Back when I first started writing, I worked a day job, 7AM-3PM, was a single mom to two school-age boys, and working on my first manuscript. I would get up every morning at 4:00AM and write for an hour. Then I’d either get ready for work or if I was off, I’d write another hour. At six, I’d either go to work or awaken the boys so they’d get ready for school. If I wasn’t working, I’d putz around until the boys were home from school, then take a nap while the guys played outside. After supper and homework, time with my sons before they went to bed. Sometimes I would watch TV; sometimes I would write, then off to bed after the news. The next day, the cycle would start over.
Then the hospital went to 12 shifts and suddenly the rhythm of my life was permanently screwed up. At first, I tried to save my writing for my days off, but if my shift the day before was chaotic, writing was impossible. After a few years, I quit the hospital and went into teaching…thinking I’d get my rhythm back. Not! Did you know that teaching takes more than just 8 hours a day??
So I went back to 12 hours shifts and wrote the best I could. Now that I’m part time, you’d think I would be sitting pretty. My mornings free every day whether I go to the hospital or not. But it’s not working out that way! November went great, but December brought the holidays. In January, I was working on contest entries and February was the great snow blizzards which should have been prime writing periods, but somehow all that snow must have frozen my brain because all I did was read.
How do I get my rhythm back? How back into the swing I had when I first started? Is it because now I’m alone and don’t have to stay on track because I have kids to keep on track? Is it because I’m no longer in a weekly critique group which I have to admit did make it easier to keep moving forward? I’m not sure, but I do know, if I don’t get into a rhythm soon, I’ll be pulling my hair out. And I can’t afford that!