Finding Time or Making Time, by Linda Hoye

I work full-time in the corporate world as a Business Analyst and I can’t count the number of times over the past few years that I’ve been asked the same question: How do you find the time to write?

Well, I don’t believe it’s so much finding the time as it is making the most of the time available. If there’s something we feel compelled or called to do we can’t wait until we have time. It’s up to us to adjust our priorities in order to make time to respond to that calling.

Here are a few things that have been invaluable in allowing me to make time to write over the past few years.

Make deliberate choices. Before I started working on my memoir I was an avid quilter. Given that I have a finite amount of free time, I realized pretty quickly that I wouldn’t be able to do everything I wanted to do on weekends and evenings.

I made a conscious choice to set my quilting aside for the time it took to write my book. I packed away my fabric and projects, covered my sewing machine, and hung one of my favorite quilts in my office to remind me that it was temporary and I would return to quilting one day.

Linda Hoye’s Quilt

Location, location, location. A few years ago I was fortunate to be able to switch to a flex schedule at work that allows me to work longer days and have every second Friday off. I put firm boundaries around my Fridays and call them my writing days. Often I pack up my laptop, my thesaurus, notebook, favorite pens, and head to the library to write.

Sometimes, on days when I get an early start, I like to settle into my favorite spot at a local coffee shop for a couple of hours first. Can’t I write at home? Certainly! But I find it harder to focus at home because there is always something like laundry, dishes, or dogs clamoring for my attention. Packing up my supplies and going someplace else to write helps me focus on writing as a priority.

Family support. One of the cool things about being married for a long time is that you develop your own marital language. Sometimes when I’m feeling inspired or need time to finish something I send an email to my husband with one sentence: PID until 6:00. That lets him know I’ll be sequestering myself in my office—my “woman cave” as I like to refer to it—until 6:00 and am not to be disturbed.

PID is our abbreviation for “pretend I’m dead.” It’s not as macabre as it sounds. It comes from a cartoon we read once together in the Sunday paper. The point is that I’m able to ask for what I need and fortunate that my husband is supportive enough to allow me that time. There’s no way I could have written Two Hearts without his support.

If we have a burning desire to write our story—or to do anything else for that matter—we must be mindful of making the best use of our time. We might dream of retreating to a mountain cabin for a few months of solitude in which to write, but the reality is that not many of us will have that luxury. We have to be creative with the time available to us.

These are a few things that have worked for me. I’d love to hear what time management tools you employ in your own lives that allow you to follow your passions.

***

Linda Hoye

Linda Hoye is a writer, editor, adoptee, and somewhat-fanatical grandma. Her memoir, Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude will offer hope and inspiration to anyone who’s life has been touched by adoption. She currently lives in the state of Washington with her husband and their two Yorkshire terriers, but Saskatchewan, Canada will always be her heart’s home.

Connect with her on her blog A Slice of Life Writing, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.

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17 Comments

Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers

17 responses to “Finding Time or Making Time, by Linda Hoye

  1. Esther

    Oh how I wish I’d discovered PID a long time ago! Thanks for a wonderful idea.

  2. Pingback: Time: Your Choice

  3. karenselliott

    I live alone, so I don’t get to use PID. But I could have used it years ago! Great post, Linda. You are a dream guest blogger.

  4. What a great reminder, Linda!

    I have always said time is the one commodity we are all given the exact same amount of every day. We can get more money, but never more time.

    I like your PID idea…now to figure a way to send myself the message so I stop checking emails etc while writing!!

    • Ah yes, Denise. The time-stealer of email and social media can easily derail us, can’t it! Hmmm…I wonder if there is away to apply the PID principle to email…

  5. Are you psychic, Linda? This was a nudge I needed. I’ve been resisting the idea of finding a place other than my office to write, but I’ve heard that advice two of three times just this week, so maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.

    When I don’t want to be disturbed, I put a sign on my door that says, “Genius at Work.” I like your PID idea too!

    • LOL, Elizabeth! No I’m not psychic but I do find that many of us struggle with time management now and then. I highly recommend going to a different location to write. It does put you in a different state of mind.

      Genius at work–I love it!

  6. gaylemadden

    Hi Linda,
    Unfortunately, or fortunately, (I’m trying to look at cancer as a gift), I began to write this year because I was not strong enough to do the “normal” activities I love–being out on the trail! The good news is that I’m hooked. Even as I am gaining strength to resume activities, I will not stop writing. Sounds easy because I’m retired, but retirement is not even the answer! The answer for me is to write enough until that’s what I want to be doing!
    I hope your readers don’t wait until critical illness or retirement to write!

    • Hi Gayle, it’s great that you are finding the silver lining. State of mind can be so powerful in how we manage things. I’m an advocate of doing trying to do what I can do TODAY because there are no guarantees about tomorrow. I’m especially conscious of that fact as I approach the age my mom was she died suddenly at 55.

  7. What a blessing your husband is, Linda! I have begun to get up an hour earlier every day to write. I love the quiet…it’s inspiring!

  8. I love all of these suggestions so much! I wish I could use PID, but I don’t think my toddler and infant would get it. Lol!

  9. Ah, Linda, you’ve just provided a solution to my torn and suffering quilter’s heart! I keep fretting that I have no time to sew on stacks of quilting material and long awaited patterns. Knowing that another quilter has placed her quilting on hold while writing will make it easier for me to do the same. Sharing your thoughts on time management for your writing is like a long, slow drink of cool water on a hot day! Thanks for the refreshment.

  10. karenselliott

    Isn’t that the way, though? We must make choices. What we can get to now, what we must put off for another day. I’ve never done quilting, but I have done cross-stitch. Every project – writing, quilting, cross-stitch – takes up space – both in our special work areas and in our minds.

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