Crush Your New Year’s Writing Goals

Every year, I make a list of New Year’s Goals. Yes, Goals. I don’t call them resolutions, because that just seems too concrete and causes too much pressure, setting me up for failure from the very start. Still, even then, some of my goals pan out . . . aaand some of them don’t. But I’ve started to notice a pattern throughout these successes and failures, and I thought I’d share some tips with you that I will be trying this year in the hopes of producing a higher success rate, especially when it comes to writing goals.

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1) Focus on small habits, not the ultimate result.

I think the biggest favor you can do for yourself is to NOT make your resolution the same as your end-game, like “write a novel,” for instance. A goal like that is too daunting, too big. It’s also too vague. There are so many steps involved in writing a novel, and so many life “things” that can get in the way. Instead, a better goal would be to “write every day.” Don’t set a word count. Don’t say you’re going to write 1000 words every day. That’s also setting yourself up for failure. There will be days where you are definitely NOT going to make your word count goal, and you need to make room for that.

In fact, even better, don’t even set your goal to write every day. Make it something more tangible. Just say you’ll work on your novel every day. That can include anything: research, pre-writing, outlining, revising. . . .  And that’s GOOD, because all of those steps are going to get you closer to achieving that end goal that I told you to ignore: to write a full-blown novel. In order to reach that end goal, you need a game plan, so it’s that game plan you need to focus on the most. If your main goal focuses on the process of achieving that end result, you will be much more likely to reach it.

 

2) Failure isn’t an excuse for giving up

No matter what you do, there are probably going to be days, weeks, even months, where you are unable to work on your goals. Everyone goes through periods when they find it difficult to write. You might call that failure. “My goal was to write every day, but I haven’t written for weeks, therefore I’ve failed, therefore I might as well quit.” No! No no no no no. Don’t quit. Just start a-new. Start where you left off. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up about it. If you quit, then you’ve failed. But if you can accept that you’ve had a set-back and then pick yourself up and get back to work, you’ll know you have what it takes to succeed.

 

3) Flexibility is Key

Remember that a year is a long time. Things change. You change. The goals that you set in January may no longer apply in July. And that’s okay! I like to reassess my goals every few months to see what’s working, what’s not, and to think about what I need to do differently. It’s not failing or giving up if you decide that you need to take a different path. The point of a New Year’s goal is to improve yourself. Or to change yourself. Or to finally get the thing done that you’ve been wanting to get done. And in order to do any of those things without going crazy, you need to embrace flexibility. Go with the flow. If you don’t take a rigid stance, you’ll be more likely to succeed. At least, that’s my experience. Maybe it’s just because I tend to rebel against rules and rigidity. You may be different. But either way, you need to be willing to reassess and change if need be.

 

I hope these tips have helped. I will fully admit that I haven’t had a great track record for meeting the goals I’ve set each year, but a lot of that is because I haven’t followed my own advice. This year, I plan to. And I hope it helps you as well as me. Happy New Year, and good luck!

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When she’s not writing, revising, or banging her head on the keyboard (it’s all the same, right?), Megan Paasch can be found playing her ukulele (badly), knitting (rarely anymore, unfortunately), or herding two amazing, but rowdy little boys (pretty much constantly) with her husband. A native to the Pacific Northwest, Megan earned her B.A. in History from the University of Washington. (Go Huskies!) Her favorite history subjects were, and still are, Women in History, the Tudors, and the Celts. You can read more about her here.

How to Write When You Just Don’t Wanna

Can we all just agree that the last two weeks have been the worst? I mean it. No matter what side of the political debate you fall on, the aftermath of this election has taken a toll on all of us.

I’m not here to get political, but I do want to address this toll and the effect it has had on our writing. Many—MANY—of my friends and colleagues have expressed how hard it has been for them to write lately. Many haven’t been able to write at all. I’ve seen several posts over social media bemoaning the looming end of NaNoWriMo and how behind everyone is because the election stress threw such a wrench in their ability to focus.

