Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On Sleepyheads and the Struggle to Find Time to Write


This morning I managed to get my two older kids up at 9:15 in anticipation of school starting next week.  At 9 a.m., they both groaned and rolled over and said something like, "I'm up," when I told them to get out of bed.  Fifteen minutes later, I sent my three-year-old (who woke me up at 2 a.m. and then 7:00 a.m.) to do the job.  He likes to wake them up by climbing all over their beds and then on them like a cat.  It's very effective.

I had a talk with my little guy yesterday. He agreed to let me write for an hour every day until his school starts in September if I let him watch SpongeBob for an hour.  He's obsessed with SpongeBob, and we always have a few episodes saved. 

I decided to work on a middle grade chapter book I wrote a couple of years ago. He loves the story and will very enthusiastically let me read it to him (after SpongeBob). 

Normally the TV would distract me from writing, but for the last two weeks since his SpongeBob preoccupation began, I walk around with SpongeBob songs screaming in my head anyway.  "The Best Day Ever" is the best song ever.

At the beginning of the calendar year, I decided to do Write1Sub1, then I promptly dropped out.  The writing wasn't the problem - the effort that goes into preparing a piece for submission and finding just the right publishers took more time than I was willing to spend.  And if I'm in writing mode, I don't want to be in submission mode at the same time.  My Muse is squeamish about submitting.

For the rest of the calendar year, I'm going to try a modified version of Write1Sub1.  I'll call it Write1SubNone. 

I love writing short stories.  I think it's especially good to write something new every week while I'm in editing mode.  So I'm going to write a short story a week and set it aside.  If I stay on track, I should be able to write 20 new short stories by December 31.  If I only write 5 or 10, I won't be disappointed in myself.  If I feel compelled to write chapters instead of short stories, that will be even better. 

I haven't forgotten about the historical piece I started this summer.  I want to have outlines completed for the whole series and go on a road trip to do some research before I get too deep into the writing.  

More about road trips next time....

32 comments:

  1. Write1SubNone - funny!
    Sounds like a fair trade with your little guy.

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    1. He usually gets to watch SpongeBob anyway - this way I can limit it to an hour. :)

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  2. Hi Tonya- That Spongebob song was stuck in my head forever! I have come home from work, only to find my husband watching Spongebob, all by himself! He couldn't even try and blame it on the kids. LOL

    It's funny but just this morning, I started working on one of my middle grade stories again. I felt inspired for some reason to tackle it. Until, my girls started playing Wii games and the phone started ringing and my neighbor came to the door...it's so hard to get that quiet time to write. I had good intentions. I really did. Maybe when school starts up again...

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    1. It would be worse if he were watching Dora the Explorer or Sid the Science Kid. :)

      I have good intentions today too. SpongeBob seems to be the least of my problems.

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  3. I usually have to leave the room if the television is on. Kudos for you if you can tune out Spongebob!

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    1. I used to work in a cubicle where the guy on the other side of the fabric wall wouldn't shut up. Not for a second. I ended up putting on headphones and playing Ozzy loudly to drown him out. I'm usually OK focusing as long as no one is interrupting me or moving around me. My desk is to the wall, so that helps.

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  4. Spongebob Squarepants makes a great Halloween costume. Just get a box big enough for your son (or you could put one together with felt from the craft store), a glue gun, colored felt, and just go to town. Make holes for the arms, legs, and head. Voila...best costume eva!

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    1. Great idea! We usually have small and large Darth Vaders.

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  5. The good part about building up your portfolio of writing is that you'll have more ready when your publisher/editor asks for it. I've known several writers who didn't sub until thay'd written several things. Then when one got accepted, they were asked if they had more manuscripts.

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    1. That is my hope exactly. And I truly believe the writing gets better the more words we write, so it can't hurt to write now and revise later.

