A Day in the Life of a Writer (Even if it’s Part Time)

How do writers deal with the day-to-day routine of life and still have time to write? I often wonder about this from other self-published authors. If you ask me, I think it’s mentally and physically exhausting.

With all the duties of family, a profession, school activities, homework, social functions, and financial responsibilities, finding the time to write is difficult, especially if I am writing a series. The constant interruptions of everyday life is distracting. I can lose a thought, that descriptive word to relay an idea, or a chapter revision for structure and flow. Why is the second I sit down, the chance for someone else to ask something? Once I’m ready to do my thing, a person wants some advice about stuff that can wait until later. It never fails, and those distractions become frustrating (I was venting, but I’m done).

I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing in the past month. Yet in retrospect, I’ve done a book blast tour, worked on guest posts, and author interviews. Perhaps September was just draining because of my other obligations and guilt in neglecting Harmony, the next installment in the series. I’m remorseful and afraid that James Roberts, my protagonist in this novella, is angry at me for abandoning him.

Harmony edit 1

I read an article about Hugh Howey and his writing: http://www.copyblogger.com/how-hugh-howey-writes/

After reading the article, I feel less tired, frustrated, regretful, and more motivated. The first thing I need to do is inhale serenity and exhale agitation. Next, I must prioritize my schedule. Family and home are at the top of the list. Everything else, I’ll fit in between. During my timeout, I can read, listen to music, or play the piano.

The point is that I should grab a moment to write. Like when I started writing. My iPad is with me almost everywhere. It’s my writer’s desk on the go thanks to Apple. I’ll daydream about storylines and themes. Allow my surroundings to influence ideas for plots and conflicts. Interact with people wherever I go because conversation offers possible dialogue, setting, action and reaction, or scenes.

Those encounters contribute to writing a paragraph or more. During my breaks, I may elaborate or revise and soon, I have a page or two. I will dedicate any opportunity to writing something. The more I write, my content gets better, and I improve as a writer.

Those little routines have motivated me to write Consonance. If I get back my inspiration, maybe James Roberts will discuss Harmony with me. There are two sides to a story, and his is just as important. He wants to show his character as the dashing bassist of Dia-Matic Keys.

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.”
― Lao Tzu

So a weekend is over. A birthday party has passed. My family finishes dinner and the evening is winding down. The dishes are clean, I did most of the laundry, some tidying up around the house, paid off a couple of bills, and hopefully the kids are going to sleep. My husband settles in too. After a shower, I have a moment’s peace to think and write.

That quiet break allows me to type up content for a chapter. I have creativity flowing. I’ll stop after an hour because I need sleep for work the next day. The office schedule doesn’t look too bad. Maybe I’ll get a full lunch, and escape to the cafeteria to read or continue writing the ideas of another storyline.

Traffic is inevitable, but I’m listening to some great music. My mind is free to imagine, as long as the other drivers around me are careful too. Finally, I make it home. Homework is waiting for my review. I make some corrections and help the kids understand the subject. Dinner is ready; thank God because I’m starving. Now it’s time to wish everyone goodnight. I didn’t have an hour to write, only half an hour. Still, it’s enough to type a scene for another chapter.

Another day begins. With some perseverance, I’ll keep the momentum going, and soon I’ll have the first draft of a manuscript, and if I’m lucky, a bestseller.

What is your writing routine? Any hobby or interest of yours, how do you find the time to fit that in between a busy schedule?


About Lisa Malabanan

I am a graduate of Rutgers College of Nursing and work as a Professional Registered Nurse in the field of Perinatology. I currently live in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania with my husband and two children. At the age of six, I discovered piano and classical music. A variety of music genres influenced my life through the years, and I’m passing on a love of the arts to my daughter and son. Reading fiction is my escape from the chaos and stress of a demanding yet rewarding profession. For me, writing transcends the diversion of a good book. The experience is like commuting on a New York City subway; diverse people enter and exit the scene, sometimes delays and derailment occur during creativity, and a train of thought is missed or passed over on occasion. In the end, an arrival at my destination is what I hope to accomplish, and I invite readers to take that ride with me. View all posts by Lisa Malabanan

2 responses to “A Day in the Life of a Writer (Even if it’s Part Time)

  • Alyssa Auch

    Good post! I agree that there’s hardly time for anything! I’m a SAHM, so I write when my kids are napping or sleeping at night. I get an average of 7-6 hours of sleep at night because I usually stay up late writing, marketing, or editing. It is pretty exhausting, and not outwardly gratifying. But then you read through your manuscript have those moments of “I’M A GENIUS!” and it feels pretty good.

    Creating is worthwhile for our souls; it’s trying to share it and profit from it that it truly exhausting!


    • Lisa Malabanan

      I agree on the marketing end of it. Sleep is always the first thing to sacrifice when you are a parent. I wish I could get more. It’s so easy to lose track of time. I’m grateful to get minutes or hours to be productive, like today. Thanks for liking the post!


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