Time Management

The thing about time management around here is that, basically, there hasn’t been any such thing in four months. And I’m not just talking about writing, though that’s definitely been the area that’s “suffered” most in this transition into the job of Mommy.

(If one could really call it “suffering”. See my previous post for my true thoughts on that subject.)

A couple weeks ago I took a class through RWAUniversity (RWA‘s online education system that offers great free and paid classes for members) on time management for writers. It was a much needed reminder that, yes, I can make writing a priority even though I sometimes feel like I’m going to go crazy from the short naps and marathon nursing days and little-person laundry that seems never ending.

The ironic part was that I forgot I’d signed up for the class until the first digest popped into my inbox.

Time management is a big deal when you’re pursuing success in any career. As a teacher, I still struggle after 8 years to keep up with grading papers. You’d think by now I’d have a system, but rather I have only good intentions. But in writing, a venture that can be all-consuming or fall by the wayside, you do need to make time work for you.

Not so long ago, my writing happened around artificial deadlines I created for myself. If I didn’t hit a deadline, I adjusted it. I’d putter here and there in the evenings and on weekends. Periodically, mostly on school breaks, I’d hammer away all day and forget to eat lunch.

I don’t have that luxury anymore. As previously mentioned, Babycakes naps for 45 minutes at a time, at most, and when she’s awake, she’s the thing that’s all-consuming – and rightly so. She’s not old enough to entertain herself while I work on a project for hours on end. By the time she’s down for those near-disaster naps, I fly around the house trying to keep up on general chores and, this is actually sad, checking email. I pray every evening at about 4:15 that she’ll go down easily for one last nap and stay asleep long enough for me to at least get dinner in the oven.

Things are starting to morph into a schedule, but it’s a weird one that still fluctuates on a daily basis. Even the fact that I have time to blog right now is sort of a miracle. Since moving Babycakes to her own room, we’ve mostly gotten our evenings back, such as they are. But by this point in the day, the last thing I have energy for is writing. It’s unfortunate, and perhaps someday it’ll change. I mean, sometimes she’s out for the night by 7:30, other times I’m resettling her for the third time by 9:00.

Working the kinks out of a sleep training method that makes all of us happy is going to take some time. That’s all I’ll say on that score for now.

But as I’m starting to get rambly, as my mommy-brain tends to get a lot these days, I’ll come to a point. The fact that I have very few actual moments of free, quiet time to myself, I have to learn to manage my time very efficiently if I’m to have any hope of writing something of quality in the next couple years. Just as I don’t want to give up my teaching career forever, at least not yet, I don’t want to let my writing career shuffle to the back burner until Babycakes and her possible future siblings are off to college.

When you’re in a time crunch, you may surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. I can clean three bathrooms in thirty minutes. If I do the right kind of pre-writing, I can probably churn out something decent in that same amount of time.

Next week is the last Book In A Week challenge for 2014. I’m hoping to add 2000 words to my historical romance and get blurbs for at least five future book ideas written out. I have nine days, each with four 45-minute nap windows. I know two of those days will probably only have one or two such windows, so I’ll be conservative. Five days to get this done means 20 sessions, 45 minutes each, give or take (because naps are never really a sure thing).

I’ll report back before Christmas.

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