Freelancing has improved my writing process

My 25 year old self wouldn’t recognize my writing process any more. That’s a good thing.

When I was 25, writing looked like this:

  • Stare at the computer for a while, wondering why the story isn’t writing itself
  • Log into World of Warcraft and pretend that writing will happen tomorrow.

Once I had kids, things had to get organized if I didn’t want to give up entirely (and I didn’t). My process started to look more like:

  • Bargain with husband for child-free time
  • Write for five minutes
  • Help wrangle for a diaper change
  • Write for two minutes
  • Make a sandwich for someone
  • Write for thirty seconds
  • Realize someone else needs to nurse
  • Decide that Virginia Woolf was really on to something with that Room Of One’s Own thing, and you’re going to look into that. As soon as the children stop screaming for thirty seconds.

My spouse was wonderful, and was a true partner during those years, but kids take energy (so much energy). As much as I could, I wrote at downtime at my day job, spending my evenings transcribing my fountain pen scribblings, which was possible even when I wasn’t feeling utterly creative.

Since writing is now my full time job, things had to get much more organized. I’ve found a few little tips and tricks along the way. For example, my older daughter is in school full time, while my younger daughter is in preschool three days a week. If I make both their lunches first thing in the morning, I don’t have to stop working to make lunch for my younger daughter on the days she’s home with me.

Barring interruptions from the kids, my writing day now looks like this:

  • Start with any blogs due that day; try to complete these within 90 minutes or so.
  • Move on to personal fiction or edits due under contracts. Work for approximately 2 hours on my fiction.
  • Work on freelance fiction. 3000 words a day minimum are necessary to meet budgets and pay the rent
  • Paperwork time! An NDA that needs to be signed and sent, a contract that needs review, an application for a new content creation site, all of that goes here.

Some days, it takes twelve hours to make it through the list. Yesterday, I was free by noon, and got to spend some quality time with my family. My 25 year old self would be shocked. I like to think she’d also be impressed.

(Photo by MeaganJean, used under CC 2.0 licensing)

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