I’m not a full-time writer. I don’t make my living off my books, and I don’t even wish I did.
I write fiction, but I also work full time. And I’m a parent. And I have two live in partners. And I have friends. And I have have to manage my mental health and physical disabilities*. And I have to, like, eat and sleep and exercise and stuff, too. And do errands and get groceries and feed my two cats. I also watch tv and read books and play video games, too, on occasion. And write this blog.
So. I have been asked before how all of the aforementioned things get done. The short answer is they don’t all get done all the time. Something usually gives. Maybe I get All The Things done, but I don’t get enough sleep that day. Or I manage to do the laundry, but I live out of the laundry basket for the next week.
The long answer is everything is juggled. I have juggled things so long, now, that they are routinized. Here is how it gets done (writing stuff is bolded):
A Typical Weekday:
- Wake up at 5:30am
- Walk to the bus stop at 6:00am; catch the 6:12am bus into Denver
- Write on the bus on my morning commute. Usually I can get somewhere between 600-900 words down. I sometimes tweet about my adventures in writing on public transportation using the #BusWriting tag on twitter @B_R_Sanders if you’re interested in what that’s like.
- 7ish-8:30ish: work out and shower at the Downtown Denver YMCA
- 8:30ish-4:30ish: work at my day job
- Catch a bus home (time varies) and do more #BusWriting (so another 600-900 words).
- Get home, and hang out with the family. Post to any extraneous ongoing creative projects (currently, the Supernatural Haiku Project). Put the kiddo down around 8ish. Said kiddo likes to tell me absurd lies about her day (“Today I ate a tree.” “No you didn’t.” “Yes I did.”). Eventually, she falls asleep.
- I turn in soon after to either watch a little TV by myself or read a book. I need a lot of sleep to function well, so usually I’m asleep by 8:30, 9:00pm.
On the Weekends:
There’s no rigid set schedule like the weekdays (man that’s regimented), but there are specific tasks I try very hard to get done every weekend–descending order of urgency:
- Grocery store run
- Blog posts–I try to write the three that need to go up every week and queue them so I don’t have to worry about posting them at work the day of
- Monday: Roundup of anything I did the week before that wasn’t on the blog
- Tuesday: something vaguely reflective of what’s going on in other’s people’s work (book reviews, hot topics in the blogosphere, etc)
- Thursday: something reflective of my own work (writing tips, why I wrote something the way I did, etc)
- answer outstanding writing-related emails
- editing any accepted work
- update the family budget
- resubmitting any rejected work
- website updates as needed
So much juggling, but it works. It’s worked for the last few years, at least, and it’s evolved when it’s needed to. But this is how it all gets done (mostly).
*I have a history of depression, and I struggle daily with an anxiety disorder, such fun! It’s worse in the winter, since I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it’s complicated further by occasional bouts of gender dysphoria (I am trans*). All of these are related to my migraines, which are both mentally and physically debilitating and occur often multiple times a week.