I'm SUPER excited to introduce my very good friend and guestposter author Michelle McLean. First, she was pivotal in helping me finish and publish my first book, Walt Disney World Tips n' Tricks. Second, she writes incredible historical fiction romance novels that are perfect for Mamas who need a minute (or two, three..) to themselves. Enjoy!
How I Juggle Writing and Mommyhood
I started writing my first novel while my firstborn was napping in the afternoons. Then I had another baby, who was born two months early. This sort of threw my carefully crafted plans out the window and I took an unintended break for a couple of years. I finally decided to finish what I’d started. For some reason I thought this was a good idea despite the fact that I had two babies, was in grad school, worked full time (luckily from home) doing data entry for my brother’s company, and had a husband who was out of town on business more often than not. I was insane, that’s all there is to it ;-)
How did I accomplish it? Well, I gave up a few luxuries like television…and sleep :-D I’ve since gotten a little better at balancing everything out, and the fact that both my kids are now in school full time has been a tremendous help. Still, I often find myself struggling to meet deadlines and making sure I’m getting everything done that needs to be done every day, both for my writing and for my family. There are a few things I try to do in order to help myself out.
1. Always carry a notebook and pen, a recorder, laptop, etc. I love taking my son to soccer practice. There is no WiFi on the field, so I can bring my laptop and am forced to sit there for an hour and work. No distractions. It’s great. Writing at my daughter’s gymnastics practice is a little more difficult because that’s sort of my only social time with actual adults, but I still keep a notebook handy in case some brilliant idea pops in my head. I forget everything nowadays…a notebook is my lifeline!
2. Get chores and errands done in a timely manner. Yeah, so we’ll just file this one under GOALS. This is something I struggle with, constantly. But if I can get my household chores and errands completed then whatever spare moments present themselves can be used to write. My goal is to get the house cleaned up before I go to bed every night so I can wake up to a clean house. This has probably happened a grand total of twice. But I try to get at least ONE chore done every day. Try being the operative word. So…working on it :-D
3. Treat it like a job. This is another one I struggle with. Being an author is an actual job. It’s an awesome job :-D but it is a job all the same. Just like a “real” job, writing is not always fun. It’s HARD work. Editing, rewriting, researching…this stuff all takes time and can sometimes get downright tedious. This is why treating writing like a job can really be helpful.
To keep myself on track, I do two things.
• Make a writing schedule. My work hours are from 8-12, M-F. Yes, I have the luxury of this being flexible but I try like you wouldn’t believe to stick to it. If I don’t, I end up with a week left before a book is due trying to churn out 10,000 words in the middle of the night. That’s not fun. Much easier if I can stick to some regular work hours.
• Set goals. In addition to having my scheduled writing time, I set a word count goal for each day. This changes depending on how close my deadline is, (and how badly I’ve procrastinated beforehand), but in general, my goal is to write 1000 words a day. Sometimes I do better than others, but regardless, it gives me something to shoot for.
4. Prioritize my activities. We all have spare moments in the day. What we do with those moments is what is important. This is where having a writing schedule really helps. If I stick to it, it means when my kids come home, I can play with them, do some chores, watch my favorite shows in the evening, and hopefully spend some quality time with the Hubs. This is sometimes easier to do than others.
Remember when I said I didn’t sleep when I was writing my first novel? I wasn’t joking…I’d wake up at 4 every morning to get in a couple hours of writing and exercise before the kids woke up, then I worked all day. After the kids went to bed, I’d do schoolwork and would write some more. I’d generally go to bed around midnight or so. I was a lot younger then though :-D I don’t think I could do that now. This is why when I’m behind schedule the DVR is my new best friend. Shows get taped so I can work when the kids are in bed and I can still get to sleep at a decent time and not miss my favorite shows (which I watch the next day while eating breakfast and folding laundry).
Now, Real Life tends to get in the way sometimes. It likes to throw my carefully crafted schedule right out the window, usually on a daily basis. But I work around it. I want to write, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. So, I make sure I find the time to do it.
About the Author:
website. Michelle’s newest release is the final installment in her Blood Blade Sisters series, A Bandit’s Betrayed Heart.
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