Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Tip: Writing Around Work

(Note: even when I write the blog post ahead of time, it helps to post it before going to work...)

I touched on this in a previous tip, but today I’m going a little more in-depth into how to squeeze writing time in around your work schedule.

As I type this, it’s actually Monday morning. My husband and I carpool to work. He drops me off and picks me up, and right now I’m getting to my building almost half an hour before I actually start work for the day. Fortunately, we have an employee lounge which apparently no one else on my floor uses this early in the morning, which makes it a perfect place to get some writing done.

(There is, strangely enough, no clock in the employee lounge, but as long as I set my laptop’s computer clock to work time, I also have a convenient way to make sure I get punched in on time.)

I also have a half hour lunch, and roughly half an hour between when I get done with work for the day and when my husband gets here to pick me up. Since I’m trying to eat in to save money, that’s three half-hour blocks of writing time I can use, or two and one for reading research books while I eat lunch.

(Nine hours later…)

It doesn’t seem like much time, but I managed to get 200 words done in about 20 minutes. If my word count goal for the day is 500 words, I should be able to do that entirely at work. Of course, some days will be better than others—for instance, the fire alarm kicking off on one of my breaks was a tad distracting, and of course there will be those days where I stare at the keyboard and only get half a sentence done before it’s time to pack up. And those are days when I will have to park my rear in front of my computer at home and finish out my word count.

But so far, so good. And another nice thing—if I get stuck on something early in the day, it’s got all day to kick around in the back of my head while I work. If letting things simmer overnight works, I imagine letting ideas percolate through the filter of claims processing will have a similar effect.

Shoe-horning my writing time around my work time leaves my evenings free for walks with the dog, watching the Daily Show and the Colbert Report with my husband, and (gasp!) dishes and laundry. My husband is always great about supporting my writing habit, and the dishes and laundry will keep. But the dog? She’s less forgiving.

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