I’m one of them. At 22,000 words, I’m over 10k behind where I should be right now. I have massive amounts of writing to do if I’m going to hit 50k by the end of the month. I could just give up. I mean, it’s just an arbitrary contest. It’s not like my career is hinging on whether I can write 50k in 30 days. And everything else going on in the world right now feels much more important to me than finishing my draft.

Besides, I’ve failed NaNo before. Several times before. It’s not a big deal. But here’s the thing: at the beginning of this month, I made a promise to myself that I was going to REALLY DO THIS this time. I was going to finish this novel this month, come Hell or high water. Well . . . some might argue that Hell and high water are here, and now I’m struggling to keep my promise. I do still want to reach my goal, but when it comes to actually sitting down to write? I . . . don’t wanna.

I. Just. Don’t. Wanna. I mean, I do, logically. But I don’t have the mental energy for it. I’d rather take a nap, thank you very much, and hopefully not wake up until the year 2020 has come around.

Despite this, however, I’ve been managing to push myself through this writing slump, and so I thought I’d share some tips for how to get words down, even when you just don’t wanna.

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1) Allow yourself a few day’s break

This seems counter-intuitive. “Wait, so in order to get yourself to write, you . . . didn’t write?” Yup, I didn’t write. I gave my brain and emotions some time to try and work themselves out, with the promise that after a certain amount of time, even if I still didn’t feel like I was in a place where I could write, I would try to write anyway. That day came, and I turned off all social media, and told myself I couldn’t get back on until I’d written 4k. And amazingly, I wrote 4k. I’m still not sure how, but I did. And you probably can too if you really set your mind to it. But first allow yourself that break.

2) Break it down into small chunks of time

Not words. Time. You’ll probably surprise yourself by how much you’ll get written in that small amount of time. One thing I’ve done on days when I’m especially having trouble focusing, is I’ve set my alarm to go off once every hour. When it goes off, I drop whatever I’m doing (or not doing, as the case has been lately) and write for five minutes. If I hit flow, I’ll keep going. Sometimes that’s all it takes. It’s like a little shove on the back of the sled to get you to the start of the slope. Once you’re there, your sled will tip, and gravity will carry you the rest of the way down.

3) Multitask

I’ve become quite the fan of writing via dictation, and the bulk of my NaNo draft has actually been written via this method while I’m doing other boring tasks, such as folding laundry, picking up clutter, and waiting in the carpool lane to pick up the kids from school. Somehow, for me, I’ve been finding it easier to break through the I-don’t-wannas this way. It’s not for everyone, but if you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend you do.

4) Find a second creative outlet

Set aside some time every day to work on something else creative and/or relaxing that has nothing to do with your draft. Adult coloring books are great for this. Also crafts, such as knitting, crochet, or other needlework—basically anything that relaxes you but also stimulates the creative side of your brain. Sometimes when I do this, I’ll find my mind wandering off to work on my story without me, solving plot problems, coming up with new characters, all while in a nice, relaxed, state of mind rather than while stressing out over a blank page.

5) Don’t panic

If none of this works for you, and you just can’t do it, don’t beat yourself up about it. Stress is a nasty beast that sometimes takes longer to defeat than we would like. Allow yourself the extra time you need. Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, go to bed at a decent hour, and take lots of bubble baths. Your ability to write has not left you forever. It will come back when it’s ready.

I do hope these strategies help you as much as they’ve been helping me. I will point out that they don’t work one-hundred percent of the time. Some days I just have to throw in the towel and admit that writing isn’t going to happen. But even if it works only a third of the time, that’s better than not at all. Also, if you have any tips of your own, please do share them in the comments. I’d love to give them a try.

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When she’s not writing, revising, or banging her head on the keyboard (it’s all the same, right?), Megan Paasch can be found playing her ukulele (badly), knitting (rarely anymore, unfortunately), or herding two amazing, but rowdy little boys (pretty much constantly) with her husband. A native to the Pacific Northwest, Megan earned her B.A. in History from the University of Washington. (Go Huskies!) Her favorite history subjects were, and still are, Women in History, the Tudors, and the Celts. You can read more about her here.

