I love the series on The Rumpus, Where I Write.
It’s something I think about a lot. Where to write and when to write and how I’m going to get the hours in.
My house is my favorite place to write. It’s quiet. It’s where I get the most work done and where I most want to be. We moved to a new house this summer and it took me a while to get comfortable and to find a good writing spot.
For now, I’m sharing a desk with my husband. Technically, it’s my desk but we moved it into his study and now I’m in there too. The desk holds both of our computers and whenever one of us goes to work, we shove the other computer out of the way. It’s not pretty, but it’s working.
I’m able to focus. The window has a view and I watch the neighbor obsessively garden her yard. She gardens every day. Her yard is spectacular. I’m so glad it’s not me who’s gardening (because we used to have a garden that required constant upkeep) and that I can stay up here and write.
I work 30 hours a week at my day job, Monday through Thursday. I go in late on Thursdays and get Fridays off. Some Fridays, I keep my three-year-old home with me and we do something fun like go to the park or the river or the museum. But for the past few months, I’ve been knee-deep in revisions and devoting Fridays to writing.
A whole day to write. A whole day at my desk with no interruptions and nobody in the house and nothing to do but what I want with it. It feels like a gift. A blessing from above.
I used to get up by 5 a.m. every morning and write for two hours before work. I wrote Whores on the Hill that way. And the first draft of my latest project. But getting up at 5 a.m. hasn’t been working since I got pregnant and I still have/had a ton of work and revisions to do.
So lately, I’ve been grabbing the hours where I can.
There are the sleepless nights when you’re pregnant. Sometimes, I can struggle up out of the darkness and sit at the computer for an hour or two if I can’t sleep.
Sometimes I write at 3 a.m. Sometimes at 4 a.m. Sometimes at 5 a.m.
But these hours are usually fretful, because I know I need to go back to sleep. I know the work day will be impossible on just a few hours sleep and now that I’m seven months pregnant, I know I should stay in bed, that it’s better for the baby, but I also think, if I don’t do this writing now, who knows when I’ll get the chance again? So I get up. I do a little work. I fall back into bed. And then try to find another hour in the day where I can get some work in.
I try to find balance. Know what I want to accomplish for the week and find out a way to do it.
Often this means getting the set-up work done Monday through Wednesday, either in the wee hours of the morning or on my lunch hour somewhere. Then launching into the bigger work on Thursdays and Fridays when I have more time. And maybe even getting a whole Saturday morning to myself if my husband takes my son to the gym.
It hasn’t been ideal. But it never is. That’s one thing I’ve learned. You just have to keep at it. Because there is no other way to do it.
Next time: All the weird places I’ve been writing when I can’t be at my desk.