Monday, August 22, 2011

Squeezing Time

School starts tomorrow (which is why my kids and I have gone crazy trying to squeeze several weeks' worth of activities into last week). Since I work at my kids' school, that means I'm headed back to school too. As busy as summer gets, it's even harder to
squeeze everything in during the school year. Even if kids heading to school means you're heading into your less busy time, or if your busy times are more constant, LIFE HAPPENS. Plans change. Sometimes circumstances make it really hard to fit in writing time. Or editing time. Or querying time. Or blogging time. Or even reading time. Everyone has times when it's harder to fit it all in than at other time.

And we all have tricks. Those things we do that help us to squeeze every bit of time from a day. So how about this: I share mine, you share yours, and we all figure out ways to get it all done!

Okay, here's mine.
  1. I plot in small chunks. Sure, it's easier to get a lot of plotting done when I have a big hunk of time on my hands, but most my plotting happens when I'm driving down the street, thinking as I fall asleep at night, for those first few minutes after the alarm goes off in the morning before I crawl out of bed, when I'm making dinner, folding clothes, or making sure kids don't treat the playground equipment as a high wire they need to walk across at recess. Those little chunks of time make it so I can work through my next scene. Or figure out what to do with this character. Or figure out how to fix that plot problem.
  2. I take my kids fun places. We go somewhere they'll have fun, like to a park, and I take my laptop with me. That way they're having a blast, and I can find a shady place to delve into another world while still keeping an eye on this one.
  3. I made the best investment ever: a netbook. Her name is P.A.M. (it stands for Peggy's Awesome Mini). She's the greatest thing ever. Check her out: she's the size of a hardback book! I can take PAM everywhere (and I usually do). If there's ever a chance I'll be waiting, she joins me so that time can be well spent.
  4. I utilize my phone's voice recorder and notepad. There are definitely places you find yourself with unplanned brain-wandering time. If I'm in a place where it'd be inappropriate to talk, I use my phone's notepad to jot down whatever idea came to me. If I am somewhere less inappropriate to talk, I use my phone's voice recorder. Especially when I've finally figured out how to word something, or if it's long enough that I don't want to type so much on such a teeny device. The bonus part of using the phone voice recorder? You can talk to yourself, and EVERYONE ASSUMES YOU'RE TALKING TO A REAL PERSON. Handy thing, that.
Okay, so there's mine. What tricks do you use to squeeze the most out of each day? I'm really going to need them.


Chantele Sedgwick said...

I have a baby laptop too! :D I call her pinky. Because, well, she's pink. :) LOVE the new blog look!! :D :D

Abby Fowers said...

These are great tips! Life DOES happen. Seems like just when I think it's going to slow down, it doesn't. I'm known for writing on my hand! lol. It's a curse, but when all else fails, I jot it down on my hand! lol

Shilpa Mudiganti said...

I plot during the few minutes before I doze off and forget it in the morning. I know I lost some great ideas that way...but then habits die hard! The other thing I always do is keep something either of the two around me ALWAYS - my mini or iphone. My iphone notes are filled with my bizarre-timed ideas! :)

Lani Wendt Young said...

I like the tip about talking to your phone. I hate it when Im out and about and i get a GREAT idea for a blog post or for my book and its so clear in my mind that i can see it, feel it, hear it...And then i get home, sit down at the laptop and BLEAUGH. Its gone. And nothing but rubbish is left...
Great tips. Thanks

Alleged Author said...

I think I am going to write in small chunks this year instead of waiting for school break. Hope the new school year is great! :)

Jeff King said...

I have no tricks... I might need to get me a netbook.

Thx for the tip.

Shell Flower said...

I definitely think about my stories a lot at work and as life happens, but haven't really figured out how to keep a log or whatever. I don't own a cell phone, don't carry a notebook around, and my laptop is not a cute tiny netbook either. I'm hoping to get a Kindle or Nook and maybe take notes on that. It's a carrot I have dangling for when I get an agent (I just decided that right now. LOL.) Good luck with school. My son starts Sept. 6, but for me work never stops. In a way that's nice, though, because I don't get out of the groove really.

P.S. I love your new blog!

Libby said...

netbooks make everything easier. I need to use mine more. :)

Jessie Humphries said...

Shoot girl...that's a lot of tricks. I never knew about netbooks. I dont have any dang tricks. I just get up at the crack of dawn to have any time to meself.

Jolene Perry said...

laptop, notebook, and/or iPad go with me EVERYWHERE. I never know when I'll get stuck and have extra time.

