I work at a public school, and I'm very lucky that I have a principal who supports my "side job" as an author and is all about encouraging me and pumping me up as much as possible. Now that my secret writing life is out of the bag at work, I have a lot of my fellow teachers asking me how I have the time to basically work two full time jobs. The funny thing is, most of them don't even realize that I'm also working on my MFA, so when I tell them that, they look at me like I have Time Turner or something. They can't even fathom how I can go home after our (very exhausting) work day and then do something else that requires brain power.
But it has gotten me thinking...it's obviously a Big Deal that I can somehow work full time as a teacher and also write novels when I get home. So...how do I manage it?
Writing is a priority
I've realized as I've gotten older that you have to make time for the things that are important to you. I know it's a bit of a no-brainer, but I really do see people all the time talk about how much they want to be a writer, how much they wish they could do what I do, etc. But then when they have free time, they don't use it to write. If something is important, if you want to make it happen, then use the little time you have to actually do it. If it's something you want to do, DO IT. Otherwise, you're probably more in love with the idea than the actual thing, you know? I get it...the idea of being a writer is a lot easier than actually being a writer. But thinking about it doesn't get books written.
I have a husband, and he does pretty much all of the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and dog care
I'm lucky here. I'm married to the cleanest man in America, and even before I started writing seriously he pretty much took over all these tasks because he has to have them all done just so. Fine by me! So when I get home from work, I don't have to prepare a meal or clean anything up, I can just sit down and get to business, which is awesome. He also works from home, so it's easier for him to take care of mundane tasks around the house and dog stuff than it is for me.
I don't have kids
I don't have to give my time or attention to anyone else when I get home from work. (I know people who work full time, and write, AND have kids, and, damn, I am in awe of you people. Seriously.) And, honestly, my husband gets all into his TV and I get all into my writing, and I don't even give him all that much attention. The dogs curl up in my lap, so the only attention I really have to give another living thing when I get home is idle fur stroking while I write.
I do my best to leave work at work
This one is difficult for me, because teaching is one of those jobs that you never really get a break from. But I do my best to take care of all of my lesson planning / grading / emailing while sitting in my classroom, even if it means I need to stay later than I want to. Tied into this, I never write while I'm at work. I focus on work at work and writing at home, and keep those two lines as clear as I can.
I have my own computer, and I'm on it all the time
Having a computer that is 100% mine at all times is really important. If I had to share it with my husband ever...well, that would just never happen.
I don't watch TV
My husband is obsessed with having the TV on from the second he gets up until the second he goes to sleep, so it's always on, but I'm not really invested in very much. I have the occasional show I watch with him, but for the most part, I don't watch anything. I can't write and watch TV at the same time because I want to focus on the show, and since writing is the priority, TV just had to go. I know some people who manage to watch a ton of TV and still get more writing done than me, but I just can't multi-task like that.
Being an adult is hard. I get it. There's so much responsibility, so much to take care of, that it's very difficult to fit everything in. I'm lucky in that my husband takes on a lot of the adult jobs around the house and lets me contribute to our household in other ways. But in the end, it takes sacrifice to get the things you want. I have to say no to things and skip out on things and put things off so I have the time to write because it's that important to me. I don't think anything here is groundbreaking, but it's how things go for me, and it's how I get it all done. I know it may seem crazy to some, but, man, being a parent seems impossible to me. Or being a competitive athlete. Or a lot of things. But if it's important to you, you just DO it...right?
How do you do it? How are you able to fit writing in with your real life?