For a long time, I fussed with finding a good time to write. Since I’m still working–although at home and for myself–when I write during the day, I feel guilty. The guilt is a waste of time, but it’s there. I can’t deny it.
As I age, falling asleep has become more difficult. My husband goes to bed at 10 p.m. I used to head for bed at the same time, and then would lie awake for hours. One night as I lay there, restless and not wanting to wake my partner, I realized I could be writing. I got up, found my slippers, and padded into my office. That started what has been a long period of refreshing discipline. We say goodnight at ten, and I go to write until midnight. I may miss a night every few weeks, but in general, that’s my pattern.
This has been a very fruitful time: the house is quiet and the phone doesn’t ring. These aren’t work hours, so no guilt. My adult son, who keeps an odd schedule, knows not to call me after ten unless he’s seriously ill or hurt. Since he writes too, he honors my writing time. In the last year, working within this schedule, I’ve finished the first draft of a novel and the final rewrite of my memoir. I’ve been amazed at what I’ve completed only carving out two hours a day.
I usually begin by reviewing what I wrote the night before, then I move into new terrain. Right now I’m rewriting the novel, so I’m not generating as much new material. But some evenings, like tonight, I write a blog post, a nice change from rewriting. When I do finally put my computer to sleep and toddle off to bed, I stay with my story. I may fall asleep puzzling over a thorny plot problem, and in the morning, the solution is apparent. Sometimes, I have an epiphany about how to deepen one of my characters.
An old friend I’ve known for forty-one years is staying overnight. Nonetheless, we said goodnight at ten, and I headed for my office. She’s a writer, too; she understands.
I didn’t find the time to write, I made it.
© Skye Blaine, 2015