Recently I started a new full-time job (yay!), which has been going really well. But with a full-time job (as opposed to freelancing, which I was doing before) comes a new set of time constraints when it comes to creative writing.
I’m a morning writer, so I started by waking up extra early to write before work, but that meant waking up at 5 am. The first week or so of the new job I was able to do this, but it didn’t last very long. So I kept waking up later. A 6 am wake up time meant I could write for one hour before having to get ready for work.
Now, I don’t want to knock short writing times. If all you have is 15 minutes, then write for 15 minutes! But I’m at a point where one hour isn’t enough for me, and an inconsistent bedtime meant I wasn’t always getting enough sleep to be able to write that early in the morning.
Luckily, my workplace allows flextime, so I’ve changed my work schedule to 10 am – 6 pm, so by waking up at 6 am, I can write for an hour and a half. In a few months I’m going to move closer to work, which means that by waking up still at 6 am I’ll be able to write for 2 to 2.5 hours before work.
If you’re a morning writer and your full-time job offers flextime I highly recommend availing yourself of that opportunity. Now, I don’t have to wake up so brutally early and I can still get in a decent amount of writing before heading off to work.
The catch is, of course, that I need to get to sleep on time, 10:30 pm the latest. If I go to bed any later and wake up at 6 am, my body will start shutting down at about 2 pm. I don’t know if it’s because I’m 30 years old now, or what, but I absolutely need at least 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep. Any less and I’m a zombie at work the next day.
What else does this mean? It means I need to think carefully about all that I take on during the week. It means saying no to things sometimes so I can stick to my schedule. I used to enjoy going out for late night coffees with my bestie to chat, during the week as well as the weekend, but I can’t do that anymore *tear*, because I need to wake up early to write.
I gave up several volunteer positions as well a while ago in order to simplify my life. I’ve found that there’s only so much a person can do in a day, and I absolutely do not subscribe to the life motto that if you only optimize everything perfectly then you’ll get loads done in a day. In our society, we value celebrities for their insane schedules and marvel at how productive they are. I have no doubt many of those individuals have great daily habits. However, I always remind myself that those same individuals do not have to deal with household chores and tasks. For those of us still living on that plane of existence, we have to set time aside for cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, etc. Naturally, this eats into our creative time.
Okay, I may have gone on a little tangent there. But it’s only because I don’t want people to feel bad about themselves that they can’t be as productive as their favourite titan of industry. Though, of course, those guys have many of their own time constraints as well, they’re just different from ours.
Anyhoo, inserting creative time into your life can be hard. I rediscovered this after starting a new full-time position. So I’ve been doing my best to simplify, streamline, and rearrange my life so that I have time for the most important things, but not everything. Some things I can’t do as often. Some things I’ve had to say no to completely.
If you feel constrained for creative time, you’re not alone!