Tag Archives: time management

End of Year Reality Check

The last time I blogged was October and the post was about being so busy September was a blur. Now it’s December. What the?

I recently celebrated a birthday and the year is coming to an end. I’m not one to make serious resolutions, but I’ve found myself thinking about my life and making plans to slow down so I don’t feel like life is passing me by at warp speed.

One of my realizations is that I can’t keep up the pace I’ve set for myself since the time I first had a job and goals and a personal drive that once got me labeled as a “rabid overachiever.” Are there shots for that? Anyway, I still have a job and goals and the desire to achieve them, but I have to manage everything in a way that won’t leave me feeling like I’m treading water.

Don’t get me wrong, life is good–really! I have a great job, an amazing daughter, supportive family and friends, and a debut novel on the way, which is a dream come true. Still, a personal reality check recently led me to this simple conclusion: I’m not a spring chicken. I’m not old. I know that. But, I can’t keep moving at the same pace I set for myself when I was in my early 20s.

In addition to work, family, and writing, I have become involved with two websites: Latin@s in Kid Lit and the Fearless Fifteeners. I love being a part of both groups and have spent a lot of my time building the site over at Latin@s in Kid Lit with some author-friends-colleagues. I don’t want to give those up. I don’t want to give anything up, really, but I do need to scale back so I can do things well instead of simply getting things done.

Part of my plan is to scale back here. I’ll keep a more regular schedule–I’m thinking Mondays and Thursdays–but I’ll do quicker posts like you might see on Tumblr. But I can’t join that site or Pintrest or anything else. I am the camel and those are the shiny, time-consuming straws I need to avoid. I’ll also engage in some cross-pollination with the other sites I mentioned. Since I’ll be posting on those sites, I’ll either reblog posts here or announce what’s on those sites and link to them.

I want to keep this site active (which it’s not really right  now) especially in the coming year, when all sorts of exciting things will happen like cover reveals and Advanced Reader Copies!!! AHHHH!! But I also want to keep my sanity and be a great mom and teacher and have enough energy to write more books! So, shorter blog posts on a regular basis will be part of the solution. A long soak in a hot tub and regular massages couldn’t hurt either! :.)

Does anyone else struggle with balancing it all? Any tips?

The Struggle for Writing Time

Lately, time to write has been more elusive than ever, even though I know there are plenty of hours in a day—24, in fact. Still, 24 hours hasn’t been enough. My blog hasn’t been updated in well over a month. About a week ago, I told my friend I’d send her the next chapter of my work in progress; it was almost done. It’s still not done. Here’s why:

My day starts around 5:30 a.m. I say “around” because this depends on how many times I hit the snooze button. The morning routine involves taking care of me, my daughter, and my dog. I drop my daughter off at preschool and then race to work, where I start teaching at 7:30 a.m.

Period 2 is my prep period. Sometimes I use it to prep for class. Sometimes I am at a meeting. Sometimes a student comes in and asks me for help with an assignment. This time is never used to write. On Mondays and Thursdays I monitor a study hall during period 5. Perfect, you may think. Forty-seven minutes during which students are quiet and working. That’s an ideal time to write, right? Not so much. This is what happens usually:

Type. Type. Type.

“Yes, you may go to the bathroom.”

Type. Type. Type.

“You’re not allowed to eat in study hall. Please put the cookies away.”

Type. Type. Type.

“Boys, you need to stop arm wrestling. Don’t you have anything to study? This is study hall, after all.”

You get the picture.

My lunch period and after school time are filled with students who need extra help or meetings. On Mondays after school, I go to an in-house yoga class. Ah, yoga. Thank you.

On Wednesdays, my daughter has gymnastics for one glorious hour. I bring my laptop, but a nice woman who is waiting for her daughter usually wants to talk. Sigh.

By the time I get home, I have to feed myself, my daughter, and my dog. After dinner and before bed is a good time to get some writing in, if I am not doing laundry, unpacking groceries, catching up with friends online, or watching the news and, okay, maybe The Biggest Loser or The Voice.

Despite my constant battle with time, I have passed the 50,000 word mark on my work in progress, a YA novel titled AESOP’S CURSE. I guess I must be doing something right—finding time here and there, pounding out a few paragraphs when I can, and giving up vacations in sunny places to stay home and write. I think about the novel when I am driving to work, waiting in line at the grocery store, or folding laundry. I see the scenes in my head like a movie playing out. This way, when I do have the time to write, I know what to put down.

When I read advice for writers online, often the first item is “Write every day.” I can’t. Some of you may say, “Of course you can. Find the time.” I have tried. Writing daily doesn’t work for me. Writing in spurts or on vacation days does. At times, I have felt let down by not being able to meet the daily writing expectation, but I have come to terms it. I am a single mom of a beautiful daughter and a full-time teacher of diverse students. My time with them is important; I need to be present when I am with them.

So, I will continue to give up writing time to take my daughter to the park or help a student with a history paper that is overdue. I will continue to plan out my novel in my head and write when I can—in between study hall reprimands or on my days off. Of course, writing this way means finishing my work in progress will take longer, but that’s okay. I know I will finish this project, start something new, and continue to do the best I can with the time I’ve got.