I got serious about setting time aside for my book project a little under year ago, deciding that I want to be finished with my first draft-no matter how terrible, by my birthday this year (October 2nd- now you can hold me to it too). I know that many professional writers will say it should only take a season to knock out a first draft, but I have three young kids and I homeschool. I get that you distance yourself from your story and lose the flow somewhat when you take too long, but slow and steady is the only way this is going to happen for me at this point in my life. I’ll take it.
Why have I started a blog in the midst of barley scrapping together enough time to write my story? Good question! I’ve been asking myself the same thing lately. My theory is that by having a blog, even just committing to write once or twice a week for it, sets up a writer’s frame of mind. It gets me motivated to sit down, face a blank page, and practice my craft. It offers a sense of accountability, even if no one is reading it. Writing is kind of like exercise; I love it once I’m doing it, I just need the push to get started. As soon as I’m writing out a blog post, working on my draft becomes very appealing.
But between toddler exploits, never-ending snacks and meals, homeschooling and plain hanging with my family, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of time or energy left. I don’t want to just make excuses though, so I’ve come up with a few strategies to maximize my writing time. Here’s what I’m trying out:
- In times of inspiration, I’ll sneak moments here, there and everywhere. Sometimes I submerge myself into a project and let other things go a little. I have to be mindful not to neglect other parts of my life too much.
- A compromise to pulling out the laptop every time the kids are distracted, is to keep a notebook and pen handy at all times, even chucking it into my purse when we go out. Its easy to jot down an idea that comes at less opportune moments, getting the essence of it down and fleshing it out later.
- Read a page or two in quiet moments, listen to audio books on solo dog walks and forget about TV. Reading is part of writing, so this is ‘slacking off’ I can feel good about.
- Write fast. I have read/heard this advice many places in my quest for writerly knowledge. The theory goes that when you write quickly, blowing over the page without hesitation, the quality of writing is often better than when you mull over and nit-pick your way through it. I suppose this is the wisdom behind finishing a draft in one season. I’m using this as a way to reach smaller goals, like writing a complete chapter in one session. It certainly gets me out of my head and into the story.
- Set aside two larger chunks of time a week to make solid progress. I would really like to become an early riser. I picture myself alone, with my coffee and words, and think that would be the perfect way to start my day. So far my 5am self disagrees, so I am going to experiment with writing after bedtime this week and see if my brain co-operates.
Parents, Homeschoolers, Writers, Creatives,
How do you fit your own passions around your busy life?