If you’re an astute reader of this page, as I’m sure you are, you’ll realize that I have more Book Recommendation Posts than Teaching Posts and Writing Posts. Such is the story of my life. I have to put my teaching first most days because that’s how I manage to have some frozen lasagna for dinner, and after I do that, the most I really have energy, much less creativity, for is reading, usually as I soak in a hot tub. And even that reading falls aside as I drift off into sleep, dropping the unsuspecting book into the hot water.
So how are we, as writers, supposed to find time to write? It’s an age-old proverb – at least as old as the 20th century American continent where the idea of writing for work has largely disappeared. We struggle with it and find our own solutions – Brian Bouldrey, a great nonfiction/fiction writer and teacher at Northwestern doesn’t write during the year; he only writes during summers. Sharman Apt Russell gave me the model I use – try to schedule your teaching for later in the say so that you can write in the morning and not have your students in your mind. Some days that works. Most days it doesn’t.
I’m finding myself on a weird writing schedule where approximately every other week I squeeze out a few hours of writing time, usually in the mornings as Sharman suggested, but not every morning and definitely not two weeks in a row. I just can’t maintain that time with my teaching demands.
So instead, I’m trying to squeeze out individual minutes to write – and by write I don’t always mean actually put words on the page (that would be far too ambitious). By write, I mean actually think about my writing – while I’m at the grocery store, as I take a walk on our college’s nature trail, when I’m in the shower – the shower is my favorite. (Bath for reading, shower for thinking – I’m sensing my own subliminal theme) And it’s working. I’m moving forward, even if only mentally, on some things. And hopefully, this summer I’ll get a few more minutes in every day and can actually produce something.
In the meantime, I’ll blog – that doesn’t take too much time – I’ll jot notes and quotes in journals; I’ll read; and eventually, I’ll get to that page (or the screen as the case may be) and put some words on paper. All that writing and so little time.