Forge Your Own Path

My husband calls me an idealist. He says I get these romanticized pictures in my head of how things are supposed to be.

He’s not wrong. Especially when it comes to writing.

When I finished my first novel, I pictured selling it to the first publisher who laid eyes on it.

When I got an agent with my third novel, I pictured that book selling at auction for a six-figure deal.

When I sold my first novel to a publisher (my fourth completed novel), I pictured it being showered with adoration and an unlimited marketing budget.

Once my kids were all in school, I pictured long, productive days in front of the computer, pounding out three or four novels per year, which of course my publisher would offer contracts for, sight unseen.

I still imagine leisurely vacations at the lakeshore where I rent a cottage and soak up endless inspiration.

I let myself dream of waking up in the middle night with a fully formed novel in my head, then typing it all out in one day as the words flow like water.

It’s not wrong to dream big. But writing requires a healthy dose of resilience and flexibility. And what works for one person is not guaranteed to work for you. Say it with me:

There is no one proper way to be a writer, and no one path to publication. 

It’s so tempting to always be peering over the proverbial fence, deciding that what someone else has is the ultimate key to success. If only I had a better laptop. If only I could get out of bed earlier or stay up later. If only I had the perfect writing space, or a full-time nanny, or a famous mentor.

Last year, for no apparent reason, I broke out in hives. For six solid months. I was on so many meds, trying to keep it under control, that I would fall asleep in front of my computer in the middle of the day. I had these beautiful, enticing chunks of alone time when I planned to be so productive, and they would be utterly wasted because I had to go and take a nap or else I simply couldn’t function. I wasted even more time grousing about it, instead of just showing some flexibility and working around it.

I finally realized that instead of fighting it, I should just take a nap, and then wake up and work. Arrrgh. Why do we waste so much time raging against unexpected obstacles? I’m slowly learning, after many, many years, to pick myself up after setbacks and just get back to work.
Another case in point:

Some people long for the chance to be at home and write full-time. They may tell themselves that when it finally happens, they’ll be prolific, find an agent, write a bestseller.

But I had that chance, and it did not work for me. I had too much time to obsess about writing and little else, and it paralyzed me.  I poured all of my mental energy and emotion into it, but it didn’t make me write more often. If anything, I would sit down at the keyboard and freeze up.

I discovered I’m the type of person who needs a secondary area of focus (besides parenting) in order to be productive. Ideas come more freely to me when I’m doing something not related to writing.

So I started looking for part-time jobs. And as of last week, I was officially hired to work at my alma mater in the music department. I’m nervous and thrilled at the same time, but I already know it’s going to be a great fit.

I truly believe that there is no secret formula, no one road to success. Through trial and error you will develop and discover your own tailor-made path that will help you be the most productive—and find the most joy.

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Growing up, Christine Hayes loved reading stories about creatures that curl your toes and legends that send a shiver down your spine. Now she loves writing about them, too. Her debut novel, MOTHMAN’S CURSE, was released in June 2015 through Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan. Christine seeks inspiration by haunting flea markets and estate sales, searching for cool vintage finds with a story to tell. While earning her degree in music she visited Asia for the first time, and later moved there with her family for several years. She has been addicted to travel ever since. Christine and her clan now live in northern Utah. Find her online at www.christinehayesbooks.com.

Does your writing always comes after?

I’m a mom of six energetic kids ages 4-14. While they’re at school, I write 2-3 articles per week for my part-part-time job. I also run our household (dishes, laundry, paying bills, making kids do chores, planning and preparing meals, repeat, repeat, repeat) shuttle kids to and from places, help with homework, and juggle anything else life throws at me. My life is anything but the schedule I envision on a day-to-day basis.

Can you relate?

