Friday, 14 September 2007

Burning the Midnight Oil

Someone commented on how late I always post. It seems to be around midnight most days. Yes, I am also up at 6:30 every morning so the days get really long. I have well meaning friends and family members that suggest I get more sleep, and believe me, bed sounds really good most nights around 11:00 pm. (I know, that is still late to most people, but I am such a night person.) If I could figure out how to put more hours in a day, I certainly would go to bed earlier. For me it comes down to priorities.

There are so many things that have to be done each day. And despite all my good intentions of getting the writing done during daylight hours, it never seems to happen. First there are all the family responsibilities. Now midnight wouldn't be such an issue if I didn't have to get up so early to get a daughter to early morning seminary and kids to school. We also try to eat breakfast together as much as possible. Then there is the dinner hour, homework, housework, and all the other things that go with raising a family.

There are also work responsibilities. As much as I dream about being a best-selling author someday and supporting myself with writing, I am very much not there yet. So I can't quit my day job. Some days I have children arriving at 7:30 am, and by 8:30 I often have up to six extra kids demanding my attention. Now I insist on a quiet time during the early afternoon, so I can often get in a little writing time then, but I'm lucky if I get even an hour.

Just those two things take up every hour of a normal day. Start adding in church callings, school council meetings, and all the other little things that come up in a week. I have become very good at knowing my limits and in the last year I have almost perfected the art of saying "no" when I need to. But still, there are very few spare minutes to be had.

Tonight I finally sat down at the computer at 9:20 pm. We had our annual ward corn bust to go to, which took up some good writing hours, but it was a good time. They organized a chili cook-off, served corn on the cob, and had games for the kids. It is always good to mingle with ward members and get to know them better. But here I am sitting at the computer, and midnight is creeping up on me again.

My husband looks at the calendar and notes that this latest BIAM challenge will be over in early October. Then I remind him that NaNoWriMo starts in November and there is an online writer's conference that I will be participating in happening the second week of October. So we all just get used to mom being up till midnight most nights.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "Winners look for ways things can be done. Losers look for ways they can't." (unknown). I think of this every time life throws something else in my day. I have decided to be a successful writer. To do this I actually have to write. Writing is important to me, but I can't neglect the other things demanding my attention. So until the kids grow up, and until I don't have to work anymore, I'll see you here around midnight.


Shanna Blythe said...

I'm impressed that you stay up that late and write. I could never do it. If I don't get around nine hours of sleep on a regular basis I cannot stay healthy. I get sicker than a dog and that is something I cannot do. Sigh! But everyone is different and today, during class I found some writing time!!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

I'm sure I would have more energy, but I am so used to getting very little sleep (starting with the birth of my oldest child 14 1/2 years ago) that I don't think I remember what it is like to get a full night's sleep.

That's great that you found some writing time. I say take what you can get.

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

Makes you wonder how we ever manage to get up every day and still get things done. I have the exact same problem. I can only get my writing done early in the morning or late at night, because during the day there is an unwritten law that I must be disturbed every fifteen minutes by the phone or the door.

ali said...

I'm right there with ya Stephanie. Though I do and can get some writing done during the day, I still have a hard time going to bed without stopping in to say 'hi' to my characters/friends and seeing what they are up to.

Oftentimes my hubby will pass by my office on his way up to bed and say 'hey! I thought you had gone up long ago!' That's when I know I really do need to go to bed but ... I usually enjoy that midnight hour, just me and friends, imagining together.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

It sure is nice to have the house quiet with no interruptions. Makes it easier to hear what the characters are trying to tell me.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I'm awake too! Hi (waving)

Traci Hunter Abramson said...

Isn't it amazing how much faster the words can flow when the kids are in bed? I find my best writing time shifted from late night to early morning when my oldest daughter started early morning seminary three years ago. She can drive herself now, but I find that I can really get a lot accomplished in that first hour or two of the day.

iZING said...

Six A.M or Six P.M., noon or midnight; the time you sit down isn't important. The only thing that matters is that you do sit down to write.

Keep up the great work. I wish I had your talent and skill with words.

Sheila Hatch said...

Hi, I have been keeping up on your blog. I really like your quote "Winners look for ways things can be done....."
Keep writting. I look forward to reading your books.

Queen of Chaos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ajoy said...

The ONLY time that I can write is at night time. Believe me...I've tried the daytime hours and the result is chaos.

Sometimes I stay up way too late and regret it later. But I need to do what works best.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

traci - I've tried flipping my schedule-going to bed earlier and writing for a few hours before my family wakes up. Unfortunately, I am a true night person. I usually feel worse when I go to bed early and get up early than when I do the opposite.

izing - Thanks for the encouragement.

Sheila - nice to see you here. Glad you liked the quote, and I'm hard at work on getting the book ready for people to read. Hopefully the publishers want to work with me.

ajoy - I usually regret the midnight hours, halfway through the morning especially. When I can figure out how to get more done in less time, I'll give them up for good. It has been so long since I have gotten a full eight hours, that even when I allow myself to sleep in, I can't do it.

Rick, the ever-loving husband said...

Honey, come to bed?!??!

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