School, exercise and other assorted challenges to my writing schedule

Reading: Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
Watching: Star Wars: the Clone Wars season 3
Listening to: One Last Breath by Creed

So my 11 year old started Year 6 at the beginning of this month.  What makes this year different is it’s a brand-new school – smaller, better, and more expensive.  It’s also – if you’d been reading my Facebook posts late last year – a 45 minute drive away, as opposed to the public travesty that was a 5 minute walk down the street.  Public transport is not an option (at least, not right now) so I have a 1.5 hour round trip to take, Monday to Friday, until further notice.

Challenge Number 1.

I also changed gyms around Christmas, one that has electronic equipment, because I’ve started back into running (with the help of a fabulous app called Ease into 5K – TOTALLY recommend it!), plus I wanted a more intense weight workout than my 30min Contours could provide.   Problem?  It’s at the start of that 45minute drive.  And in my totally optimistic way, I assumed I would jump out of bed at around 6.30 and do my workout, get home in time for a shower, breakfast, bag pack and then drive to school.  I did not take into account the fact that it’s still dark at that time, plus getting darker as we head into winter.  Oh, and I suck at mornings – with half an hour until we have to walk out the door, I always, ALWAYS end up losing time.  How on earth can I get ready (after being at the gym) on time?

Challenge Number 2

My PC is at home, with my email and internet connection.  It’s where I write.  It’s where the coffee is.  It’s where I can shut the door and write to deadline for a few hours.  But it’s now 45 minutes away.

Challenge Number 3.

So what to do about these challenges?  First, own up to them.  I understand that I suck when it comes to getting out the door on time.  I realize there is simply NO WAY I will get to the gym before school, so I investigated other options and found a fitness centre that met my needs in the town over from school.  I joined up today, at a cheap off-peak rate.  Yes, it’s an additional fee, but I can put it on hold during school holidays, plus I know I feel 100% better when I exercise, so the benefits outweigh the money issue.  Two problems solved right away, which means I won’t have to a) stress about not getting to the gym and b) feel shitty and guilty about it.

Now, the writing thing.  I have a MacBook.  I have noise-cancelling headphones and the iPod loaded with music, books and movies.  I have a power cord, a cooler bag (for a packed lunch) and water.  I am a one-woman roving office.  I can get to a local library which has free wireless (yes, I am using it as I write this, listening to Leona Lewis singing Bleeding Love  :grin:), then head off to the gym after a light lunch, before picking up my son for the drive home.

So my lesson learned in all this?  I have made important changes that allows me to ultimately meet my writing deadlines, my desire for exercise and my son’s educational and emotional needs.  It meant a flip in my thinking, getting used to doing stuff differently (which I sometimes have a problem with) and allowing a transition time.  So as of tomorrow, I’ll be an official member of two gyms, and that person typing furiously at the table in the back of the library.  And if you happen to see me there, looking distracted and with headphones on, mouthing the words of songs you can’t hear, don’t disturb!  I’m working, okay? 😎

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10 comments on “School, exercise and other assorted challenges to my writing schedule

  1. Proud of you Paula. I know change doesn’t come easy, but you’re living the life that proves that if you want to do something badly enough, you’ll find a way.

    Good luck with the new gym, the new writing space and most of all the 11 year old’s happiness and new school.

    As one who is also facing changes to schedules, and hard decisions, I envy that you’ve found such fabulously workable solutions.

    Well done!

  2. What a great way to manage the commute to your son’s school, Paula! I actually find I’m far more productive outside of my house, it’s too easy to get distracted at home.

    BTW, we’re shelf mates next month I believe! (in Aus) Who would’ve thought that at Penrith Westfield circa 2006? 🙂

  3. Well done Paula! I’m envious of your new routine! It’s a great way to treat your writing as a daily job at the office. Now I expect to see a great increase in your word counts out of this 🙂

  4. Miss Paula, you are an awesome Mum and an inspiration. Will your gym get a mention in the front of your next book? Wishing you success on every front … as I sit here contemplating how few calls I have on my time and you are 1000 times more productive. I feel so guilty…bring on the Zumba.

  5. @Kerri – thanks, my sweet! Change is difficult but I’m trying…
    @Coleen – 6.30 is wishful thinking 😀 In reality, that ain’t happening…
    @Leah – oh, how COOL! Must remember to bring my copy to conference so you can sign it 😉
    @Maggie – okay, more words :-b
    @sharon – awww, thanks! :blush:

  6. Pingback: Cruisin’ with RWA « Romance Writers of Australia

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