Somewhere in the midst of all that, I have several manuscripts at various points the writing process. I want to be further along. But, this writing (which for now, though I’m serious about it, has no actual deadlines) always seems to come after everything else. You know…If there’s time left…which there usually isn’t leftover time.

Maybe you’re like me, or maybe (hopefully) you’ve got this “my writing is a huge priority” thing down and you’re off and running.

For those who are struggling, do you recognize any of these phrases?

I’ll write…
     …after I get the kids to school.
     …after I finish the dishes.
     …after I scroll Facebook/Twitter/Instagram for a while.
     …after I reply to these important emails.
     …after I’m done with work.
     …after dinner.
     …after the kids are in bed.
     …after I’m done reading this book.
     …after the house is clean (does anyone really ever have a clean house anyway? Seriously. It’s                    overrated).
     …after I exercise and shower.
     …after __________ (fill in the blank with your excuse).

When I realized what I was doing to my writing, I thought about it. Is there some underlying reason why I am putting everything else ahead of my writing? I think there’s a few reasons–I don’t take myself seriously enough as an author, I’m completely afraid of all the “what-ifs,” and so, I procrastinate.

Obviously, some of the things I have to do first have to be done before I delve into my writing world, but for the most part, I have started trying to put my writing before.

How to put your writing before:

1. Whatever it is, you can delay it for 10 minutes or an hour. 

Sit down in a chair with your computer or laptop regardless of needing to clean the entire house. Set a timer for 10 minutes (or 20, 40, or 60 minutes). Now, write. Just write. Whether the words are crappy, genius, or somewhere in between, take time to write, jot down scene notes or outline. As you learn to put your writing before, increase your time or do it more regularly.

2. Are you procrastinating? 

Stop it. Just don’t do that anymore. If you have to set deadlines for yourself, do it. Write down how many words or pages are due by a certain date on your calendar and get it done. Reward yourself when you meet or exceed your goal.

3. Take yourself seriously. 

You and your writing deserve it. You are a writer, an author. Take it seriously and put in the time required. Just because writing doesn’t necessarily require specific hours like a structured job, doesn’t mean you don’t have to actually show up. Give yourself and your skills credit.

4. Punch your fear in the face. 

I would rather do something I’m afraid of and get through it, than not do it at all and completely regret it. Yes, you might fail a thousand times, but perceived failures are great learning tools and success is around the corner! Don’t succumb to fear or give up. You never truly fail unless you stop trying.

What are you going to do to put your writing before instead of after?

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Wendy Jessen is the author of more than 300 articles—book reviews as well as family-oriented articles on familyshare.com . She somehow manages to do that with 6 spirited children ranging in age from 4 to 13 under toe. In the throes of writing her first book, she finds ways to procrastinate which usually involves scrolling through social media. Wendy often stays up way past her bedtime reading YA or other fiction. She loves kid-free date night with her husband, family vacations, and kids’ bedtime, aka, the human version of whack-a-mole.

10 Things to Do During that Horrible Space Between Finishing Your Book and Publication

There’s this awful period of time between finally having your book finished (YAY!) and waiting to get it published (AAAHHHH!!)…

…Querying…being on submission…waiting to hear back from agents, editors, or a publishing company about your “baby” that you have written, edited, and revised for months or years of your life…

For writers, the anticipation, dread, fear of the unknown, anxiety, and excitement is unmatched. It can consume your thoughts and make you seem like a crazy, insane person regardless of how you try to act like you are calm, cool, and collected.

The waiting can last between a few months to a year (or more) which is agonizing. How can you wait it out without chewing off all your nails, pulling out your hair strand by strand, wearing a rut in your carpet from pacing, or eating yourself into a chocolate coma? (Wait, no…maybe a chocolate coma is just fine. Carry on.)

