I’m Back From Vacation, But I Need A Vacation (Or A Clone)

Last week was spring break.  The kids were at my mother-in-law’s house all week.  We had a camping trip, I worked two days, and then we were off to my mother-in-law’s house to spend a couple days there before making the five-hour drive back home.

I thought I was ready to begin this week, but I’ve changed my mind.  I expected a lull in the hectic times so I could get a jump on some writing, but I was mistaken.  My optimism desperately tries to poke through my frustration to convince me, “it’s just one more week and then life will slow down,” but I won’t let myself believe that lie (it’s the same one I’ve believed every week since the end of January.)

Since getting back home late Saturday afternoon, I’ve managed to sift through the stack of mail, wash and dry four loads of laundry, make a valiant attempt to catch up on blog-related stuff, buy the kids new shoes, go grocery shopping and watch a movie with the kids.  I even managed to force encourage my older son to read for 56 minutes to make up for the reading he did not get done during break.

Do you see any writing in that list?  Neither do I.

I checked my email last night and found out that my younger son’s T-Ball practices start today.  Yes, today.  I thought I had until April 2nd before that madness began, but again, I was wrong.  My older son has gymnastics classes twice this week (to make up for a missed class last week), I’ve got a big work project that may require extra hours to complete by Friday, and I’m preparing for a weekend retreat that I’m attending with a friend (I’m leaving from work on Friday afternoon – no time to go home first.)

I’m thinking I can pencil writing in for a quick date on Wednesday, but I hesitate to that because I’ll feel like such a cad when I have to cancel (again) at the last minute.  To my neglected writing, I will be a “wanna be” writer unable to keep promises made.  To me, I’ll be, well…the same thing.  I feel like I’m on a roller coaster, but I don’t know when it will slow enough for me to catch my breath before spiraling into the next loop.

I still believe that life takes precedence over writing, and that I will not impose stress-inducing, self-inflicted word or page count deadlines upon myself.  That being stated, I would like to finish the first draft of my second manuscript by year-end, so I can polish it up for a conference I hope to attend in spring of 2012.  At this rate, I won’t be ready for the 2014 conference.

I guess all I can do is sit back and hold on tight while life takes me on a ride.  And, when life isn’t looking, I’ll steal a few hours to finish my character research so I can begin my novel.  Yes, I’ll be as sneaky as a child snagging cookies from the cookie jar.

How do you fit in writing when life doesn’t want to cooperate?


24 thoughts on “I’m Back From Vacation, But I Need A Vacation (Or A Clone)

  1. Hilary Clark March 21, 2011 / 7:50 AM

    I fit it in with deadlines and goals. I’ve set a 500 wpd goal for my writing. This can be “new” writing or editing. When things get crazy, I give myself permission for 100 WPD, but with a deadline where I have to bump back up to 500 (i.e. a few days, no more than a week).

    When things are SUPER hectic and finding time to squeeze out even 100 words is impossible, I give my Muse free rein to come up with ideas that I jot down in my handy little notebook. She works best when I’m busy with chores, errands, and other mind-numbing necessities anyway.

    If all else fails, give yourself permission to take a few days for “vacation”, then come back to your writing renewed. Hang in there!!

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2011 / 7:21 PM

      I like the idea break because you are still being productive even if it doesn’t result in immediate word count. (I often get ideas when I’m working and I jot them down on scratch paper. Sometimes I can find them later, sometimes not.)

      I appreciate the tips, Hilary!

  2. 2blu2btru March 21, 2011 / 7:58 AM

    I wasn’t successful at the cookie jar thing, so I don’t employ that one in my everyday life for anything. As far as fitting writing in when life doesn’t cooperate, I have a few ways that work for me:

    1. Lunch break–we get an hour, and unless it’s a payday and I’m paying bills, I can get away with eating in a few minutes and spending the rest of the time writing.
    2. Early Saturday morning, before anyone I know is awake–except my aunt, who has been trained not to call early Saturday. As I awake at my usual time (6:30ish) on the weekends as well (for continuity, and because my body won’t let me sleep in anymore), I have a solid two-five hours in which to accomplish whatever I choose before the day actually begins.
    3. While washing/drying clothes. I have to go to the complex’s laundry to wash clothes, and I don’t like to leave them in the machines (it’s rude, and I don’t trust people not to take my comfy socks and work pants), so I sit there for at least an hour (30 wash, 30-45 dry)–a perfect opportunity to write.

