Scheduling the Time To Write ~ Guest Post by Carolyn LaRoche

August 27, 2017

 

In just a couple of weeks, my days of leisurely sleeping in until seven and binge-watching Law and Order reruns comes to an end. It is the fate of every teacher come August and one I must face, reluctantly, much too soon. With the return of the dreaded full-time job comes a serious down turn in my writing time. It’s long been my goal to be able to eventually say goodbye to the classroom and hello to writing as my new full-time career. It’s hard to make that dream come true when my writing time amounts to minutes per day instead of hours per day.

 

The goal hasn’t changed, I’ve just decided to change my way of tackling it. I need a plan. A way to squeeze as much writing time out of my crazy busy schedule as possible. The trick is going to be finding all the wasted time in my week and figure out a way to salvage it.

 

With two busy, teenaged athletes and a husband who works a million hours a week, this will no doubt be a challenge. But then, anything worth having is worth working for, right?

 

My husband works the night shift. That gives me ten hours of uninterrupted writing time. Who needs sleep anyway, right? Caffeine will get me through the daylight hours, if I consume it in copious amounts. Besides, I need to fill all those long, lonely nights with something and if the action isn’t happening my bedroom at least it can be happening on my laptop—in my bedroom—right?

 

The work day is going to be tough. I suppose I could go old school and write in a notebook. Or keep my laptop handy for breaks in the day. Have you seen the movie Ten Things I Hate About You? Ms. Perky, the guidance counselor is my absolute favorite character. In between “counseling” her students, Ms. Perky works on her laptop writing a hot and steamy romance novel. Somehow, I don’t think I can get away with writing steamy sex scenes while my students solve chemical equations. Although, it might be a lot of fun to try!

 

That leaves me with the ball field. Both my boys play baseball. Starting next week, all our evenings and Saturdays will be spent at the baseball park. I’ve become a master at balancing my laptop on my knee and keeping one eye on the field while the other focuses on the story. I’ve gotten evil looks more than once from other parents—you know, the ones that try to make me feel bad for dividing my attention. Sorry supermoms, I grew up with a strict Italian Catholic mother…guilt doesn’t scare me…it makes me stronger!

 

I’m a seat of the pants writer too. I’m pretty sure this really works against me as far as efficiency goes. No matter how much I try to outline a plot, it never goes the way I want it too. I can’t help but think if I were better at plotting and planning maybe I could write faster? Accomplish twice as much in the handful of minutes I have to get words down each day. I’ve tried carrying tiny notebooks, jotting ideas down on napkins and texting myself. It’s all just a waste of my time.

 

Switching gears from teacher to mother to romance writer has been a challenge. But it’s not just about time. It’s no secret to my friends, family and colleagues that I moonlight as a romance writer. Most of them are supportive and a good bit have read at least one of my books.  There’s still the “Oh, you write romance” people implying that romance is not a valid genre. Then there are the “Oh, you’re a writer? How cute…” people who fall just short of pinching my cheeks and patting me on the head. They don’t discourage me, though because I am pretty sure most of them have read a certain trilogy that took the romance world by storm a few years back.

 

Romance books are a billion dollar venture so no matter how many sideways glances I get, I know most of those eyes have been focused on at least one steamy story at some point. When I read, I want to escape reality. I want stories that take me away from the stress of the day and I want to lose myself in it. With so many things fighting for my attention, I don’t always have the time to spend hours and days trying to get to the end of a book. One of the things I’d like to work on in the future is a series of short stories or novellas that are sexy and steamy and the perfect length to be read in one shot.

 

So, I need a plan for the next ten months. A special writing planner perhaps? Something I can put next to my lesson plan book and fill out each night for the next day. Maybe this would help me plot more and plan better? In an ideal, dream world, I’d have an office full of white boards and dry erase markers covered in intricate outlines of the world’s next bestseller.

 

Hey, a girl can dream, right?

 

But, for now, I’ll still be dragging my laptop to ballgames and I’m still going to have that stack of half-filled notebooks, piles of scrap paper and unfinished manuscripts clogging up my flash drive.

 

I’ll get enough sleep when I’m dead. For now, I’ve got stories to tell.

 

 

 

 

 

Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband and their two sons. She’s been known to lug her laptop to the baseball fields and keeps a notebook by her bed to jot down the next big story idea in the wee hours of the night.

 

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