Thanks to Glenda C. Beall for inspiring this post. In her latest blog entry, “What Defines Your Life? You Choose.” she talks about finding time to write in the midst of family and other obligations.
Before I became a full time writer, I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home. When I developed an interest in writing, people said, “Don’t quit your day job.” It was hard to find time to write when I wasn’t working.
When I got married, my husband Bill encouraged me to quit my job. He was also disabled and assured me that between his and my social security benefits, we could make ends meet without me having to work. Since I wanted to write full time, I jumped at the chance to do so.
However, I still had plenty of other obligations. After the wedding, I had to send a multitude of thank you letters to those who sent or brought gifts or money. Bill hired a friend to put up a Website for me, and I was busy putting together material for that. He also bought me a new computer, and since it was a PC, and I’d been using a Mac, I had to learn how to use the new computer and transfer my files from the old to the new system.
Three months later when things finally settled down, Bill suffered his first stroke that left him paralyzed on his left side, and when I wasn’t traipsing back and forth to the nursing home while he was recovering, I was on the phone to doctors and other professionals in an attempt to manage his care and filling out paperwork for a loan to buy a different house that could more easily be made wheelchair accessible.
When he was discharged from the nursing home eight months later, I became a full time family caregiver. This meant dressing him, helping him go to the bathroom, giving him his medications, not to mention preparing meals, and doing laundry and other chores.
To make a long story short, he’s gone now, and I have plenty of time on my hands, but I still have to prioritize. I’m still asked if I play my guitar and sing at the nursing home, but I always say I don’t have time. I do have time to work on my memoir, write an occasional poem or story, update my blog and Website, send material to publications, and do various chores associated with positions I hold in several writers’ organizations to which I belong. At the end of the day, I have time to stretch out in my husband’s recliner and read a good book written by someone else who is probably scrambling to find time to write.
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver