Full time job, full time dad, part time writer

Someone asked today that given my full time job, and the fact that I am a full time dad, how did I find the time to make 3 blog posts in a single day and when do I get my real writing done. The question demands a better answer than I gave in the comments and so here it is:

By gradually increasing my workload over time.

During the week, I will typically try to do my “real writing” (which means the writing which I hope to sell) between 5-7am. I have no problem getting up early because this is more or less incorporated into my way of life. Of course, there are occasions when I will sleep in, but I usually try to find time to fit in some writing-related task. I try to keep most of my writing related work boxed into those two hours because it is pretty much the only two hours I can have during the day when my parental-, spousal-,  or job-related duties are not needed. On a good day, I can write 2,000 words in 2 hours, first draft quality.

For roughly the next 10 hours, my day is consumed by my day job, with one exception: lunch. I always try to spend my lunch hour reading. There are only two exceptions to this practice: an unavoidable lunch meeting–and I made it clear to my coworkers that I’d prefer to avoid these. Or writing: if I didn’t manage to get my writing work done between 5-7am, I’ll do my best to make up at least some of that time during lunch. In fact, I’ve done this very thing over the last few days this week because I’ve had a few rough nights and decided to sleep in.

The evenings between 5-7pm are family time. Spending time playing with the Little Man, cooking and eating dinner, hanging out. At 7pm I read him 3 books and sing him 3 Bing Crosby songs (all he’ll tolerate) and then he goes off to bed. The rest of the evening is open. Sometimes Kelly and I will watch TV, sometimes I’l read, or do some chores. I am rarely up late because I have to be up so early.

That explains the part time writer, full time dad and the day job, but what about the blogging?

Well, I must admit there are some smoke and mirrors, not all is as it seems. I keep a list of ideas for topics I want to write about and generally, I’ll write one or two posts in the evening before I go to bed–but use the “scheduled post” feature in WordPress to scheduled them for the following morning. Thus, my first post of the day will usually appear at exactly 7am and my second post at exactly 9am. In fact, this post was written at 9:30pm on Friday evening, but you won’t see it for nearly twelve hours. I will likely be doing something completely unrelated to blogging when this post appears. A few times a week, something will strike me that I feel I must write about immediately and so those things are posted as soon as I write them. These days, however, the scheduled posts outweigh the spontaneous posts by about 2-to-1. That’s just a result of my limited supply of time.

There are things I give up. A lot of television for one thing, which may not be a big loss. I don’t read as much as I used to either. I don’t work out as much as I should. But I want to be a science fiction writer and some sacrifices have to be made. I just try (not always successfully, I’m afraid) not to sacrifice things that are really important, like time with family.

This schedule generally works well for me but as I said, it has evolved over many years. Blogging is just a part of my life now, like breathing. This is my 3,812th post. Do that many and it will be a reflex for you, as well.


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