I’ve always preferred structure to my days. However, being bi-vocational has made that difficult. In fact, a “day in the life” post is hard to type out because each day is different. In addition to being a pastor, I’m also a cafeteria manager for a local high school, have four children with activities, write, and enjoy staying married to my wonderful bride 🙂
So, I’ll do my best to give you a “day in the life”, but there will be some tweaks.
5:45 AM – Good Morning, Will! Time to hit the shower, read my Bible, and get dressed for work. The quality of my day often depends on the quality of this time. That’s just how I’m wired.
6:15 AM – Off to work. Usually spend this time praying, but sometimes I’m not that spiritual (especially if I skipped Bible reading). When that happens, the radio goes on, and I listen to mindless drones talk about sports. See, doesn’t starting the day spending time with the Lord sound better?
6:45 AM – Lunch Lady Land! We serve 1,100 students for breakfast and 1,300 for lunch so not much free time here. Goal is to get everything done in a decent timetable so I can take a break and do critiques for my crit partners.
2:45 PM – Time to head home. My goal is to keep the radio off during the drive. I’ll call my bride quick to see how her day went and let her know I survived the high school hooligans. Then it’s writing prep time. I’ve got 30-40 minutes of road time to dream out/plan the next scenes in my work in progress. If I pull that off by the time I pull into the driveway, I usually can hit the laptop for at least 500 words before the kids get home.
3:15 PM – Write (On a good work day), Crawl in a fetal position and detox (On a bad work day), or Check out of real life and play a video game (On a really bad day).
4:00 PM – Bride and kids come home. Yay! Time to take a break from what I’m doing to ask the kids how their day went, get jumped on, get caught up with the love of my life, etc.
5:00 PM – Dance class. Or coach son’s baseball team. Or teach at the homeless mission. Or Babysit church kids for the women’s Bible study. Or counsel church members. Or attend my oldest son’s band activity.
My dad worked three jobs but never missed my activities (He was usually coaching them). I want my kids to have the same support from their daddy. If there’s any way in the universe I can be present, I try to be there. Dinner fits somewhere in this time depending upon the start/finish time of whatever is going on.
One note here. Dance class is one of my most productive writing times. The girls learn in a sound proof room where it’s difficult to watch what my daughter is doing. And I’m surrounded by moms in the lobby. I’m a bit of the odd man out in that group. If I’m there, so is my laptop. Insert headphones and que up some music. I can easily knock out nine or ten pages before she’s done.
8:30 PM – Kids go to bed. Exhaustion sets in. This is my prime writing opportunity. Unfortunately it often ends up with me reading, vegging on the computer, or falling asleep on the couch. I also like my wife, so we’ll sit and chat as well. I admit that my brain is always going, so I’m not the best at sitting and doing nothing. So chatting usually ends up in falling asleep on the couch. My goal is to have this time be spent with my bride or writing. Still working on that though.
This can also be Bible Study time for Sunday’s services, although I prefer to spend Friday night and Saturday doing that. I’m a binge writer. I’m no different with sermon preparation. When I get going, I don’t like to stop. Which is hard with only an hour or so each evening. It was much easier when I was only a full-time Pastor and could devote 5 or 6 hours to study and preparation. But the economy crashing affected a lot of people, including our church. Everyone adjusted. Even Paul had to make tents at times in his ministry, and I’m sure that cut into the time he had for other things.
11:00 PM – Bed. Usually accompanied by a new idea for a scene just as I get comfortable. Which prompts me to rush to the laptop and lament wasted time earlier that day that could have been spent writing!
Phew, busy, busy! And yet, the only thing I’d change is being bi-vocational. I’m a structured person, so it’s difficult for me to get excited about spontaneous free time to write. That’s my life challenge at the moment. I’m good at managing chunks of time. I need to manage bits of time better to be more productive.
With all that being said, this has been my life for the last five years. I started writing seriously three years ago. In that time, I’ve written a novel, four short stories, and started two more novels in addition to the prewriting epic fantasies require. I’ve been to four conferences and serve on the leadership teams for our local Word Weavers and ACFW chapters. No matter how busy I am, there’s always bits of time to invest in my career. Fatigue is an issue, but once I get past that first or second sentence of a new scene, God seems to give the grace to keep going 🙂
Keep writing. Make time. Even if you only hammer out twenty words, that’s more than you had when you started out. It might take ten years, but twenty words a day eventually turns into a finished novel!