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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 write!"

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 level.

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 positives.

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 ideas.

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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