Also - it's super cute here :D

Weaver said...

I love your suggestions! Now if I could have been writing during a dang sales pitch. Ugh.

Jennie Bennett said...

I so need a notebook, or maybe an iPad. That would help me so much!

E.D. said...

You are right on!! Plotting in "small chunks" while life is happening around me - walking to work, taking a shower, ironing and so on....
As for netbooks or notebooks - whenever they are around, nothing happens. If I have nothing to write with or on (except perhaps a receipt and an eyeliner), its gushing! :-)

P.S. Love the new design too

linda said...

Ooh, great tips! Love the one about plotting in small chunks. I usually write in a notebook, but now I'm tempted to get a netbook, haha. I've never tried recording something on my phone -- not sure if it'll work well for me, but I'll keep that in mind. Thanks for the awesome post!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Clever tricks. Mine aren't so high tech. I just carry around notepads everywhere to jot down ideas ;)

Carrie Butler said...

Hah! And here I thought I was the only one to name my electronics. ;) Great post!

Maeve Frazier said...

Great tips! I love the idea of talking into the phone. Never even thought of it. Thanks for the advice. p.s. Have I told you I love the name of your blog!!!

Tara Tyler said...

that is a great plan. i have notebooks in every room and in my purse. and i use my ipad on the treadmill =)

Christina Lee said...

OOh I should use that stuff on my phone more--good thinkin' Lincoln!!

Peggy Eddleman said...

Chantele-- I almost got the pink one, too! I love her name. And thanks!

Abby-- I say find whatever works. The trick is remembering NOT to wash your hands before the info is transferred to a more permanent location!

Shilpa-- You sound just like me! Forget by morning, mini, iphone. Three inevitables. :)

Lani-- It always amazes me how such a great idea can turn to rubbish SO QUICKLY.

Alleged Author-- That's a great goal to have! And thanks! I hope your school year is great, too-- regardless of whether you are going or not. :)

Jeff-- It'll change your life. :)

Shell-- AWESOME reward for getting an agent! I bet that helps when you really don't want to research yet another agent. And thanks!

Libby-- They totally do.

Jessie-- You have mad tricks. Tricks coming out your sleeves! The getting up at the crack of dawn to have time to yourself is one right there! Going to B&N or a Parisian cafe to work is another!

Jolene-- Exactly. You never know when you'll get stuck. Way to be always prepared! And thanks!

Donna-- Was it one where the salesman came into your house for a 45 minute sales pitch, but stayed for two hours? Because I totally am with you on that one!

J.A.-- Do you need me to help you justify it? YOU TOTALLY NEED ONE.

E.D.-- So true!! Whenever you have no way of recording your Most-Awesome-Ideas-Ever, that's surely when they'll come. And thanks!

Linda-- Definitely check the phone recorder out. But even if your phone doesn't have one, it's still handy to use if you need to talk out loud to get through a scene, and there are people around. No one will ever be the wiser that there's no one on the other end of the phone. ;)

Lynda-- Notebooks rock. A lot. And they are about a million times less likely to get stolen, too.

Carrie! You can't just say you name your electronics and then not tell us the names!

Maeve-- You should totally talk into your phone! Even if it doesn't record. Makes people think you're less crazy than if you talk to yourself. And thanks!!

Tara-- I love the notebooks in every location principle! I think I need to do that.

Christina-- Phones can be so helpful!

Leigh Ann said...

This is an awesome post.

I think we have the same netbook! My husband got it for me for Valentine's Day so I could "type my stories" and called it a glorified typewriter, so I got a skin for it that makes it look like an old Underwood.

I have two tips, tangential to yours - ONE - on my phone, Evernote is king for notes. You can talk or type into it, but then it SYNCS ALL YOUR NOTES TO ALL YOUR OTHER COMPUTERS. So if you type it in your phone, it then goes straight to your netbook, ready for copying into you MS.

The other one - plotting in small chunks - if I'm doing something where I absolutely can't read or write, like baking for example, when my hands kneading or something, I listen to my WiP's playlist on a loop. It is my #1 source of inspiration.

The East Coaster said...

Netbooks are the best things ever. Throw that bad boy in my purse and keep on rolling!

Peggy Eddleman said...

Leigh Ann-- What?! You can buy skins for them? I think I just reached a new level of love for PAM.

I just made a note for myself to check out Evernote.

A playlist to help you plot is AWESOME! And also something I don't do. Hearing that makes me want to give it another try, though.

The East Coaster-- I know, right? But I'm keeping both hands on mine. ;)