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  6. Write1SubNone is a much, much better situation than WriteNoneSub1, which is where I was not too long ago -- revising and resubbing the same stories for new rounds of rejection, but not being able to get my butt in the chair long enough to write new ones.

    If you're creating it's a wonderful thing! I wish you tremendous luck and fabulous results!

    And I loved the SpongeBob stories and your comment about using Ozzy to drown out your cube neighbor -- maybe your perfect drown-out-the-background music would be if Ozzy recorded some Spongebob songs...

    "Mr. Sun came up and he smiled at me,
    Said I'm crazy, but that's how it goes.

    Maybe it'll be a good one, just wait and see,
    despite millions of people, living as foes.

    Jumped out of bed and I ran outside,
    hoping that maybe it's not too late.

    Feeling so extra-ecstatic-fied --
    I'm gonna learn how to love, and forget how to hate!

    It's the Best Day Ever (going off the rails on this crazy train)!
    It's the Best Day Ever (going off the rails on this crazy train)!

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    1. You should join me in my Write1SubNone adventure (it's very unofficial).

      I love the song! Even better if Ozzy and SpongeBob sang it as a duet. :)

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  7. Sounds like a great writing goal. I think there's an entire generation of kids who know those Spongebob songs.

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    1. The more I watch (and half-watch) it, the more I realize it's kind of a musical.

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  8. Ha! I love that you use your three-year-old as an alarm clock. Perfect! I also have great admiration for you for your short stories. I just wish I could write in short form but, alas, I'm more of a book person. Short stories are fun to read, though!

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    1. He is a very persistent alarm clock. He'll get in and snuggle and touch their faces. :)

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  9. How cute. It's admirable that you find time to write being a mother. Good job :)

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    1. If only I could find time to keep the house cleaner. :)

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  10. As long as you are writing, that is all that matters! When the right thing sparks, you won't have trouble finding time, you'll have trouble taking breaks! Keep it up.

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    1. Unfortunately I still only have a little bit of time. I imagined my summer would have been quieter.

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  11. Good for you, with the short story goal! I really dig that idea. Also, no offense to his fans, but Spongebob creeps. me. out. :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

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  12. That's a really good idea to write something new and short while in editing mode. I'm in editing mode and I'm crying out for something new!

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    1. I like the idea of having an attainable goal plus practice being precise.

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  13. I can relate to the one hour while kiddos watch tv. Mine are into Ninjago right now. It use to be SpongeBob. Although, I'm not sure if the kids or dad liked it more.

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    1. I wish there weren't commercials. My little guy likes to discuss the commercials, which is good for him, but only leaves me about 12 minutes to concentrate.

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  14. Good luck writing your short stories! I remember the days when my boys watched Sponge Bob! Julie

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  15. I think writing short stories helps with novel writing. Hope your deal is working out.

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    1. My deal is not workinng out. But my husband is on a plane over the ocean now in this direction, so maybe I'll have a little help with kids and dishes for the next two weeks.

      I agree about writing short stories. I think you have to be more precise with craft when it's short, which is very good practice.

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  16. All that writing will definitely be good for your writing! I was doing write1sub1 monthly instead of weekly, but fell out of it a few months in. I will have two kids in school this year, though, for the first time, and I am hoping I can really use that time to get down to the nitty gritty in my writing. I thought I'd have time last year while my daughter was in preschool, but I actually got more done when she was completely out of school and would sit and play My Little Pony in my office while I wrote. Preschool just meant I was never home, because of drop-off and pick-up, then waiting to get my older child from school when his was out.

    Good luck to you with getting writing done!

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    1. That's great that you can write while your kids play. My smallest is chatty and plays alone, but not quietly. And likes to attempt back-flips off the couch when unsupervised. I'm guessing yours is a girl. :)

      This year preschool is five mornings a week for three hours a day, so I should have plenty of time. And it's only five minutes from my house, so the drive is no big deal. They also do curb-side drop off. The trick will be getting my husband out of the house too.

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