I believe that nothing is free. Anything worth having requires that you work for it and this craziness that I’m wading through right now is just a temporary thing that will show rewards and will push me closer to my overall goal. What do you think? How do you manage to keep juggling?