    As writing is very much part of my “me” time, I make sure to carve out time to write. I don’t have an immediate family, so this can be easier for me than it is for you. As my only real priority/responsibility is to myself in a secular sense, I don’t feel bad making time to do things that make me happy, keep me sane, and benefit no one but myself every now and then.

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2011 / 7:25 PM

      2blu – I love the writing at lunch idea (I only get a half hour, but I can work with that.) After I get my character research done, I plan to do that.

      I am glad that you were able to look at your day and target spare moments to write. All those extra minutes add up. I’m ready to suck it up and get the character research done so I can just write!

  3. brownpaperbaggirl March 21, 2011 / 8:19 AM

    Oh hectic life. Sometimes…I don’t get time to fit my own personal writing in (between studying, and writing essays). However, I find that even squeezing a few scribbles of lines into a 10 minute span here or there keeps me sane!

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2011 / 7:27 PM

      School does cut into ‘fun’ writing, that’s for sure. I’m glad you are able to fit in a few minutes here and there (I don’t think I could’ve done it during college.)

      Thanks for your comment, brownpaperbaggirl. If you can find time, surely I can do the same.

  4. Debbie March 21, 2011 / 8:23 AM

    It’s like we’re living in the same fast lane! I’m up to my ears in work, my son was home from college for Mid-Term Break last week, and despite my best intentions, I, too, was unable to steal the time needed to work on my novel! Keeping up with Blogworld and several e-mail accounts, as well as the day-to-day things of life, are taking precedence. I fear when I do finally take time to write, my Muse will be nowhere in sight!

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2011 / 7:29 PM

      I think you’re living inside my head, Debbie – I’m afraid my inspiration will disappear, too. Or that I’ll be away from it for so long I won’t even bother to write anymore (like what happens when I stop exercising for a few days.)

      Here’s hoping life will slow down a bit so it doesn’t feel like a blur

  5. Addy March 21, 2011 / 8:36 AM

    Oh Janna, I seriously can see what you mean, with such a hectic lifestyle, writing has completely taken a backseat for me as well.. I finally managed to post in my blog after quite some time.. With regrads to writing, I have resorted to a rather extreme step- instead of long-drawn novels, I decided to write really short stories for a general audience… Hope you can debut soon with your writing..

    Best Wishes,
    Addy 🙂

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2011 / 7:32 PM

      I’ll have to check out your blog post. So many people are just as busy (or busier) than me, so I feel like I’m being a wimp by not fitting it in somehow.

      I’ve done several short stories and they are excellent ways to be creative without nearly the time investment of a novel. I hope you post some stories on your blog, Addy 🙂

  6. toemailer March 21, 2011 / 11:52 AM

    I find it is really about getting in the habit, almost like an addiction, I must write, I must write…:)

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2011 / 7:43 PM

      Writing is a good habit to have (much healthier than drugs or alcohol :))

      Thanks for stopping by today, toemailer.

  7. Tori Nelson March 21, 2011 / 12:44 PM

    Asking myself the same question today! I just try to squeeze a few minutes of writing in here or there, but some days (like today)it can be a HUGE challenge!

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2011 / 7:56 PM

      I guess we all have those days (or weeks.) Keep stealing writing moments and you’ll eventually have something to show for it. Thanks for stopping by, Tori 🙂

  8. nrhatch March 21, 2011 / 2:00 PM

    Going on vacation is EXHAUSTING! Good luck catching up.

    As for the writing ~ maybe you could carve out 10 minutes a day to outline/plan/scheme/dream?

