Sunday, February 13, 2011

A day in the life of...

by: Joelle Charbonneau

Get up.

Make beds and then breakfast for the toddler and myself.

Run errands.

Run around after the toddler.

Answer e-mails (if the tot will let me type).

Teach a voice lesson.

Make lunch for the tot.

Get the tot down for a nap.

Then blessed silence.

This is the start of many of my days.

In the silence I admit that I often think about taking a nap. Or maybe reading a book. Very often I know I need to clean or do laundry or other tasks that keep the house running. But I don’t really want do. This is the time before I start teaching afternoon lessons, before the house becomes chaos again with the sounds of toddler happiness or tears, before I need to make dinner and my husband comes home. This is my time. There are a number of things I could do with this time, but one thing that I never fail to do.

I write.

Some days more than others. Some days the words come fast and furious and the kid wakes up to soon. Some days the words refuse to come and still I attempt to fill the page.

Are there other things I might want to do?


Are there other things my family needs me to do?


But those things can be done at other times. When my husband is home or the tot is watching Seasame Street. It might not be as easy to do the tasks when others need my attention, but my decision to be a writer means I don’t ever take the easy path.

So I write. In the silence. No music. Although, I know many writers have music that puts them in the mood. It distracts me. Perhaps because my other job is teaching and singing music.

And while I write this blog post I a sitting in the silence and wondering when other writers write. Do you have a set time? Do you do it every day or whenever an idea strikes? Do you use music to help you slide into the zone or does music or television distract you? What does a day in the life of your writing day look like?


Sarah M. Anderson said...

The time between no naps and kindergarten starting was a long year in my house. I miss those naps! I work a job three days a week, and the other two, I write. Some days, I write after The Kid has gone to bed, but while I can write with most any kind of music going, I can't write while the TV is on.

Sabrina E. Ogden said...

I can only imagine how difficult it must be to balance the needs of a family with your need to write your stories.

And I admire your ability to understand that some things can wait, and for actually knowing which ones can't.

Excellent post!

John McFetridge said...

This was pretty much my writing schedule when my kids were younger. Now they're both in school all day (one still comes home for lunch) and I'm still not getting any more writing done.

If anything, the more time I have to write the less I get done. It used to be I knew I only had an hour or ninety minutes and I felt I needed to use every scrap of the limited time available. Now, well, let's just say I've missed a few deadlines.

Dolly said...

I write in evenings and weekends, since I have a full-time day job. I usually write with TV in the background - it has to be certain kinds of programs. I find music distracting, but TV works for me. I like silence if the world is silent, but if I could hear voices outside, cars, neighbours etc. I would rather listen to my TV.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

My kids are 10 and 13 so they are pretty self-sufficient. I try and write between 9:30 PM and 12:00 AM.

I just can't seem to write early in the morning. I took a vacation day once, the kids were at school and my wife was working and it was so cool to just write the whole time. It was awesome.

Scott D. Parker said...

When I wrote my first book, it was a strict 10pm-midnight, five days a week thing. Can't remember working on the weekends, but I probably did. No music when I wrote because I was writing a WWII-era story and anything other than big band music ripped me out of the mood.

Now, unless I'm brainstorming, I crave silence. My wife can't believe it, but I'm growing more fond of silence the older I get. Well, silence when I write. Still gotta be loud most other times.

Like John, you give me a huge block of time, I'll waste at least half of it noodling around. You give me a strict deadline time--like when it's 10pm on a Friday and I haven't written my Saturday post--I focus and fly. Need more focus time like that. I'm in the process of setting a new writing schedule that reflects my new day job routine (4 out of 5 days I'm working from home). You'd think that would enable me more time to write fiction. Nope. It's more time to do the day job. Ha!