Day One, Redux
Today was the first day of school for the kids, and the first day for me being home on my own as a full-time writer dude. I was terribly shocked to discover that things did not go exactly as planned. There were missed buses at both ends of the day, and I ended up going back to bed and sleeping later than I intended. Then at lunch, I started watching Mad Max: Fury Road, and had a little trouble pulling myself away from that.
But I still got butt in chair and made it through close to 10,000 words of revision work on Revisionary.
I’ve also discovered that the 10-hour/week job I’m hoping to pick up probably won’t happen for a few more weeks. On one level, that’s annoying. On another, well, it’s ten more hours of freedom for the next week or two!
I’m really looking forward to getting Revisionary done and turned back in, and getting back to work on Project Bob and several other ideas.
Lessons learned so far:
- I’ll definitely need a bit more discipline when it comes to getting up and moving in the mornings, because otherwise the day is way too short.
- I need to pick my daughter up a little after three, but she usually just goes back to her room, so I could get a little more work done after we get back.
- My son’s bus shows up a little after four, which is probably going to be the end of my work day, unless I want to put in some evening writing.
- It’s way too easy to get caught up in housework and other miscellaneous chores. (On the bright side, our refrigerator is much cleaner and better organized now!) I’m going to try to limit that to one chore/day, at most.
- I was able to mostly stay off Twitter and Facebook. The only real online distraction was a couple of annoying blog comments I chose to respond to. I’ll need to keep an eye on that.
This all still feels weird, like I’m on vacation or something. This isn’t work; it’s what I did on my days off from work!
I definitely think I could get used to it.
September 8, 2015 @ 11:57 pm
I’ve noticed an unusual desire to clean the shower when there’s a deadline I’m trying to avoid. Oddly, my husband has not suggested that I limit my chores. Le sigh.
September 9, 2015 @ 7:01 am
Things that I find help me (bear in mind I’m a full-time housewife, not a writer, but maybe they’re adaptable):
* For getting started in the morning, I have an alarm which goes off on my computer at 8.30am (I use and recommend the Free Alarm Clock from http://freealarmclocksoftware.com/ for Windows – I also use their Free Countdown Timer program as a general timer for all kinds of things) which is when my housework day begins. I have another alarm which goes off at 4pm to remind me to bring the washing inside, which is pretty much when my housework day ends. I find having those bookends for my day are very useful indeed, because it means I don’t have to feel guilty about not starting the housework before 8.30am (well, except for loading the washing machine, which I tend to do a bit before then, since it takes 2 hours to run through a load in our machine) .
* For limiting the amount I have to do per day, I have a daily target on Habitica of 20 “chores” per day ticked off my list on Chorewars (www.chorewars.com). Once I reach that target, I’m done for the day.
* Routines are invaluable. I need my routines in order to ensure I get things done. It takes about three to five weeks to really bed a routine down (for me, at least) but once I’ve got it going, and it can run uninterrupted, it makes life so much easier. (Of course, this leads to problems when my routines get disrupted, but one can’t have everything).
I suspect once you get a set routine happening across the day and across the week, you’ll probably be fine, but as mentioned further up the page, settling in a routine takes at least a couple of weeks, possibly longer, and in the meantime, you’re going to have to do everything consciously rather than automatically.
September 9, 2015 @ 4:13 pm
Sounds wonderful! I am cheering for you!
September 10, 2015 @ 12:20 am
Give yourself at least an hour, hour and a half to do breakfast, get kids to bus, toiletries, etc. in the morning. There’s no point in trying to pretend that’s going to be a quick part of the day.
Do your fiction writing in the morning, in the hours when the kids are in school. Don’t do housework, run errands, deal with business stuff, etc. instead. Get the work that requires the most concentration and is least interruptable tackled first. Give your neighbors the impression that you write away from home so they’ll think you’re gone.
In the early afternoon is when you can do the free-lance work, deal with business and email, revisions, etc. — things that can be interruptable and don’t require as much concentration. Do the regular maintenance housechores then too.
Once you hit bus pick up time, the 2:45 to dinner period (6-7 pm) is the worst period. Do only work that is immediately interruptable and requires little concentration. Do light housecleaning. Help kids with homework. In the evening, when they are done, sleeping, you can do the freelance and revision work, and business and social media. But don’t stay up so late each night that you have spend precious daytime napping. (Unless you’re sick, in which case, definitely nap.)
If you can do some local errands with the kids, during that 4-6 p.m. period, do that. It’s tempting to do errands when they aren’t around, but that will eat up your day, so any they can do with you, do. If the kids have after school activities then, though, that can be a good time to write or do social media while you’re waiting on them.
Designate one weekend day for errands, child activities and social activities (usually Saturday,) and the other weekend day is massive cleaning day for all non-daily chores, including laundry, gardening and the kids spending one hour tidying their rooms or play area. You can also have the kids help you cook and prep dinners for the week. (I seldom managed this, but it apparently does help if you can do it. There’s a whole t.v. show on it.)
Schedule errands you can’t get out of and doctor appointments together, if you can, so you lose say an afternoon doing them, instead of hours from each day. Doing things in blocks and chunks of like tasks, I have found, works better than trying to do one of this and one of that.
Plan out the schedule with the kids at the beginning of the week and ask them frequently through the week about things they need to do. This way, you will not be surprised by fund-raising bake sales and such.
And lastly, if you can make common cause with other parents you know and trust, you can do carpool/walking rotation of one parent waiting for and escorting the whole crew of neighbor kids back from the bus, instead of all of you waiting at the stop twice a day every day. Unless you enjoy the social interaction, which you might.
September 14, 2015 @ 1:03 pm
If you’re still using HabitRPG/Habitica, I find that it helps me a lot to structure my (freelancer, work-at-home) day. Thus I have a few “easy” dailies to give me basic structure (eating lunch is not a hard task, but having this daily makes sure that I will do it and not skip it, which will inevitably happen without the daily).
It will probably take you a few weeks to settle into a routine, and I find that mine changes a bit from time to time, too – which is always a good opportunity to take stock. Good luck in figuring out how to structure your working life!
Loose-leaf Links for September | Earl Grey Editing
September 24, 2015 @ 6:02 pm
[…] C. Hines talks about how his first day as a full-time writer went. I think it is fantastic that he is sharing his transition so openly, highlighting some of the […]