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The Write Time
by Shaunna Privratsky
The kids must be fed, (and your spouse, too) the
dishes lurk in the sink and dirty laundry creeps and multiplies like a freakish
virus. Not to mention your job, grocery shopping, hauling kids to the park,
myriad sports and activities. Add 101 tasks that you simply must do and it is no
wonder that you throw up your hands in despair and wail, "I don't have time to
Time is the most universally sought-after
commodity, yet it cannot be bought, sold, bribed, stretched or dodged. It's
free, but we always seem to want or need more. The key to time management is
prioritizing. You already do this unconsciously; now take it to another
List everything you do in a typical day. Put a
star by the tasks you must accomplish. Then make another list, including the
things you would like to do. Compare your lists. Are there pockets of time you
could use for writing? Do your kids typically take a forty-five minute nap at
1:15 pm? Could you forgo an hour or two of TV time? Is your writing more
important than a completely spotless house?
I have mixed feelings about the summer school
vacation. Since I work at my children's school as a supervisor, my income is cut
in half. I do appreciate the break, however. In addition, relaxed schedules,
more family fun and togetherness and being outdoors top my list of
On the other hand, my writing time shrinks to
almost nothing. It seems there is always something more urgent or someone
whining "Are you ever going to get off the computer?" I've discovered some
timely tricks that work for me.
I get up about an hour earlier than my family. I
love the early-morning hush in our household, cradling a delicious cup of coffee
while I type fast and furiously with the other hand. Mornings are my best
writing time, when I transpose rough drafts, create new pieces and revel in the
written word. All too soon I hear a sleepy voice call "Mom?" and I must put my
work away for later.
During our hectic day, I jot down any ideas or
fresh angles that pop into my head. When I get a few minutes I enter them into
my phrase notebook. Sometimes a great line, unique name or a fresh observation
will clamor for my attention.
If I have a deadline, I'll plant myself in front
of the computer. If my kids [or spouse] whines, I shamelessly bribe them. If
they let me work, we'll do something extra-special a little later. So far they
feel they're getting the best of the bargain.
Other pockets of free time may unexpectedly open
up if my children are invited to a birthday party or if they are playing at a
friend's house. The key is to seize those moments and write your heart out. The
words may sizzle across the page like lightning, igniting the spark of
creativity. Other times the sentences must be carefully extracted from the
granite encasing them. The important thing is to write, to get that first draft
down when the time is right.
At the end of the day, once my children are
sleeping, I creep downstairs to the computer and work on queries, submissions,
tracking and organization and research. Getting the most important tasks done
first helps speed up my work.
Writing is my passion. I have learned to
prioritize the many areas of my life and writing has become a treasured part of
my schedule. My family is much more tolerant now that I have a growing number of
published and paid articles and stories. It's surprising how much credibility
you gain when you hold that first check in your hot little hand.
If you treat your writing as a hobby, you'll
never have enough time to write. Give writing the importance of a job, devote
time to the necessary tasks and use your enthusiasm as a shield against the
demands of life.
Summertime is all about flexibility. You may not
have a rigid schedule for your writing, but if you try hard enough, you can bend
your schedule to fit around your need for time to write. You may be forced to
take a day, a week or even longer off. Use the vacation to generate new
If you truly want to write, you'll make the
time. If you love immersing yourself in language, when the words beg to be
written, or if you can't sleep until you get one more chapter done, you'll find
time to write. When your soul demands it, you'll discover the write time. Keep
your family happy while you write and you'll be well on your way to a productive
and profitable summer.
© Copyright 2003, Shaunna Privratsky
Shaunna Privratsky writes fulltime from North Dakota, in between shoveling snow. Please visit The Writer Within at http://shaunna67.tripod.com. We are looking for new writers and we are a paying market.
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