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Juggling

14

May 16, 2010 by Renee

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.

Typical Monday:
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?

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14 thoughts on “Juggling

  1. Kate Quinn says:

    No, you aren't insane. You are just incredibly dedicated. I will point this blog post out in future to those people who tell me "I'd love to write a book, I just don't have the time." And then they spend three hours a day on Facebook and daytime television.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Renee You are not insaneBut something is wrongTime does not matter when everything is OKI think it is time change something in Your life

  3. Renee Miller says:

    Kate: Thanks. I can hold off on the meds then. Funny, when I hear someone say they just don't have the 'time' I wonder if they've looked for it. There is always time, you have to make it. Anonymous: I'm not sure I understand what you mean. I'm not complaining that I have all of these good things in my life. I hope that's not how this post came across. I welcome them, because it means I'm doing something to make things happen. But scheduling time for each one is a challenge and occasionally it becomes overwhelming. I do need a change, but I'm thinking a professional organizer or a clone.

  4. Gwen says:

    "I'll tell you what love is. It is Unquestioning self humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your heart and soul to the smiter." — Jasper Fforde (Lost in a Good Book)I think every writer knows that what we're discussing here is love and passion. You either love it or hate it – passionately.

  5. Renee Miller says:

    Very well said, Gwen. I'm adding that quote and yours to my list.

  6. Henry Lara says:

    Very nice post, Ms. Renee. Writing is our career, what we do. We know that most writers don't make enough money to pay the bills by writing alone, yet here we are working harder than ever at our craft. When I changed day jobs, one of the most important things for me was writing time. I would never do anything that takes so much of me that I can't write, no matter the money involved. That's how serious I am about my writing career. In short, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. And we do anything, anything, to make sure we can work in our projects. Because that's what writing fiction demands. Dedication, love, and a touch of madness. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

  7. Renee Miller says:

    Exactly Henry. Me either.

  8. Wendy Swore says:

    My hat is off to you Renee, Excellent post. What it really says is that if it is important to us, then we will MAKE the time.

  9. Rita J. Webb says:

    I have a similar schedule, except I can't get up that early. But I have 8.5 hours at work each day plus 1.5 hours of driving. I also homeschool my kids. Though my husband does most of the daily homeschooling, I give special lessons two or three times a week to cover science, history, and creative writing.I've been racing through life as if everything is a fire that must be put out yesterday. My husband has been getting on my case. "You're going to burn out at this rate," he told me. Then I took a time management class that taught me not to treat important things as if they were urgent things. Schedule them into your day rather than scheduling your day around them. So I took a project and planned a schedule for it.FIRST, I broke it into pieces (plotting, writing, editing, finding an agent, etc).SECOND, I figured out the steps for each piece. For example, editing would consist of (1) chapter by chapter review, (2) flushing out description, (3) checking for trigger words like "was", "just", and "that"…THIRD, I scheduled each step, giving it a deadline. I spread the schedule out over a reasonable amount of time.This has given me a more long term perspective on my projects. Rather than thinking, "I have to have this story done TODAY," I focus on the one or two steps that I scheduled.

  10. Renee Miller says:

    Yes Wendy. That's exactly it. Just like we make time for our family, our friends, and (ugh) our jobs, we will find the time to do what we're passionate about too. It does get overwhelming though. This weekend I took a break, went somewhere fun with the kids for the day. There were big strong men (and women), chainsaws, beer, sunshine, arr,arr,arr,(Tim the toolman, if you're wondering what the arr was)I got a lovely sunburn, bug bites, and an awful headache…and boy, was it worth it. Put everything into perspective and recharged my batteries.

  11. Susan says:

    Someday, you wake up and think, wow, where did the time go? I remember, oh, ten years back, juggling kids, sports, (each one devoted to a different one) homework, full time job, (single parenting), housework, boys fights, the list goes on. I didn't write back then. I bet if I had, it would have been a great release but I don't think I would have had the energy, so I feel for you and admire you. Your dream is something no one can ever take away and it's up to you and only you to achieve it. It helps to have good kids and an understanding partner. And you drink too much coffee. Hmmm…I think I'll go get another cup.

  12. Renee Miller says:

    Thanks Susan. I do drink too much coffee. 😉

  13. Deana says:

    Hey! I'm following you from twitter hop thurs:)www.momstheglue.blogspot.com

  14. Renee Miller says:

    I do believe I'm following you too. Hmm. It's nice when stalker behavior is encouraged. I'm checking out your blog right now. **waves** See? That's me in the corner. No, it's okay. I prefer lurking.

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Renee

Renee

I like to write stuff. Sometimes it's funny. I've published some novels and short fiction. I also battle an addiction to cake and potato chips, and I sometimes have inappropriate fantasies involving Kevin Spacey.

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