A Writer’s Schedule

time for writingWhen 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.

I’m going to have to figure something out that help me be more efficient and effective — following the advice of two of the authors I interviewed. Sage Cohen suggests getting started with some free writing to get the juices flowing. And Eric Witchey suggests creating a ritual that gets you into the writing set of mind.

How do you schedule your writing time? Tell us in the comments below.

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