Goals · Writers Write

Plan of Attack

Writing is hard work. I’ve read those author blurbs on the back of novels that say things like, “So and so wrote this book sitting on the living room sofa while her two small children watched Barney videos ad nauseam.” I’m exaggerating, but some author bios do sound like, “I’m a writer, and I can crank it out any old time.” This writer can’t. I crave solitude. I choke if anyone breathes in my airspace. (Lilly, the dove-slaying schnauzer, excluded.)  

I need time. I need big dark chocolate chunks of it. I have friends working full time, who get up before dawn to pound out the pages. Once, I listened to a published author talk about dictating a book into a recorder while driving to her day job. Granted, it was a crazy-long commute, but that wouldn’t work for me.  

Herein lies the rub.  I’m a stay-at-home mom.  I have an endless day between the hours of 8:00 and 3:00. I should be able to accomplish some serious work.  Should is the operative word.  In the working world, I lived by the clock, but I longed to set my own agenda.  A few years later, I’m back to planning all my spare moments. I discovered the myth of unstructured time.  

Below is my current schedule:

8:00 take kids to school.

8:15 walk in the park, morning pages.

9:15-10:15 session 1- WiP (work in progress)

10:15-10:45 break time. In other words, laundry, dishes and assorted household tasks.

10:45-11:45 session 2-WiP

11:45-12:15 break time. More laundry, lunch, plan dinner.

12:15-1:15 session 3-WiP

1:15 Free at last! Except for grocery shopping, taking back the library books, assorted working mom junk.

3:00 get the kids from school.  At this point the day is no longer mine. It belongs to Cherry and Coco.

I can do this, right?  Today, the phone rang five times in the four hours between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. “Since you’re not really working, you can take the dog to the groomer, get the oil changed in the car, run to the post office, volunteer for school, church, neighborhood committees. . .”  You get the picture.  

So, here’s a mild rant.  The answer is NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!  

Why am I so emphatic? Because I have so much trouble saying it. The N word does not form easily on my lips. “Of course, I can bring a salad to the church brunch on the 29th.” Later, I say to myself, What was I thinking? I need to write on the 29th, and I hate myself for it.  

So, here’s a tip. If you call during this time, I’m not going to answer.  If you ask . . . I’m going to say, no. I’m not angry. I’m determined. I want to finish this book while I still know these people. Then, I want to write the next one.  

(Sorry for all the yelling.)

2 thoughts on “Plan of Attack

  1. NO is the hardest word to learn, lemme tell you!! I’ve learned it, but I still feel bad saying it. But you’ve got to guard your writing time!

    I know what you mean about unstructured time, though. I have the worst time getting into a schedule in the summer because I have all this freedom! I usually get into it by July, but that’s a month wasted.

    Good luck!!!


  2. Thanks Mary! I admire you so much. You manage to get a lot done in little time. Summer schedule is hard for me too. The kids are home all day! Just when I get a plan going, things change. Liz


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