Monday: Peel myself away from bed at 6:30 a.m. Shower, perform minimal beautifying routine, and drive for an hour. (If I could shower in the car that would give me an extra 30 minutes!) Work 8-4:30. Pick up daughter and arrive home at about 6 p.m. Well, that’s half the day gone. Then there’s dinner for myself and baby girl, crap needs to be done so the house doesn’t attract flies, and a few hours later, I fall into bed. Repeat Tuesday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday – surely I can write for 10 to 12 hours each of those days. Right? (Jabbing you in the ribs, right, right? Wink. Wink.) No. Most of my “free” hours are spent doing laundry, chores, grocery shopping, and caring for my baby girl -- oh and sleeping.
Here’s how my typical Saturday “writing day” went: Woke up, fed self, fed baby, sat in front of computer and began to write. I was able to bang out about 1,000 words over a couple of hours of writing time, interspersed with at least three diaper changes and other interruptions. A good writing day for me.
Don’t misunderstand – I’m not whining (okay, maybe just a little). I love my daughters, husband, and spoiled dogs. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, a decent car, and a job that pays the bills/provides health insurance. I have all of my teeth and a body that is reasonably well-functioning.
If you can churn out a novel in a month or less, and have your ass glued to a chair for 10 to 12 hours a day, congratulations (cha-ching). But most likely you do not have children. As Maury would say: With 99.99 percent certainty, you are not the father (or mother). Side note: I have been a mother since the ripe old age of 17. So, know this before you say I should have sown my writing oats before I became I mother.
What I’m saying is: A novel-completion timeline for me is realistically more like a year, 12 whole months. Now, I need to get back to work. Never forget that: Writing is WORK.
If you have a full-time job (aside from writing) and have children, what is your writing schedule?