Guest post by Karen Brown Tyson, author of
Time to Refresh: A 21-Day Devotional to Renew Your Mind After Being Laid Off, Fired or Sidelined. See an interview with the author on WOW!’s blog, The Muffin, here to kick off her blog tour.
Time is precious. And no one knows this better than a parent who is a writer.
Between your day job, potty training, homework, soccer practice, bake sales, and concerts, you want to write. But if you are like most writers, you probably have faced the “not enough time to write” moments more than once or twice.
But don’t worry. You are not alone. Lots of parent-writers feel the same way. Here are a few tips on how to find time to write while taking care of your family.
Identify the obstacles
First things first: many writers list finding time to write as one of the biggest obstacles. If you consider yourself part of this group, tackle this issue before you write. Make a list of the things preventing you from writing. Be honest. For example, every night after the children are in bed, you vow to write for one hour. Unfortunately, you end up falling asleep on the couch before you write 50 words.
Take small steps
For each of the obstacles you identify, select one or two you would like to address. Using the previous example, it is easy to see that writing at night is not working. One small step to address this obstacle would be to move your writing time to the part of the day when you have the most energy. For example, you could get up 30 minutes earlier each day to write. If you write at the start of the day, make sure you are writing when the house is quiet and there are no distractions.
Write in daily spurts
The thought of writing 10,000, 15,000, or 20,000 words per day can be overwhelming. Instead, think about writing within a short amount of time, like 10, 15 or 20 minutes. To determine how many words you can write within this time, set your smartphone’s timer for one minute. Using the writing prompt below, write for one minute without stopping:
Write a break-up letter to Writer’s Block, starting with, “Dear Writer’s Block, it’s time for me to say goodbye…”
If you wrote 50 to 100 words in one minute, you could probably write 500 to 1,000 words in 10 minutes. Now, determine how many minutes you can spare each day to write.
Create a daily work schedule
Looking at your calendar, find 10, 15, or 20 minutes each day when you can write. Schedule writing meetings. Use a shared electronic calendar to allow family members to see when you plan to write. Let your family members know you will be available after each writing meeting.
Learn to write anywhere
Train yourself to write in different environments where you have to wait. For example, if you arrive in the carpool line 15-20 minutes early each day before school ends, use that time to write. Other places to write while you wait include the doctor or dentist’s office, the car dealership during maintenance appointments, Starbuck’s during your child’s tutoring session and while your baby takes a nap.
For the parent-writer, each day can be different. Don’t beat yourself up if some days you do not accomplish as much as other days.
Just keep writing.
Karen Brown Tyson is the author of, Time to Refresh: A 21-Day Devotional to Renew Your Mind After Being Laid Off, Fired or Sidelined. Karen works online,in person, and by phone as a communication and writing coach. Karen helps her entrepreneurial clientele focus on business and nonfiction writing.
Stay tuned for my book review of Karen’s devotional, coming on December 23!