Question for you. Yes, you.

Okay, fellow writerly types, here's a question: If you have a day job
(and most of us do), when do you write?

I'm looking for honest answers, but weird will do. And I'm asking purely out of
curiosity. I promise this won't appear in some boring article in The Journal Of
Dullness And Disorderly Discourse.

Post a comment or email me: carolguess [at] aol [dot] com


Anne said…
Gah, yes, when in the hell DO I write? I sometimes get a little writing done in the evenings (my job is essentially 8 to 5, except for an evening shift on the reference desk every two weeks). But for the most part it happens on weekends.

"Writing" for me requires time spent reading, journaling, daydreaming in addition to actual pen-on-paper (or hands-on-keyboard) time. I work best when I have several hours to devote to it all at once; I'd rather spend one entire Sunday afternoon writing than spend 45 minutes every single day. Takes a while for me to warm up, I guess.

I will be curious to see what other sorts of answers you get. Like most of us day-job people, I think it's a constant challenge to find writing time.
MEDEA poetica said…
I'd like to report that I've delegated my academic tasks so well that I can now work, attend committee meetings, teach, grade, and plan for 3 hours daily and devote the rest of my energy to writing. (This is my goal). My sad reality is, though, that I bring work home with me when I leave the office and grade into the wee hours of the morning and am constantly interrupted and always feeling pressured to do even more than I'm doing, job-wise.

Then there are the writers who request feedback and the students with emotional crises and publishers' page proofs that need comments or blurbs and the promising new manuscripts that capture my attention.

I really wish that I could figure out how to devote the time I need to my writing and still have time for these other attention-grabbers, but have finally resigned myself to the fact that, short of inheriting some significant dough, I will probably not finish my new novel until I retire unless I abandon my family and/or my job.

This is tremendously frustrating to someone who really does not feel the need to be the best prof who ever stepped foot into a classroom and who goes to great efforts to not live extravagantly so that I have fewer distractions.

That being said, I try to spend at least an hour a day making notes for what I'll do to my novel when I work on it I make notes as I read the Times too, and I devote as many weekend hours as possible to my writing, but find it hard to remember the sequential order of reworked sections or what I've actually written versus what I've already decided in my head etc. when I go 5 days or more without touching the book.

(Poems are easier.)

When I'm about to burst with ideas, I call in sick or lock my door or tell the kids to heat up leftovers and postpone grading, and then I go out to my writing shack, where I can get the words out without interruption.

To tell the truth though, I sit in there way too often too trying to silence the voices telling me that the grass needs cutting or dinner needs cooking, etc.

...and I read this and wonder how any of us ever get anything written!
Anonymous said…
I produce radio commercials, and I work from 10am to 6pm.

I split up my writing time most weekdays. I rise at 5am, write till 6, when I make breakfast and wake up my wife and youngest son (16). They're gone by 7:30, and I then write till 9 when I go to work. There is also some quiet time after dinner, maybe 8 to 9pm, but the exact times vary wildly in the evening.

I say most days, because any doctor's appointments, trips to the mechanic, whatever, can also eat into this time. For instance, since I start work at 10am, if I need tires, or an oil change, and a new pair of socks, I do it before work.

Still, the majority of my weekdays are good for writing. I almost never write on Saturday, and on Sundays I find some quiet time in the afternoon. Also, when I say 'writing' I may be editing, which is just as time-consuming.

James Lee Jobe
Carol Guess said…
Great answers! It was fun to read your responses. I'm always curious about when writers manage to write; very few of us have the luxury of writing for a living.

I'm aiming for a 6am time slot, feeling sheepish that it's somehow hard. In my youth I wrote at 4am! But I seem to be creakier in the mornings these days ...

I do think my best stuff gets written in between everything else. A note here, a few lines there, and somehow it all comes together. Carole Maso talks about having periods where she wrote only one line a day; I try to remember this, and remember what masterpieces came out of those single lines (AVA, Aureole).
Cero said…
Early morning, late night sometimes, and weekends.