Labor Day Means Writing

Day-laborers picking cotton near Clarksdale, M...
We labor away on labor day…if we are writers. (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

I am a high school English teacher by trade and a writer of novels in my spare time.  School started two weeks ago and my spare time has dropped to a spare minimum.  I have been writing steadily on Book 2: The U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and am nearing the end of the narrative, but because I have had only the late hours of the evening and weekends to write steadily for a few hours at a time, I am not meeting the personal deadlines I have set for myself.

If I can complete the rough draft by September 31st, I will be well on my way, but I would like to complete the rough draft of Book 2 by the middle of this month.  In this way, I can begin the editing process earlier and get well on my way to completing the rough draft of Book 3: Babylon the Great by December 1st.  I feel, in some ways, that I am writing a NanoWriMo in that I have such speedy deadlines, but since I have an outline completed for the second book, I should be able to finish on time.

Today is Labor Day, the day so ironically named when Americans get to take a day off (except mainly for retail services and restaurants) and do whatever they want that does not include any actual “labor”.  I will be sitting in this Panera Bread restaurant most of the day hammering away at the novel with my ear buds firmly planted in my ears.  I would write at home, but my 9 year old daughter’s friend is over for a visit and they are both extremely noisy.

I suppose the point of this post is to say that even if independent writers get a day off from their “day job” the book isn’t going to write itself.  I will be spending the afternoon with my children and wife and we will probably grill something (inside because the burn ban is still on) and watch a movie together or possibly go see Ice Age: Continental Drift at the dollar movie….

…but I will get a huge chunk of the novel done today.

Perhaps you are in the same boat as an independent novelist.  How do you balance family time with writing, meeting your own personal deadlines, and what do you do to ensure that you focus on finishing the novel?  Sound off!


Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

8 thoughts on “Labor Day Means Writing

  1. Here here! It’s so hard to find time. I actually have a decent amount of time to devote, but there’s just so much to do! I currently have two major editing projects to work on, current projects to write, not to mention social networking, which claims more of my time right now because my debut novel will be hitting shelves soon. I don’t think I have any secret to balancing things except to just keep on going. I try to read a chapter in a book, edit 1-2 chapters and do all my social networking each day. I keep the actual writing mostly to the weekends. There are many days I don’t get everything done, but I just keep on keeping on and eventually I get there! 😀

  2. I meant to take the day off from my writing. But my husband is tearing up a floor and my son is at the pool, so I’m writing. I write full time so I don’t have to work around the day job!

  3. Happy Labor Day, Roger – and happy writing! Since I’m moving in a month, I’m in the midst of packing … but I, too, have writing deadlines, so will be pacing myself between writing and packing today. ~ Julie 🙂

  4. Well, seriously…how can you fail a deadline when you can just add days to months like that? Talk about an unfair advantage over the rest of us novelists who only have 30 days in September!

    1. I do have my own deadlines. I set them long ago. I think that if we can’t have discipline in our writing then we are kidding ourselves. I will meet my personally set deadlines and I don’t move them. I know this sounds like a catch 22 or a copout but I REALLY do keep my deadlines. It takes having integrity with yourself.

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