A version of this entry appeared on January 19, 2013 at "Wonderings & Wanderings," my blog about living the writer's life.
A regular writing routine sets a career in motion. Finding time is tough at first, so once you've set a schedule, it’s frustrating when life messes with it. It’s okay if the schedule is sporadic from time to time. It will settle back into place when the timing is right. Until then, try to write everyday – for at least 20 minutes. For several years this was the only way I accomplished any writing. I call it "writing in snippets of time." The time adds up. So does the writing. In six days you’ll have 2 hours’ worth of work. You’ll be amazed what you might accomplish.
If family interruptions stifle your writing plans, it’s even more important to set a regular writing schedule. Not only will it help your family realize you're serious about your writing (and if you want to receive payment, it is at least a part-time job) but it helps you take your writing seriously.
One woman I know posted “office hours” to help family get the point. Another made a “mailbox” by taping a file folder to the door. If the kids wanted to ask her something, they wrote it on a slip and put it in the mailbox, which she checked several times a day. Only emergencies warranted interrupting.
If you have small children, they won’t understand that you’re “working” so you may have to focus on adding up paragraphs instead of minutes. Target writing one paragraph during nap time. They’ll build to a story or article in a few days. Every little bit helps.