Saturday, June 4, 2011

Making time for writing

You're a SAHM (an acronym I've only recently learned) and you want to write. You juggle things a bit, but it works. Now you're writing. But now, you need to go to work. Or you're going to school. Or you're in charge of the senior activities for a year. something happens that is going to take up a huge chunk of time. What do you do?

First have a freak out if it's your style, then grab some caffeine, and sit down with me and let's do some *pause while I cringe* planning. Now before y'all go rolling your eyes and quit reading, remember, I AM A PANTSTER. So, I'm going to give you pointers on how to plan your life so you can write the way you need to. Are you ready?

1) What foods do you like? List the foods you and your children like the best. ie they complain the least about. Choose the easiest ones to make. Also, I found if I made one really good dinner a week, the kids and hubby were less grumpy about my time being taken up so much with other things.

2) List the ingredients you need to buy. Do. Not. Be. Lazy. This is important to the time management aspect. Check your cupboards and be sure.

3) Buy everything you can ahead of time. Do the monthly shopping, then weekly shopping. When you get home, prep everything that can be prepped! Chopping, mixing, etc. Get snacks ready like cut up carrots, celery sticks, etc so you snack less on junk food and more on healthy foods, and that goes for your kids as well! Get as much ready as possible. This is the same day you should do any cleaning that's backed up. One day a week, no writing. preferably no job/school either, but we can't always choose that aspect.

4) Be less critical of yourself. You may make comments, question yourself as to the validity of a point, or whatever it is, but you're going to be exhausted, so save the major editing for when you're not as tired, or run it by a critique partner before sending to the chopping block. You're going to have days where you feel like you can't do it all and those are the wrong days to be critiquing your own work.

5) Don't give up all your social networking time. Also, more importantly, your me time. You may have to condense that time, but you still need it to happen.

6) Set aside specific time every week for kid/hubby time. Play a board game, go see a movie, go ride bikes, whatever it is your family likes to do together. If your job schedule changes every week, then set the next weeks family day the day you get your new schedule out. Kids and husbands will fare better if they know when they'll get your undivided attention. And don't back out on that time!! Very important, especially with the children, that  you don't back out of that time for being tired.

7) Do homework/work at home stuff first. I know, there will be days when that's the last thing you want to do, but you have to. The stress of trying to fit it all in at the last minute will make you less productive overall, causing more stress, resulting in a vicious cycle. an unproductive vicious cycle.

8) Do things like laundry/dishes minor kid stuff every half hour to an hour. depending on what you're working on. Just ten to fifteen minutes and you'll be amazed at how much is done. Plus, getting up, moving around will help your brain. Win/win for you and you'll be sure to give kids and house some attention.

9) Don't sweat the small stuff. Are you OCD about the mayonnaise going in the door of the refrigerator? You may have to let it go, or quit harping at kids about it and move it during the aforementioned breaks. Learn to tamp down stress and worries of the small things. Is it really necessary for your child to wash their face the second food touches it? Or can it wait until after the meal is finished? Maybe have kid do homework next to you while you work. Can help with good work ethics for both of you J

10) Now listen close. This is the most important one. HAVE FUN!! Make sure you do this. With your kids and by yourself, while your writing, at work, at school, look for ways to have fun and enjoy yourself! Granted, there may be times you have to REALLY look to find the fun, but if you're looking for it, you're more likely to find it. This is the key. If you're happy and don't look over stressed all the time, the family will be less resentful about  your new schedule than if your snapping at them and grumpy out of exhaustion. Key element. Have fun. You get that? I'm going to say it again.

HAVE FUN! This is the most important part of being a writer, mother, student, employee, etc. The real key to success, whatever those gurus say. If you love your job, whatever it is, you'll be more successful if you're enjoying yourself!

I hope you got something out of this post that you'll find helpful. I do this for all mothers/stressed out workers who need to see that the road to publishing doesn't have to be a lonely one and that we are all human. I am a mother. A writer. A wife. A painter. A sister, cousin, aunt. I am all of these things and they all affect my writing. I hope to help others who want to write get over the guilt and find more time to write and be their true selves. Please share your experiences and any helpful tips you can add to these! They are meant to be a starting place for you to find your own way of doing things :)


  1. I have something for you over on my blog

  2. Makes sense. I wish I could be less critical and Im trying, I swear!! Oh well, I guess I'l have to try harder. As for the shopping bit.. who needs food anyway. :D Thanks for this.