Monday, May 4, 2009

My Freelance Writing Schedule

It's not exactly a set schedule – mainly because I conduct business each day with a two-year old under foot. Still, I try to create enough routine so that I actually accomplish something. I have chatted on forums with other freelancing moms. Some have scheduling down to a scary science. Every single second of the day is scheduled and accounted for. I guess we all have to do whatever helps us meet our goals.

I've had a few writers asking how I manage with four kids under the age of nine. My answer is sheer determination. The alternative, working for someone else, is not an option for me so I have to make this work.

Some days all goes according to plan, and on other days I just patiently wait for the end to come so that I can wake up in the morning and get a do-over. The unexpected usually occurs, but that's where the flexibility of being a freelance writer really becomes a benefit. Nevertheless, here is my daily schedule - of sorts:

5:00am-6:00am: Check email and write for an hour before getting kids up for school. I usually try to write my blog posts or proof and edit projects that are due one last time.

Wake kids to get ready for school. Wake husband for work. This includes making breakfast. By 7:30am we should be walking out the door to drop off kids at school and hubby at train station.

8:00am-9:00am: Return home. Snack and Mazy video for two-year old (yes, I still have a VCR/DVD player). Return emails, work on projects, update blogs (hopefully), and send out a few queries to businesses.

9:00am-10:00am: Workout. With two-year-old right beside me. Not easy, but essential since I sit at my desk all day. Sometimes I put him in a stroller and we take an hour long walk.

10:00am-12:00pm: Shower, change clothes and write while two-year old plays.

12:00pm-2:00pm: Thirty minutes for lunch, then two year old naps and I write like crazy. If he doesn't nap, he's usually content to lay quietly on the sofa with his pillow and blanket listening to music (no TV time) until he dozes off.

Off to get in car line to pick up kids from school (10 minutes away). Sometimes I bring along a notebook to write, or I'll bring my Alpha Neo Smart to work on a project, and then upload it to my computer once I return to my office.

3:00pm-4:00pm: Return home. Kids change clothes, wash up, get snacks and get ready to do homework. The two-year old colors quietly (sometimes). I am still working, but they know I'm available if there are questions about homework.

4:00pm-5:00pm: An hour of TV or playing outside (I take my Alpha Smart).

5:00pm-6:00pm: prepare and cook dinner. While dinner cooks, I sit with each kindergartener (twins) and take turns listening to them read their books the teacher sends home. Check eight-year old's homework.

Some days I'm completely done by this time, but most days I still have a few loose ends to tie up before bed. The kids are all in bed by 8:30pm. I get on the computer, check messages and sometimes write until around 10:00pm (if I'm on deadline, or have personal projects that need to get done). Otherwise I enjoy the evening spending time and watching television with my husband. I usually go to bed between 11:30pm and midnight. Lather, rinse, repeat. Care to share your schedule?


Lori said...

Amazing. I'd forgotten how damn tough it is to write with kids around. Well, I have a 20-year-old who interrupts the flow pretty often - does that count? :)) Can't send her to timeout! LOL

What I like is you claim hours to yourself. Great way to stay in tune with your needs as well as your writing needs.

Kimberly Ben said...

Dangit, Lori, I was hoping that I'd be writing uninterrupted by the time they got into their 20's. Now those hopes are dashed - Lol.

Last year I was NOT taking time out for myself. I was on call and working 24/7. Then came burnout. Boundaries are a must. Lesson learned.

Mary said...

You're my hero! I guess I have a similar schedule, but my one year old doesn't seem to sit quiety as much as your two-year old! What are we going to do when school is out for summer? I hope I can keep my sanity AND my deadlines!

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