Here’s how to take the edge off the waiting game’s anxiety/nervousness/dread/excitement:

  1. Eat chocolate. More than is healthy. It’s like getting hugs on the inside and we all need lots of hugs, right? 
  2. Stockpile your favorite go-to comfort foods. Chocolate, homemade bread, ice cream, cookies, Dr. Pepper, brownies, etc. It’s going to be a long wait; might as well be prepared.
  3. Clean your house. Maybe. I mean, only if you get really desperate or masochistic. But, that kind of torture could distract you pretty well. 
  4. Start a new writing project…because you’re a writer! Writers are never done–even if you just finished a book.
  5. Tackle that “to-be-read” pile. The pile seems to multiply like rabbits, so there’s always plenty of new books to read. 
  6. Stalk whomever you submitted to via Twitter or any other social media platform…wait, no…I didn’t say that. Huh…my delete key seems to be broken…
  7. Watch some good movies with good friends. Or bad ones. No one’s judging here.  
  8. Take a vacation. Mentally or physically. Or both. If you go somewhere physically, do some writing or research for writing and use it as a tax write-off (you can do that, right?).
  9. Cheer on your fellow writer friends. Because writers are cool and we celebrate and help each other. Seriously.
  10. Laugh or do yoga to relieve stress. Or if you’re me, yoga naturally leads to laughing…because, you know, I’m not super coordinated. (If that’s the case, maybe just do it at home with a DVD and friends so you don’t disturb coordinated people with your laughter.)

Waiting to hear back about your book is super HARD.  The fear of rejection and what others think about your work is tough. Writing is such a personal feat, and rejections can feel so personal. But remember, what is accepted or rejected is often subjective. It is not a manifestation of your ability as a writer, though we all have room for improvement.

Regardless of whether you get rejected or accepted, keep writing. So many successful authors have been rejected hundreds of times. Don’t give up no matter how many “no” responses you get.

Persistence leads to success.
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Wendy Jessen is the author of more than 300 articles—book reviews as well as family-oriented articles on familyshare.com . She somehow manages to do that with 6 spirited children ranging in age from 4 to 13 under toe. In the throes of writing her first book, she finds ways to procrastinate which usually involves scrolling through social media. Wendy often stays up way past her bedtime reading YA or other fiction. She loves kid-free date night with her husband, family vacations, and kids’ bedtime, aka, the human version of whack-a-mole.

A December Pep Talk

November knocked my socks off.

I had every intention of participating in NaNoWriMo. I had a manuscript outlined. I even had the daily hours I would write scheduled.

But then the month began. And wow.  Between sickness and sudden school responsibilities, kids’ early-home days, hosting birthday parties, doctor (and hospital) visits, and church activities I was in charge of, November may have been busier than the rest of the year put together.

A week into the month, I realized NaNoWriMo wasn’t going to happen for me this year. By mid-November, my writer-self felt extremely discouraged. And then I did something you should never do in such a state of mind: I looked at other people’s blogs, stumbling upon others’ success stories, which made me feel even more discouraged with a side-order of passive-aggressive Ugh, why can’t I get things done like other people? frustration.

So I stepped back and reminded myself of a few things I’ve learned and relearned about writing [incidentally these are also things I’ve learned about life]:

1. I need to enjoy the writing process.  Sometimes I’m so anxious for the end result of my work, I forget that the journey and discovery is fun.

2. I need to get rid of distractions. I have to get off the internet when I’m writing. I’ve noticed I am sometimes more productive with a pen and notepad (!) even though I type much faster than I write.  Truly, my email does not need to be checked every ten minutes.

3. I am not in competition with anyone else. One of the things I love about the writing community is that it’s so supportive. We want each other to succeed [ex: look at us giving each other free advice!]. The more someone reads, the more they want to read. If my son loves Harry Potter and finishes the series, he’s eager to have something else to fill the void (next up: Gregor the Overlander and The False Prince). The more books he loves, the more he wants to read, and the more I scramble to find him books that are worth his time. I want my children to be exposed to a plethora of good books of all different genres. More people writing and publishing means more good stories to choose from, so we can keep enjoying and learning.

