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How a busy working parent finds time to write

June 18, 2017

 

I am someone who really enjoys having a template or standard to go by. It's like growth curves for children - how can you know if your little one is too little if you have no idea what is considered normal?

 

Now, I am far from exemplary by any means, and this is certainly much less scientific than the CDC growth charts. Still, I wanted to give other writers struggling with balancing work/family/other hobbies an idea about what it could look like. I have also posted about what my results have been so far to give an idea of what this amount of time commitment can yield (though I'm sure many have earned more with less!).

 

This was going to be a nice summary of what a typical week looks like. But here's the thing - there is no typical week. I have found motherhood to have chilled me out a lot in this regard. Before, when I had my little Saturday planned, woe be to the husband that tried to tell me at 8:30 am that he wanted us to go to the movies that afternoon. 

 

Whether it's life or age or having a kid, I am much more comfortable with a "no plan" plan than I would have been a few years ago. As any parent can tell you, schedules and small children do not mix.

 

However, the basic outline of my free time does tend to remain the same from week to week.

 

Mondays and Tuesdays:

5:15pm -  I get home with our son and we play outside or he watches Sesame Street while I make dinner. There is quite a bit of email and Facebook checking happening during this time as well.

6:15 My husband gets home and we eat.

6:45 - he gives our son a bath and puts him to bed while I clean up from dinner.

7:30 to 10 - writing time! 

10 - bed time! Early by some standards, but I do not drink coffee and need lots of sleep to function properly. 

 

Wednesdays tend to be my gym night, and I head out as soon as my husband gets home. I still try and squeeze in some writing time when I get back, usually around 9.

 

Thursdays my husband and I usually watch something together, or go out, but not until our son is asleep. I can usually get in a half hour of writing time at some point.

 

Fridays are up in the air. We're all pretty exhausted so Frozen, Hulu, and pizza usually make a regular appearance.

 

Weekends I can get in another 2 or 3 hours per day at least, usually an hour in the mornings while my husband takes my son to the park, and another hour or two in the afternoon during his nap. Since our son is very young, we have no sports or school activities to worry about.

 

I any given week I have about 10 guaranteed hours of writing time, though recently it's a bit closer to 15. More than that would be possible, if I woke up earlier/went to bed later, and if I cut out gym and husband time, which I don't want to do. Priorities for me are a healthy body and marriage before writing.

 

One very important thing to note is that "writing time" does not always mean "writing words for a story" but could be any combination of research/actual writing/marketing/taking courses/reading blogs/writing my own blog/etc. The days when I only have a half hour, it tends to be more Facebook and less actual writing. I aim for 3000 words per week, which is about 500 words per day. Writing new stuff goes much much faster than revising and editing.

 

So there you have it! 50 hours of a full-time job outside of the home with commute + 51 hours of sleep + 15 hours of weekday family/chores time + 5 hours of gym/husband time + 30 to 40 hours of weekend family/chores time = 10-15 hours for a part-time writing/marketing/publishing hobby/job.

 

What does your week look like? How much writing time do you usually manage to get in?

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