As a homeschooling mom of 4, finding time to write can be a bit of a challenge. My children are all young enough to still need quite a bit of help and attention doing everything from loading the dishwasher, to using the potty. To say I don’t have a lot of free time is an understatement.
A question I am often asked is this: “How do you have time to write like you do?“ Or, people sometimes say it in a statement form, like this: “I don’t know how you found the time to write a book!”
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- I treat writing as a job. What I mean specifically is, I set aside specific time to work. I schedule it into my day, just as I would a doctors appointment or a girls night out. This helps me to plan our activities, and allow plenty of face time and class time with my kids, while still getting my projects done.
- I set deadlines. I’m jumping headfirst into another project and in order to make that happen, I have set deadlines for myself to complete different phases of the project. This prevents me from
enjoyingwasting hours of time watching Duck Dynasty, when I need to have something ready for editing.
- I guard my writing time fiercely. My children take a scheduled quiet time every day. This time is sacred to me. This is when I write most often (like right now) and I am very careful about things that would otherwise interrupt this time. It occurs at the same time everyday, and so I schedule our entire day around this 2 hour window. I’ve been known to turn down many activities that interrupt this hallowed time. Thankfully, my friends here know me well, and don’t often ask us to play or do anything during that time, and likewise, I avoid scheduling anything that will prevent me from being near my computer during this small window of time.
- I (sometimes) write at night. Part of the reason I guard my quiet time with such ferocity, is that in the evenings, I’d like to hang out with my husband. Therefore, in order to write, I must try and work around his schedule, which means limited night writing. When I was in the throws of finishing my book, many nights were spent writing, and we made do, because we knew that pace would not last. I try to have a once a week “write night” (#writenight for you tweeps out there) because honestly, sometimes, night writing is where the magic happens. I should add here that my husband is an absolute saint and supports me fully in my writing, which makes all the difference in the world. Amen.
- I write before the sun comes up. Early morning is an excellent time to get those first morning thoughts out on paper–and that’s specifically how I do my morning writing, on paper in my journal. I won’t speak too much to this because everybody has their method, but I will simply say this, if you write almost exclusively on the computer, I suggest you find a good legal pad or a journal and every now and then, write long hand. I am amazed sometimes at how different my writing can be when I take the time to draw out the letters.
- I take scheduled breaks. I have found this to be a critical component in my efforts to hold on to ideas. The more tired I am, the more often I lose the words. Scheduling rest is a key component in holding on to my story and making my deadlines. ( If you need accountability and encouragement to take time off from being creative, try this.) This leads me to my last point.
- I get offline. Sometimes I can be positively fed full by the online conversations I enjoy. But I can also easily waste a tremendous amount of time online, and get distracted from my own writing and work. If you want to write, get off line and do the work. Everybody knows this already, but yet, many of us still struggle with this one seemingly obvious point.
- I pray. This perhaps should have been the first point, but the fact that I list it last does not speak to the significance of this tip. If you want to write, take that desire to the Lord and give it back to Him. Ask Him to show you how to fit it into your life, and for the words and wisdom to share. I believe that God is honored most by our willingness to use the gifts He has given us, for His purposes. Don’t know what that looks like for you? Ask Him. He will direct your steps.
What tips do you have for other writers? Share them below–help a sister out!