There you have it, a December pep talk to myself (and to you. Happy Christmas ☺). I still have my NaNoWriMo outline.

Who says I can’t be a month late?

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Emily Manwaring spent her childhood in Wales, her adolescence in Utah and the time since in England and New Hampshire respectively. She has a degree in English Literature from BYU and currently lives in Northern Utah with her husband and children.  She likes to sleep [mostly she just misses it], read, and write [this makes her sound very lazy].  She is currently working on a picture book series.

10 Ways to Write More with Children Underfoot

Kids.

I adore them. Especially mine. Which is good, since I went and had six of ‘em.

BUT how does one actually get writing done with little ones around? Is the only solution to stay up after they’re all in bed and you’re completely exhausted? 

Sometimes I find the answer. Sometimes I don’t.

I decided to ask loads of writing friends for their thoughts and I received loads of fantastic advice. Here are ten ideas…



#1: Set a timer.

YA author, Jolene B. Perry said, Depends on the AGE of the kid, but I’ve ALWAYS set a timer, and when the kids come to me, I point at the time. Once the time’s up, THEN they can ask questions.

I love this idea. Kiddos can easily see how long they have to wait before they can ask Mom for help. It teaches them patience and respect. 

Of course, if they’re bleeding profusely or they’ve misplaced they’re little sister, they can probably ignore the timer.

#2: Invite more kids over.

Wha? This seems counterproductive. Or does it?

Writer Gina Larsen said, “I have found INCREASING the number of kids is super helpful. HEAR ME OUT. When they have a friend over, they forget I exist until they’re hungry. Ta-dah! I write. I’m not a hover parent, at all, though. If you are a worrier or aren’t like me in this area, this plan probably wouldn’t work for you. Anyway, I ignore them and they me, and they seldom get into trouble. {I don’t leave fingernail polish, markers, etc. lying around, either.} Sure there might be a bigger mess of toys to clean up… But the pay off is worth it, plus friends have to help clean up if they wanna come back.
Ok. That is an awesome idea. My kids completely forget I exist, too, when friends are over. *note to self: invite more friends over*

#3: Limit screen time.

“I try to limit screen time so that when I do turn on the TV, they’re glued,” said writer Melissa Meibos.

Ok. So, I’m not a huge fan of using the TV as a babysitter. I much prefer my kids to be devouring books or climbing trees. BUT there are those days. Those days when you need to get your twenty minutes of writing done or you have to finish up your pages for your critique group or you finally figured out the best way to fix a tricky scene and you need a few minutes of uninterrupted writing time. If you save screen time for when you really need it, it could be a lifesaver Or, at least, a writersaver.
#4: Get a babysitter.

Melanie Bennett Jacobson, author of romantic comedies, said, “Until this fall I had two little ones home, so I decided to reinvest some of my profits by spending 10% of my royalty checks on a babysitter when I was on deadline. I don’t get huge royalties, and this obviously only works if you’re making some writing money already, but I considered it an investment in my career AND my mental health because I’m much happier when I don’t have the stress of deadlines weighing on me. 

This is a great way to squeeze in writing time. And even if you can only swing an hour or two a week to pay for a babysitter, you’d still be moving forward with your manuscript.  

#5: Ask for help.

Maybe a babysitter won’t work for you. Do you have family nearby willing to help ? Or Mom or Dad friends willing to swap childcare? My daughter is in a little co-op preschool group. We take turns teaching once a week. When my baby was younger I made sure his nap time lined up with when she was gone. I had two hours a week with an (almost) empty house. It was awesome!

If not friends, then what about your spouse? Have you talked about your need to write? Every so often I run away for a mini writing retreat. I pack up snacks, water, notebooks, and my laptop. Then I reserve a little study room at the library and spend the whole day there, hanging out in my fantasy land.It’s lovely.

#6: Get creative.

