Blog Challenge · Writing

Day 6 – Stealing Time

That twenty-four hour time limit every day is a bitch.

It’s the one thing in life we cannot change. No matter how hard we try, there’s no stopping the clock. I can’t wiggle my nose and pause everything around me. Though, thinking about it now, had I control of genie from a lamp, I know exactly what I’d wish for…

I do not have 8 arms. And my hair has never looked that good. But the rest… yeah… that.

It’s well established from other posts on this blog that I’m your typical busy -working-writer-mom.  That is neither a complaint nor an honor badge — it just is what it is. It’s the life I’ve carved out for myself.

When I talk about my book, Rising, and its pending publication, and its sequel, Release… and the myriad of other projects I have going on related to writing (NYC Midnight Flash Fiction contest, Writing for eHow and LiveStrong, providing resume services, running a D&D campaign, this blog, and my newest project, Faster Than Takeout), I usually get the response of, blink – blink – stare – mouth open – “uhhhhh, when do you sleep?”

The truth is: I don’t. I’m a vampire.

Ok, not really*. I’m also not one of those goddesses with 8 arms, regardless of the somewhat-creepy-image I swiped from some other site found on Bing.

So what is my magic formula for book completion in a life where it appears from the outside that it’s physically impossible?

Sheer grit, determination, dedication and the art of stealing time.

I find that I write my best fiction before my computer-science-if-then-brain kicks in. AKA, before 10 AM. Apparently, it’s also when I write my snarkiest blog posts.

Ahem… moving on….

Last year, during NaNoWriMo and beyond, until I finished Rising, I dragged my sorry ass out of bed at 5 AM and wrote in a pre-coffee haze. I figured I was writing the first draft… and first drafts are typically lumpy, moldy piles of shit anyway… so why not just embrace it and write early?

Bonus: My kids were never up that early. The house was silent. It was winter, so it was still dark outside. My cat thought it was da-bomb-diggity… she was my furry arm rest for most of my writing time. No one was emailing, or calling, or texting or IMing or sending carrier pigeons. I was literally the only one awake.

(And yes, in writing that last paragraph, I am absolutely trying to talk myself into reclaiming that habit.)

There were other times I was able to carve out and dedicate to writing as well. I find that I edit best after the if-then brain is fully engaged. I made it a habit to edit during my lunch hour at work. I made use of Microsoft OneDrive to keep everything synced, and I didn’t bother with fancy writing programs like Scrivener**. I have a Windows phone with Office installed, so I could pull up files on my phone. I also had access to my OneDrive at work. I could get to my documents from anywhere, at any time, for any reason.

The last paragraph is brought to you by the letter M – for Microsoft, and the symbol $ – for… Microsoft

I also stole time on the weekends. My ability to do so depended heavily upon an extremely supportive husband who threatened to duct-tape certain children to a wall if they bugged me during my writing hours. I also informed said children that weekend time prior to 9 AM is MINE. If they got up before 9, they were on their own***.

Wait a minute, Shanan… that’s all in past tense. You’re still a writer, aren’t you? Did you give it up?

Good catch, reader!

I’ll fully admit that I fell off the writer-process wagon. I owe my publisher my final draft of Rising, like, three weeks ago (I know, I see you Courtney!) I have another round of NYC Flash Fiction coming up (starting tonight). I have about 40 blog posts and almost as many videos to create for Faster Than Takeout. And I have a certain Book 2 to write for the Adept Cycle.

So yes, I have a process that involves cheating the clock and getting shit done. I just have to… you know… do it.

* Vampires are real. I know. I am one. I just like to keep people guessing.

** I know, I know, Scrivener is like — better than double-chocolate cake made with Guinness, topped with Baileys Irish Cream frosting. I can’t use it. My OCD brain drives me deep into the minutia of ALL THE THINGS, and I never get to the actual writing.

*** My children are 9 and 10, almost 10 and 11. They can make their own damned cereal. I’ll be happy to cook an omelet for them…. after 9 AM.

6 thoughts on “Day 6 – Stealing Time

    1. I think the hardest part of stealing time is sacrificing moments of boredom. Sometimes I crave the “do-nothing” time… but if I use all my stolen moments for staring at a blank wall (i.e., Facebook 😉 ) I wind up feeling unaccomplished. Sometimes, I have to really force myself to use those moments!!


    1. There are those mornings when I creep out of bed, slink downstairs, brew my coffee, pull out my laptop and settle in…. and type one word before hearing the “clomp, clomp, bang!” of my son racing down the stairs. It’s always a groan moment. LOL! But both kids are getting older… my daughter has hit the pre-teen, I want to sleep until noon every day thing. When I’m writing… I’m totally fine with that!!


  1. You’re amazing! I’ll switch working out and writing during the wee hours. I just can’t get up early enough to do both before work. But there are days when I just sleep in…


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