When I was a moonlighter with a day job, I kept a pretty tight schedule.
Until my son started pre-school, I was working 8:30-5:30 Monday-Friday. I had a telecommute day on Monday, so I got to avoid my two-hour commute that day.
On my commuting days, I got up at 5:20, took a shower and got breakfast and lunch ready for me and the kiddo. Then I had 30-45 minutes for freelancing before we had to hit the road. I wrote blog posts for a client, did email troubleshooting for the Freelance Writers Den, and sometimes conducted interviews.
At lunch, I typically ran errands or bought groceries to keep my evenings and weekends free. It’s amazing how efficient you can be at Fred Meyer when you’ve only got 20 minutes.
I got home from work about 7:00 each night, and I spent an hour and a half eating dinner, playing with the kiddo, and getting him bathed and turned over to my husband. Then more freelancing until bed around 10.
When he entered pre-school, I shifted my schedule to 7:30-4:30, which meant no time in the morning for work. That meant I had to do more after he and I got home, but things still seemed to work out okay.
Pacific Northwest Writers was done mainly on weekends because I needed larger chunks of time to devote to editing the transcripts and assessing what I wanted to say for the introduction and conclusion. This time was also when I did other bigger projects, such as writing articles, editing blog posts for Make a Living Writing, and writing pitches and letters of introduction to potential clients. I typically used Boomerang to schedule these emails to arrive during the week, though.
I quit my day job about a month ago, and the kiddo started full-day kindergarten. We decided we could afford this because we’d be saving on day care/preschool costs and my gas for that long commute.
This change has thrown my schedule into disarray. I have a good chunk of time during the day, but I’m not using as wisely as I was when I was working a full-time job outside the home. I guess it’s true what they say: work will expand to fit the time you have available.
Next week, I’m going to try something different. I’m going to start using an alarm again to get up at 5:00 and do some fiction writing. I’ll use Sage Cohen’s advice of starting with free writing to get my brain working, then (I hope) be able to slip right into some writing. I’ll break around 6:30 to get a shower and get the kiddo ready and delivered to school.
On Friday of next week, I’ll let you know how it went and whether I plan to continue with the early morning wake-ups.
How do you schedule your writing time? Tell us in the comments below.