Put together a box of activites, things your children only see when it’s time for you to write. Does your child love playing with tape and stickers? Or playdough and an odd selection of utensils? Maybe your little one likes to play in the kitchen sink with a bit of water. Get your children busy with a fuss free activity and then get busy yourself.

#7: Choose your poison.

Are you spreading yourself thin? Do you have a love of many hobbies, activities or pursuits? If you want more time to write, you’re gonna have to make a hard choice.

“I’ve just had to give up (okay, not give up but definitely limit) other things like crafting, TV, movies, and Pinterest to spend my time more wisely with my books,” said writer Judy Robinson.

Oy. This one is for me. I need to embroider it on a pillow. Or not…because that would defeat the purpose a bit.
#8: Yes makes less.

If you want more time to write, you have to say no. A lot. You can’t be on every committee. You can’t be involved in every PTA activity. You can’t go on every field trip. You can’t make every meal completely from scratch. You can’t sew ALL of the Halloween costumes (ok. That one might be just for me.)

Of course, you don’t want to be a curmudgeonly ol’ hermit who won’t help anyone and doesn’t ever do anything fun with their kids or spouse. BUT you have to realize creating comes at a price. It takes time! And time is finite. Choose where you want to spend it.


#9: Shove it in the cracks.

Writer Rebecca Birkin said, “I credit Josi Kilpack for her idea to always take a notepad or tablet wherever you go, waiting at the doctor’s office, soccer game, waiting at the bus stop, etc.

How much time do we waste waiting? For our kids, in lines, and on the phone with someone in the Philippines as we hope, hope, hope they know how to fix our laptop? (that last one was all me again.) Are you taking advantage of those potentially lost moments by writing? You could be like super smart Helen Boswell and carry an iPad mini and a cute little keyboard with you at all times. And then maybe you’d be as prolific as her, too!

#10: Make it.

The time isn’t going to fall into your lap. If you want to write then you have to make room for it. 

Writer Shelly Brown said, “When my kids were tiny I just hauled my laptop around from room to room. They play with toys, I write. They watch a movie, I write. I only got in an hour or two but add that to the hour or two I got after bedtime and it was a decent haul for the day. There really want more to it than that. It was about trying and being patient with myself and my kids when the day just wasn’t lending itself to writing.

“I take my thus-far MS and a pen everywhere I go, and make notes and try to work out plot and character so that when I do have access to a computer, I can sit down and get to work quickly, without wasting time thinking (er, which is what I’m doing right now–puzzling out the next chapter),” said writer Rose Green. “I even once (okay, or twice) brought my laptop to the delivery room with me because I figured that afterwards there might be a moment to work in those five minutes when the baby was asleep and I wasn’t. (Hey, it’s better than TV!)”

“When my kids were small, I got up at 5:30 and wrote until 6:30 every school day. I found that I could get 1,000 words down in that hour, and then I felt accomplished enough to be Mom the rest of the day, ” said writer Becca Wilhite

YA author Cassie Mae sums it up. “I don’t have anything to say other than you just do, lol. I’ve written with kids on my lap, kids hanging over my shoulder, kids fighting on the floor. You do what you gotta do.”


Now for a disclaimer. 
Writing is important. For many of us, it’s something we not only love to do, but we feel a need to do. However, my children’s needs come first in my book. (Puns are awesome. Especially accidental ones.)
I’m okay with working on my craft here and there. My children are little. Ok. The teenager is taller than me. Whatever. But I’m trying to soak up and enjoy these days. More uninterrupted time to plunk away on my laptop will come. For now, I’ve got block towers to build and swings to push. And it’s wonderful.

It’s all about balance. Find the one that works for you!

Do you struggle to find writing time because of the demands of parenting? What solutions have you found? 
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Erin Shakespear writes middle grade fantasy full of quirky creatures, magic, and strange adventures. With six kids, her days are full of quirky creatures, magic, strange adventures, and…loads of diapers. She also likes to dabble at photography, sewing, jewelry-making, and pretending she’s a grand artist.