One of the most common questions I get is, “How do you find time to write?”
My response is usually to say that I don’t watch TV. This is true. But I have another answer: I have very good boundaries. For example, I told my students where I teach that I don’t check my work email in the evenings, or on the weekends. I do my work at work, and then I leave it there. If that’s not enough, then it’ll just have to do. Having taught for eleven years helps because I have a lot of past curriculum to pull from, but my work has always stayed at work. I don’t bring it home with me. I do not bring papers home to grade. I stay after school to do some of that, and at times I can even grade while my students are working on another project.
My wife and I also pastor a church (newhopesv.org), and we live at a parsonage behind the church. This could make it nearly impossible to have clear boundaries. It helps that the church is not that large yet, but if it was, I would probably not be teaching. Meanwhile, I limit my focus to having a good message on Sunday, giving short and to the point counseling when it is needed, and building up a team of leaders who can help me reach out to others in the church, and even those outside. I have very few other responsibilities. I cannot do it all myself. In fact I really cannot do all that much. I can encourage, love, and teach members. And I can build up and release leaders to make disciples.
Another area for boundaries has to do with family. I do not take away from family time to write. When I am home from work, I am with my family until the kids are in bed. In fact, I put them to bed, read the Bible, sometimes read a story, or we just read together. Then I will either spend time with my wife, or sometimes I will work on the cover of the next book (the computer is next to the kitchen) while my wife is working in the kitchen. All in all, my family comes first. Even before the church.
And writing? I write during a very small window of time each day. Monday-Friday I drive to school about an 1 1/4 hour early, I write for an hour then, and later during lunch, and after school for a little. My goal is always two hours per day, five days a week. Until recently I even printed out a time-card so I would take it seriously. When I do this, I feel like a writer. Anything less and it feels more like a hobby, something I do only when I feel like it. I don’t want that. Otherwise you would get a new book about once every year or even every two years. Nobody wants that.
So there you have it. I don’t watch TV (opening up from 2-5 hours per day), and I have good boundaries. How about you? Do you have something you’ve always wanted to do, but you just didn’t think you had the time to do it?