We're all desperately busy nowadays. What, with work, family, friends, children, it's a wonder we have any time to do anything short of schedule our self-imposed commitments in between our necessary commitments. Where does one find a shred of--I'm about to go full-on-new-age here--me time? The answer is really quite simple: you have to make it.
I know, I know. You're probably saying, "No kidding, brainiac. Care to expand on that statement, and no I do not want to buy a timeshare after the seminar." No on the timeshare and I will gladly explain some changes that I have taken in my life to make writing and creating a priority.
For us creative types, the problem of finding the time is compounded by the fact that fatigue is a constant enemy. Fatigue is perseverant. Fatigue is crushing. Fatigue is...tireless, actually. More importantly, fatigue is compounded by the steady stream of obligations that we fulfill throughout the day. Here is an example of my weekdays from a year and a half ago: the alarm goes off, I curse the rising sun and everything in existence with the exception of my wife, I snooze until the last possible moment, I shower, shave, get dressed, wolf down some food, rush to the car, rush to work, become increasingly angry with other drivers, drink loads of coffee while at work, curse to myself at how much I hate work and how things will never change, take a lunch break where I wander around for an hour, give myself a high-five when the work day ends, exercise, go home, shower, make dinner, eat and watch TV. After all of this it's at least 9:00 PM and I would already be mad at the workday that looms tomorrow. I do not even have children to contend with and this is a full day. The last thing I can physically/mentally/emotionally do is sit at the computer and write my minimum of two pages per day as I mentioned in my earlier post.
For the first two drafts of my novel, I would write on lunch breaks and at night after my wife had gone to sleep, but the nighttime writing proved difficult and I oftentimes found myself facedown on the desk with gibberish lining the page. The lunchtime writing was working, but that had to end when we got the puppy, who I then had to take out during lunch. I would not trade my dog for the world, but with the exhaustion I felt at night, writing was becoming more difficult. Luckily, I came across an article from lifehacker.com that detailed something I believe was called time-shifting.
Essentially, the author of the article found himself in the same position that I was in, with no time or energy to work on his own important and meaningful projects. He eventually became frustrated enough to adjust the way he lived his life. Instead of getting up late and going to bed late, he began to awaken at 6:00 AM and shortly after that 5:00 AM and he went to sleep earlier every night. His day involved rising, going for a run, showering, getting dressed, eating and by that point it was a little after 6:00 AM and he had a couple of hours and, more importantly, a fresh mind to work on the the projects that he cared about. By 8:45 AM he was off to earn the rent and deal with the necessities of life, but he did so with a sense of accomplishment. I loved this idea.
So, for the past year and a half, I wake up early in the morning and hit the computer to work on my books, comic books, coloring and lettering, and blog. It...was...not...easy. Not in the slightest. I was a mess for the first two weeks, but now I am so used to rising early and getting things done, that I can't imagine sleeping in late. I honestly want to get up and work on the creative projects that fulfill me and not waste my important time lounging around in bed. After the morning, my day is the same as before, with work and exercise, but the night is spent talking with my wife, playing with the dog and reading until I can't keep my eyes open, then off early to bed.
I still curse the moment I have to hop in the car to head to work, but I do so with thoughts and ideas of what my writing will bring tomorrow, and for the first time in a very long time, I go to sleep excited for the morning to come.
If you have a method that works for you and allows you to effectively work on your projects, please let me know; I would love to hear what you have to say.
UPDATE: I found the original Lifehacker.com article. You can read it here.