People ask me all the time “how do you find the time to write, much less the other stuff that you do?” Well, my friends, the simple answer can be summed up in one (albeit hyphenated) word: multi-tasking. Let’s follow a typical day.

5:00 a.m. Wake up. Put on my clothes–that I set out the night before–in the dark. Trip over my oldest son who has once again snuck into our bedroom in the middle of the night to finish his slumber.

5:10 a.m. Sit in front of the computer and check e-mail and my message board.

5:30 a.m. Get to work. All of a five minute commute. I barely have time to complain about idiot drivers. Then again, I’m usually the only one on the road.

6:30 a.m. Begin planning my writing “to do” list. I love lists. I never accomplish everything on a list, that’s bad luck. Instead, when I’m down to one item, I start a new list.

7:00 a.m. Jot dialogue snippets on Post-It notes around my desk. NOTE: it’s important to collect the Post-Its at the end of the day. Otherwise your co-workers think the description of dismemberment is about them. Really, it’s not. Really. Even when you turn my markers upside down.

9:00 a.m. Staff meeting. I take copious notes, though they look suspiciously like my latest blog entry. At this point I remember that my co-workers read my blog. I make a note to remind them that they are reading my blog while pretending to be researching.

11:00 a.m. I type reports which look suspiciously like my latest blog entry.

12:00 p.m. I kiss the wife hello/good-bye as she leaves for her part time job. I check my e-mail and my message board. It’s a really cool board that more people ought to stop by and say “hi” on.

12:10 p.m. Chesya calls.

12:15 p.m. Ignore my youngest son’s latest trick: shimmying up the door frame so that he can get the keys we leave on the top of them. Post blog.

12:30 p.m. Realize that two short stories and a writing grant application are due tomorrow. Decide to procrastinate by bagging the 1500 comic books that a friend game me six months ago.

12:55 p.m. Ignore the fight between the boys over which show to watch: Dora the Explorer or Higglytown. I settle the argument by turning the television to an NYPD Blue rerun.

1:35 p.m. Random friend drop by. One of the moderators from my message board. I convince her that it is the longing of her heart to help me bag comic books.

2:30 p.m. Ignore the splashing sounds coming from the kitchen sink. Chesya calls.

3:45 p.m. I decide that today is “make your own lunch day” – complete with lollipops and soda if they leave daddy along and are good. Remember that wife sometimes reads blog. Leave a Post-It note reminding the wife that one of the things that made her fall in love with me was my sense of humor. (She never gets tired of hearing “You must laugh all the time!”)

4:30 p.m. I post my blog. I tell the boys to “make downstairs spotless.” That’s their cue to clean up downstairs and put away all of their toys before mommy gets home. “It makes daddy look responsible.”

5:05 p.m. I cruise the horror message boards looking for flame wars that I’m above participating in. Make popcorn to settle in to enjoy reading them – I justify this by calling it “networking.”

6:10 p.m. I finish some paperwork for The Dwelling Place. I re-think the idea of working for a church without a salary. I call up the pastor and demand a raise. He offers to double my pay and give me a snazzy new title. I make a mental note to randomly say the word “boobies” from the pulpit at my next opportunity.

6:30 p.m. My wife gets home. Me and the boys decide to nap.

7:25 p.m. I remember my story and grant deadlines. It’s time to catch up on my friends blogs, Xangas, and LiveJournals.

8:00 p.m. Time to watch our television shows that we have on videotape, or as we call it, ghetto TiVo.

9:00 p.m. Put the boys to bed. Sometime in the next hour or two they might go to sleep.

10:00 p.m. Prepare to write. Have to straighten up my desk first. And the living room. And the dishes. And a load of laundry.

11:00 p.m. Write.

1:00 a.m. E-mail off story. Print out finished grant information. Watch an episode of Gilmore Girls on DVD and enjoy a glass of wine. This is “me” time.

2:30 a.m. I call it another successful night and go to bed.

Follow this pattern and you too can be a moderately productive writer.

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Since I don’t know where you are reading this, the best way to guarantee me seeing your comment is to post on my message board. Or simply drop by to say hi.