Keep Your Seat in the Seat

For most of us, finding time to write is the biggest challenge we face. If you're like me, the schedule is already overflowing. My season of life still involves grading and correcting homework, (Can I just say that doing algebra again at 50 is just plain wrong?), work for my clients as well as piano lessons, field trips, and the regular activities we all share such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry. It seems simple enough to put it in the schedule, until I try to sit down at the computer to write. Within minutes one of the four of the members in my family will be standing in front of me with a question or need. Help!
 
"Mom, you're ALWAYS working," my oldest stated recently. Ok, now that's not what I want my children remembering about me. I do feel I'm permanently linked to my computer, but in my defense, it's often for them as well. Researching colleges, scholarship opportunities, and arranging senior pics have been high on my list this year, it will be something else next year, but the bottom line is I have to use my time well so that they understand THEIR value. Family is first.
 
Author, Jon Acuff, in his book, Start; Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do Work that Matters shares his own dilemma.
 
         "One Tuesday during a holiday break, I spent four hours writing a book idea. My kids were occupied with new Christmas presents and my wife was straightening up the house. At about three in the afternoon, I resurfaced from our home office and talked to my wife in the kitchen.
 
            "Her words were short and quick. I asked her what was wrong and she immediately replied, 'I thought we were going to spend the day together.' Then she started crying."
 
            "In that moment and many others, I failed to follow a simple rule of awesomeness. I was selfish at the wrong time of the day. Those hours-in the middle of the day during Christmas vacation-weren't really mine. When you're a spouse, parent or caregiver, your time doesn't just belong to you. It's in large part communal property, shared by the entire house." 
 
            So his solution? It doesn't mean you don't have some "selfish" time. But just choose when wisely. Like say...5:00 a.m. or perhaps 11:00 p.m. (OK, you've got to be either a morning person or a night person. So pick!)

 
My early morning retreat to write before anyone else is up--with a fire in the fireplace on cold mornings and a steaming mug of coffee--is time I find I am rarely interrupted.  I can usually get in a good hour or more of writing and still have my prayer and devotion before the family stirs. Rarely do they even know of my quiet ritual. (Ok, well, I want it to be a ritual...it's getting there.) I can proceed with the rest of my day in peace knowing that if another writing opportunity doesn't surface...I at least got in my hour.
 
So whether you set the alarm, or just stay up late, or pull away for a power lunch by yourself with the computer, set aside that 30-60 minute daily exercise. Keep your seat in the seat and let the words flow. Your book will naturally follow behind it.