This was a post I worked on last summer, and thought I would share it again. Enjoy!
Ah, summer. The perfect time to write my next novel. The kids are out of school. Swim lessons are in full swing. We’ve got parks, pools, bugs, battles, stings, sunburns, tattling, tantrums, and lego messes that only rival my laundry messes. As a stay-at-home-mom to three, it’s not always easy to find time to write. Since I am an expert, I thought I would share ten tips for a well-balanced life, full of time to write (and in my case also promote my existing novel) among the mayhem of motherhood moments:
Let’s get inspired! I like to make sure I don’t shower or brush my teeth before noon. This is an important first step. It will ensure that you have the proper amount of self-loathing going on to guilt trip yourself into getting a few words out on paper (er, screen).
I do a lot of research for my books. They include quite a bit of character development based on mythology and history. I find it’s especially helpful to scroll through 30 minutes of cat memes on Facebook to delve into the inner-workings of my character’s love for animals worshipped in ancient Egypt…
If you are a published author, it is really important to start calling around to set up interviews and author appearances. I recommend doing this at the height of your children’s mid-morning boredom-induced hunger fits. There’s nothing like talking to the local youth librarian, while your 5-year-old is screaming for an ice cream sandwich at 10am. It really lets them know that you are a dedicated mom who is also totally in touch with the youth demographic.
Whether you make corrections as you go, or put your work through rigorous rounds of edits once you are done, edits have to be made! I highly suggest editing your final manuscript with a newborn baby. Bonding time, galore. It also helps you grow as a writer, because you will later find all the mistakes you missed in the post-partum haze of hormonal upheaval and lack of sleep. Priceless. This is what it looks like:
Let’s face it. If you are a mom working from home, you get really good at doing two (or five) things at once. I like to get a little writing time in while nursing my baby. It works out well because i can tyupe with ine hsnd, andit realkly onluy takes me three times as long to tuyoe\\type a paragrapoh.
Kids really don’t need lunch, do they? (See ice cream sandwich at 10am.)
Carve out a special spot in your home where you can go to write, preferably away from the chaos of daily life. Make it uplifting and inspiring. I personally like to lock myself in the bathroom when I need a little writing escape. I can take my trusty laptop in there, spray a little Glade Hawaiian Breeze, and really feel like I am on the beach. It’s so relaxing!
Make sure you are getting good amounts of proper brain food! I prefer a handful of Junior Mints evenly spaced throughout the day, mingled with whatever fruit my kids left on their plates at breakfast. It’s kind of like a cleanse!
9. TAKE BREAKS
It is so important to give yourself some time to breathe when you are spending a whole entire day really digging in and writing. It’s great to push through and get a lot of writing done, especially when you are on a roll. But it will be better for your writing in the long run if you’ll take a quick breather every so often. I take breaks every 3 minutes to tend to non-existent “owies,” aforementioned boredom-induced hunger pains, dirty diapers, manage the local complaint department, check my Amazon ranking 20+ times a day, grab a quick snack (see #8), and contemplate a shower (but only if it’s after 12pm).
10. START AGAIN
Tomorrow is another day! Amazingly, I do manage to find the time to write. Sometimes I think it must be happening in my sleep. It’s not easy being a mom and author. But it IS doable, and definitely worth it. Keep pressing on, and before you know it, you too can have a spit-up stained manuscript ready to send off to your publisher!