How to Write When Life Gets in the Way

My writing notebooks, sometimes notes, sometimes passages
Five children, one husband, a home, work inside and out of the home.  I thought it was difficult when the children were smaller.  I’m learning that older children require just as much time. 
Then there are the extended family obligations, like downsizing my mother-in-law’s 90 years’ worth of possessions so that she will be able to go to an assisted living apartment.
I realize I’m not alone in having other obligations when trying to find time to write.  Most writers have a host of other obligations, too.  Here are some methods I’ve come up with to tuck a bit of writing into my harried life.
Keep a notebook handy for ideas and reminders while you go through life’s busywork.  You can use electronic devices here.  Then when you’re finally able to get to your computer to work, you have a better chance to be productive.    
I tend to carry a notebook and pen everywhere I go.  I do this even on family vacations.  If I’m not documenting family adventures, I’m taking notes for writing projects.
Write during lunchtime breaks instead of socializing.  This is tough, I know.   Humans are social creatures.  The same holds true if you can convince your spouse to take the family to a party and allow you time to write.  Although with five children, I’m usually the one organizing the blasted event.
 Write before the family awakens in the morning, or if you’re a night owl, write after the house is quiet.  I’m the morning bird here.
When all else fails, see if you can find a half hour to hide out…ahem…I mean work in the local library.  This is helpful if you’re the type of writer who tries to work from home where those children and husband live and the busywork surrounds you, calling you by name. 
At times it may seem that the family bond, or your job, is more pressing than the call to write.  Life is not a dress rehearsal.  We go through it only once.  Not everyone can live as long as my mother-in-law and celebrate her 90th birthday.  I need to remind myself of this often.  Still, I try to write whenever I can, and if you want to also, try some of these ideas. 

If you have other ideas on how to fit writing into an already busy life, please share them with me.  Thanks!  Good luck with your writing projects.  

14 thoughts on “How to Write When Life Gets in the Way”

  1. These are all great suggestions. I always wrote in a journal when I had no time for any other kinds of writing, but after reading about Natalie Goldberg's (Writing Down the Bones) idea of "writing practice" I really wish I'd done that as well.

  2. These are some great suggestions. I don't write, but I'm always jotting things down whether it's notes for shopping or things I have to do around the house. I always enjoy reading your blogs. I love the humor you add to them. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog, Karen. Yes, I've always wrote in journals. I'll have to check out Natalie's book Writing Down the Bones to pick up other ideas. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  4. Thanks, Michelle, for stopping by my Adventures in Writing blog. I'm definitely a notes person. I leave notes for my children on mirrors, TV, and doors, and for myself on the refrigerator and steering wheel of the car.
    Oh, and I always believe that humor helps. Thanks again for visiting.

  5. I think when you don't work outside the home or don't work full time, then people tend to rely on you more. Many of your suggestions are ones I use. I write when I first wake up and nobody is up yet. I write on my lunch break. I'll even write when my kids are at their activities. Wherever and whenever I can squeeze it in. I'm glad you seemed to have a productive summer anyway!

  6. Thanks for sharing, Theresa. I write at softball games, soccer matches, even swim meets. The only time I can't jot down notes is when my daughter's in a play or at at the children's music concerts. I think you're correct. When people hear that you're a stay-at-home mom, they think you have all this time. I decided to start college once the twins, my babies, started school.
    Thank you so much for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog. Please stop by again.

  7. I find myself carrying a notebook and pen and with my smart phone, I now have a camera at the ready at all times. This helps with my blog, but with my books…I try to squeeze in time whenever I can and sometimes I am up into the wee hours.

  8. I believe it, Marie. I know your stories keep me up at night. Come to think of it, that may not be what you mean.
    Lucky you to have a smart phone at the ready to take photos for your blog. I still need to use a camera and do things the old fashioned way.
    Thanks so much, Marie, for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog and leaving a comment. It is greatly appreciated.

  9. Thank you, Nas. As I told Marie, I'm old fashioned and love my notebook and pen. Sometimes it's just the best way, light and convenient.
    Thanks so much, Nas, for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog and leaving a comment. It is greatly appreciated.


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