With their previous posts, Andrea and Debbie and their commenters have inspired me to think more about time management. I have a full time job, two kids, and a major home renovation in progress. My company asks me to work overtime almost every day. In addition to writing, I like to sew, read, and play computer games. Since I don't have publisher's deadlines (right now!), it's very easy to let other priorities come first.
Like Debbie, I don't watch much TV. Like Andrea, I bring a book everywhere. One thing I do that I find crucial is that I read out loud to my kids every night. One is 11 and the other is 7. My 11-year-old and I just finished reading Rules by Cynthia Lord. So inspiring! Often when I read to my kids, I think that I can't wait to write something myself. Also, I go to the library every other Monday evening and browse the new arrival shelves in all age groups to keep up with the industry.
I use downtime at work whenever possible. Mandatory meetings that I know don't really apply to me? Those are opportunities to sketch out a synopsis or hook. I take breaks from my office to walk around the block and think about writing. If I get a good idea at work, I write it down. I keep index cards in my purse in case an idea occurs during the commute. While I'm driving to and from work, I listen to music that I've selected that reminds me of my story worlds.
MigWriters is a huge inspiration to me. They really care if I make a breakthrough! In addition, they give me deadlines. When it's tempting to slack off, I can look at our critique schedule and realize that if I get back to writing, I can submit something on time.
But I also find it invaluable to meet with local writers. These meetups don't have to be businesslike, but it is nice to keep me focused. This is what I do. I take time out to meet with other writers because I am one of their tribe.
I have also learned to accept that I do so many things because I don't have the world's longest attention span. Some days, I open up a Word document, write for 15 minutes, get up and do laundry, write for ten minutes, get up and make pasta salad, etc. This actually works for me. I think I get my best "what happens next" ideas while folding laundry and washing dishes ... although I often have more choppiness to resolve on revision than I would like.
Wow, just reviewing these ideas makes me want to open up a Word document right now! I can write for ten minutes before I get distracted!