What happens when life gets in the way of writing?

It came as a bit of a shock to me on Friday when I realised just how much I resented having to work when I’d rather be writing. I’m reasonably lucky (in one sense) in that I work for myself anyway and have the luxury of deciding what I’m going to be doing and when I’m going to do it; but after yet another day spent flitting between my writing, the social networks and client work, with a whole load of procrastinating and sighing on the side I decided that enough was enough and something needed to change.

So, from yesterday I decided to try something new. From 9ish to 5ish I’ll be working for my clients and running my businesses. I shall not be sneaking a peak at Woman on the Edge of Reality, I shall not be spending a very unsubtle half hour on Goodreads and I shall definitely be turning off the various social accounts as soon as I’ve done my client work. Instead, I plan to be the model of business industriousness and actually get done what I need to get done, when I’m supposed to do it.

My daytime should (in theory) look something like:

  • Email – 1 hour
  • Social Accounts Maintenance and Comms – 30 Minutes
  • WORK
  • Lunch
  • WORK
  • Social Accounts Maintenance and Comms – 30 Minutes
  • Email – 30 Minutes

Then, after I walk home from work (I work at home so I walk to ‘work’ in the morning and walk home from ‘work’ in the evening by wandering around the village I live in), I shall sort out supper and then it’s ‘me’ time and I can play on my blog, on Goodreads and the networks to my hearts content and I will also work on my books and my book marketing too. If I can schedule the majority of my blog posts by writing them on a Sunday then that gives me the time to do all the other activities I want to be doing during the week too 🙂

Now, this is not the first time I’ve tried to do something similar, but I’m hoping that because of that sense of frustration of having wasted a huge amount of the day on Friday, that I will be able to carry it all through and commit to avoiding anything that isn’t my business work. I shall let you all know how I get on and do wish me luck.

BTW – I’d also love to find out how you all manage to keep your lives, work and identities separate, perhaps I could steal a tip or two from you as well 🙂

By for now, Linda

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  1. I am a big fan of automation but it comes with a cost which you’ve just highlighted beautifully that of the non-response. Although I may be tweeting out during the day, I’m not always present at that time, but I make it a rule that I ALWAYS respond simply because I appreciate the fact that someone has taken time out their valuable day to make an effort on my behalf.

  2. Hi Anne – I feel I am cheating sometimes and other times I am giving too much. Balancing is key and I hope to find a way. I read a post that mentioned automation is the way to go. For instance, take a day to write up a bunch of posts and then post- date releases over time. As for Twitter – same thing. The only thing is with Twitter I can tell when someone automates because there is not an immediate response or a response at all and knowing that then I put them in the METwitter category 🙂

  3. Mmmm, now that’s a difficult one Anne and understand exactly where you’re coming from because I have that problem all the time. How to switch off what I want to do … writing … to do the work that pays the bills 🙁

  4. Hi Lesley, I think that 20 minutes works for the type of blogging I am doing where it is literally just talking about what I am doing and maybe uploading one photo I just took. For any kind of business blogging I have always found it impossible as there is research to do and often links to other posts. So you are not alone in wondering how it is even supposed to be possible.

  5. Linda that schedule sounds to me like WORK getting in the way of writing – but I know needs must and all. My question is what on earth do you do when your book starts writing itself when you are supposed to be doing other things. I’m hoping that when I really get into the writing I’ll be able to switch off that and focus on the task in hand better. Otherwise, help! Inspiration is proving too much for me.

  6. It is so hard isn’t it to know what the right thing to do is. Sometimes it feels like it might be better to give up that carry on because there is always just soooooo much to do. That 20 minute idea is a good one though, perhaps a timer to monitor it might be a start.

  7. I am still working on the 20 Minute Plan that everyone preaches about – Meaning allow 20 minutes for each social media task. How that is humanly possible (write a Blog post with link and photos in 20 minutes = no I just can’t manage that) – 20 minutes to read other great posts? – no no no – I have to start a really tight schedule. I am a dreamer (but I’m not the only one it seems!) Lesley

  8. My only problem so far has been that I have been using a laptop in the evenings which is slow at the best of times …..! But more about then when I feedback.

  9. As you can see I am busy on my blog which I said I wouldn’t do during the day, but I do have mitigating circumstances today as I needed to respond to a post on another blog for a giveaway. John Lennon did indeed get it about right with his statement and it’s one I remind myself of regularly … 🙂

  10. Do you know Gwynneth I know exactly what you mean, somehow even though there is so much going on around it’s easier to concentrate because you are only there to do one thing, and one thing only …. *sigh*

  11. I manage my life with difficulty! The lure of the internet is ALWAYS there. So now I have taken to gong to my favourite coffee shop for the morning to work. Insane when i have a perfectly good office at home, complete with a kettle! But somehow I find it easier to work amid the bustle of morning breakfasts, coffees and cakes at Manuka! Only problem is that it is costing me a fortune in nibbles. Oh dear . . . there seems to be no real soulution.

  12. Dear Linda,

    I have no tips for you as I have no system for managing to read and/or reply to all of the blogs I have politely (pat myself on back here) followed. I do try my best, but it is I who shall be stealing tips from you, provided your experiment works. I’m sure brain power and will power will not be lacking on your part, but, as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

    Good lluck.



  13. Loved this post, Linda! I also run another business from home, and trying to manage them both can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. The actual novel-work (writing AND editing) gets done in the evenings, when my brain finally feels free to roam on creative elements 😉