Finding The Time

There are three times during the day I can write; early in the morning, at lunch, and late at night. Two of these are mutually exclusive.

My family consists of myself, my wife, and twin toddlers. You’d think that writing in the morning, before everyone is awake, would be the ideal. You’d be gravely mistaken. There’s a lot of work that goes into preparing a day for toddlers, and as I’m the sole morning person in the family, some of that prep falls to me. It’s also my time for exercise, reading, meditation; all those other things I need solitude for, and that I enjoy as much as I enjoy writing.

Notice I said I’m a morning person. That removes late at night as an option. Evening after the kids are asleep is the only time my wife and I have together, when there’s no kids needing attention. It’s also our decompression time. Waiting until all three other humans in the house are asleep isn’t an option; that’s usually 10:30 to 11:30, and if I’m gonna get up at 5 to 6, well, I’m gonna be asleep by then.

That leaves lunchtime. It’s fairly productive for me. There’s a fixed amount of time, so I can’t afford to faff about with a blank page. I have to get down to it. It’s at a regular time, so there’s a ritual there. It gives me an empty office where no one is trying to get ahold of me (mostly true; unless the building’s on fire, it’s known I’m not gonna respond to work requests. Not that I’m rude about it, but I don’t budge much on this). And the real key, I’m cut off from being able to look at my library for “research”, spend the hour on reddit (or Atomic Rockets) for “research”, or any other “research”. Those scare quotes are real. “Research” isn’t researching for a story, it’s delaying out of fear.

So that’s why today I’m…actually not writing at lunch. My wife is gone for the day, it’s just me and the kids, and since I’m not in the office, I’m writing when their asleep. Ritual is nice and all, but it pays to be flexible.

Eli Jones avatar
Eli Jones
Eli Jones is a spectulative fiction writer and data analyst living in the Cascadia Bioregion.