Getting Back to the Calendar

Here’s what I thought would happen once school started. I’d have 6-8 hours a day of just-writing time. You know, because high school would be so easy and straightforward and life, with all its complications and responsibilities and tasks would somehow magically take care of itself.

Um. Yeah.

Let me just say that the past few weeks have felt just a tad scrambled and random and disorganized and—okay,yes, productive in many ways, but not for my writing and not with a high degree of calm, relaxed, sanity.

Which, I reminded myself this morning, means it’s time for my calendar. It’s time to schedule my writing and to fit some planned time in for all that other life-stuff, too.

Here’s how it works, when I remember to do it. The first thing I schedule for the morning, in writing, or–these days–on my Blackberry-is the writing. I take up an hour slot on the day’s calendar, or if I’m being nice and generous, an hour and a half. Sometimes, when I first get back to this “system,” I have to fight the feeling that I’m only dedicating a small piece of the day to the thing I love most. Of course, then I think about the past week or two or…you know, and I realize that’s way more than I’ve been giving to my writing. I schedule this time for a few days, up to a week ahead–basically as far as I can look forward and know what life will be like. Supposedly, anyway.

For the rest of the day’s time, I think about what else I have to do. Sometimes I have an editing job or some freelance writing to fit in. Other times, like now, I feel a serious need to get in some solid exercise–another thing that typically goes missing when my life chooses the haywire path, so I make sure I get some of that down, in writing. This month, it’s paperwork–all the lovely financial-management joys that skulk in corners and make sneering nyah-nyah noises when I try and hide from them for too long.

Writing, exercise, paperwork.

I don’t know about you, but that’s plenty for me to fit into a day, along with, you know, spending time with my family, helping my son ride that school roller-coaster, keeping the house and food supplies in some semblance of order, and–lest we forget–reading.

I’m getting a bit freaked out again just looking at this post.



I know this works. As long as I write it down. I might not be speeding along, but I’ll be making progress. And that’s really what it’s all about.

PJ Hoover uses her own very special time-management tools. If you haven’t seen her fun video yet, take a look here. And enjoy the calm.


  1. Hi Becky,

    I can completely relate to you! I work full time, sometimes 9-1/2 hours a day, and when I come home, I never have time to write. Half the time, I’m too tired. But here’s how I’ve begun working it in, and it helps keep my creativity flowing as well:

    I carry a small notepad with me in my purse, with a pen. Back at home, I keep an “idea box” on my desk. Whenever I feel the need to “purge,” I’ll take three minutes to jot down thoughts, regardless of where I’m at. Then, when I return home, I stuff the scribbles into my idea box. Should you have time to continue your piece of work later, pull it from the box, and it flows more smoothly and you get more done . . . because your mind is rolling.

    I’ve learned that sometimes you must roll with life’s “organized chaos,” because if you try and structure it too much, you lose your creativity and Writer’s Block strikes!

    Nice post.

    Shari Lopatin


    • beckylevine says:

      I so admire writers who keep it going with full-time jobs. I’m trying to find a way to keep flexibile at-home other-work hours and juggle that with the writing. And, yes, going with the time we have and making the most of it seems the way to go. Good luck to you!


  2. nrhatch says:

    Becky . . . breathe. 8)

    Wonderful reminder that consistent progress toward our goals is more important than jackrabbit starts (and stalls).

    Write on!


  3. claudine says:

    That’s perfect, Becky. I love the idea of writing for one hour. I think I can do that. I’ve been fizzling lately.


  4. Right there with you, Becky. Nursery school is wonderful for both Sweetpea and me, but in the end it only lasts for 3 hours, and less when you consider time for pick-up and drop-off. I have to be very clear-headed about making space for writing, or it won’t happen.


    • beckylevine says:

      Amy, the thing I’ve learned is that everything else gets done, if I put the writing first. If I don’t put it first, everything else still gets done, but not the writing! Enjoy your preschool hours. 🙂


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