    I can’t help you since my problem is the opposite of yours ~ How can I fit in LIFE when WRITING doesn’t want to cooperate? 😀

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2011 / 7:58 PM

      Well, Nancy….I know envy isn’t a pretty thing, but I’m REALLY jealous of you right now 😉 I’m feeling better tonight (I caught a lucky break) – if things work out I can write about it for Wednesday’s post.

      When I get over the character hump, I’ll definitely be all over the minutes here and there writing. Thanks for your suggestions…and for making me green with envy!

    • nrhatch March 21, 2011 / 8:06 PM

      LOL. Don’t be jealous . . . you’d have to step into my aging body to fit into my life. Plus, I’m sure you’d be bored with my thoughts instead of yours for company. 🙂

      • jannatwrites March 21, 2011 / 8:10 PM

        Hey, aging body or not, you’ve got words on a page which is more than I can say!

  9. Carol Ann Hoel March 21, 2011 / 2:56 PM

    I feel just like you, Janna. I try to fit writing and blogging into my days. I’m successful maybe twice a week, if that often. Yet, like you, I see where my priorities must lie, and writing takes a backseat. After a while of getting behind, it seems even harder to get back to the project. Life goes on, and I am living it, enjoying it, and hoping to fit in my writing. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2011 / 8:01 PM

      We do seem to be in the same boat, Carol. Balance is a difficult thing for me. For the last few months, I’ve cut back on sleep to get writing time, but I can’t keep that up. I finally got rested over vacation and I’m not going to ruin it 🙂

      I suppose we’re at life’s mercy. I just keep reminding myself that if I am meant to write this novel, God will provide a way…I’ll keep my eyes open for that path.

  10. Patty March 21, 2011 / 8:29 PM

    I have not blogged in 2 weeks. I think it is okay. I need a vacation from things also. Your life is overbooked. My life is overbooked. Life gets in the way. I do not feel bad because I have not blogged in two weeks. I started a writing piece that I started to edit and I didn’t get a theme rolling so I stopped. I did read an entire book (really proud about that). I also dusted and mopped and cleaned and moved 5 pieces of furniture all over the house after the remodeling we did. I can’t multitask to perfection any more. I do the best I can and I keep moving. I want you to know it’s okay. I went back to work and got through my list pretty well and I came home and made meat loaf and meatballs. It’s okay. It’s how life is.

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2011 / 8:46 PM

      Mmmm…meatballs sound good. Just reading about your housecleaning makes me tired (and a bit embarrassed because my house could use similar attention.)

      I know I should just accept that once I’ve trimmed the fat (wasted time), I must accept that what’s left is what it is. Now that you mention it, I did fit in some story editing time last week, so I have had a little productivity. (I still need to do another read of it, though.)

      Thanks for sharing your situation, Patty, and making feel a little better about not being able to squeeze in time where there is none at the moment 🙂

  11. crumbl March 29, 2011 / 2:50 AM

    The compulsion to write will dictate … nay … demand that you find, filch, finagle the time to do so, JT. My writer’s voice at the moment seems to be more Andy Rooney-esque than Tolstoy-ish … sound bites rather than epic tomes, but … if only one line, I put it out there.

    I, on the other hand, don’t have the personal pressure of writing with the purpose of being published. I write for me. If people read me … great. If they like what I write … great. If mine is a lonely voice crying in the wilderness that no one will ever hear … I’m okay with that too. Writing is a comfort zone for me, not a task. If it became a chore, I’d stop. For me, instead, it’s a pleasure. It’s something that I get to enjoy doing without expectations from anyone.

    I write for business … for an audience, for pay. That’s different. That’s work. I write what I write for me.

    • jannatwrites March 29, 2011 / 8:59 PM

      You’ve hit on a key point, Crumbl – writing is a pleasure. I (just like you) wouldn’t want to do it if it became another “hafta do” on my list.

      Since this post, I was able to get the time in to do some character research. I’ve started writing a background story for the first of six main characters, but still need to get it typed in the computer. At least there’s some progress, so I’m happy 🙂

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