Thursday, October 3, 2013

How to write a novel while standing on your head backwards, chewing gum, and texting at the same time

I think I might get the award for longest blog title thus far in the Alley.

While it is mostly satirical, I'm fairly certain that most all of us can relate to the idea of having a billion things that need done all at the same time and not having enough arms, legs, time or brain cells to get it done.

Kids want that crazy thing called dinner and *gasp* help with homework! The NERVE of them! (although, in their defense, I'm guessing most would rather just ditch homework all together, so maybe this is a teacher's demand vs kiddos.) And don't even GET me started on sports and after-school activities they expect paid for and chauffeured to...

Spouses expect anything from a clean house to money in a bank account from a real PAYING job. So overrated...

Bill collectors want paid.

Churches want our time to do crazy things like volunteer in the nursery.

The government wants our taxes.
Our friends want to hang out.
Our school wants PTO volunteers.
Our body wants a shower every once in a while...
And God has the gull to ask for a chunk of time each day in prayer and Bible reading.

The list could go on for a very. long. time.

And on top of all of the normal demands on our time, we're crazy people by trying to write BOOKS.

So how DO we meet all of life's demands and be able to spend quality time to write?

Here are just a few tips that I've learned (and am still learning, because I fail at this daily!)

DELEGATE

Listen (or read...) very closely to what I am about to say.

You.

Can't.

Do.

Everything.

I know. EARTH SHATTERING, huh. No man is an island, and men/women who try to be everything for everybody every single day are destined to 1.) fail 2.) go insane 3.) become addicted to something (for some its smoking or alcohol... for me, it's chocolate. Not. Good.)

Kids should have age appropriate chores. AND, while helping with homework is definitely needed depending on the child, I'm a HUGE believer in making THEM responsible for getting it done. It is not Mommy's job to remind you ten times to study for a test or to do your homework project. It is my children's. They are ones who reap the consequences, good or bad, so they are the ones who should be responsible.

Even if your husband is a terrible cook, he can pick up pizza now and again. And frozen waffles popped into the toaster are totally part of the food pyramid, FYI. I'm not saying to do this daily. I am saying to do this every once or twice a week to help prioritize writing time!

PRIORITIZE

I'm a big believer in setting priorities. But these are not rigid, set in stone. Writing is not always #1 priority... but it also isn't always last, either. I've realized that this is part of MY problem lately. Writing gets put on the back burner because I'm not always sure where to fit it in on my priority list, and if I'm honest, sometimes I have that whole Mommy-guilt thing from moving it up a rung or two.

One of the concepts I took home from my weekend at ACFW is the importance of me putting writing at more of a priority. Sometimes, it will be on the back burner. But I'm going to treat it similar as I do my part-time consulting work, as a job that I need to spend X amount of hours on a week.

Writing TIMES scheduled out do not work for me. My schedule is always in flux and changes daily based on the needs of my four children and those around me. But requiring myself to put in so many hours per week at some point and time, that is much easier. That allows me to look at my priorities and punch writing in to an appropriate slot based on the current demands on my time.

DON'T DISCOUNT THE SMALL SLOTS

I used to do a much better job at this, and I need to get back to it because it helped me GREATLY. Sometimes we operate under the belief that we need X amount of hours to sit down and write, uninterrupted. If you have that, then GREAT. I am thoroughly jealous.

Sometimes, all you have is a spare 15 or 30 minutes on a lunch break.

Or maybe you can brainstorm while waiting in the car pickup line at school, or at the waiting room at the dentist.

Utilize those small snippets of time so you can maximize your time when you DO have a few hours in a row to write. 

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK

Don't beat yourself up when you just don't have time. We all have writing seasons. I've gone through many spurts the last three years when I didn't write a word for months, not because I didn't want to, but because it was not my writing season at the moment.

Personally, I'm entering into a season when God has sat me down and said, "It's time get in there and write, Krista." But that isn't to say in a few months he might ask me to set my pen down for another small break.

Discussion:

What writing season are you in? How do you effectively manage your writing time? Do you use a schedule or some other method?

3 comments:

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Great post, Krista. Honestly, I don't do a good job managing my writing time. It ebbs and flows, depending on what else is going on, and lately, how much momentum I have in getting my story written, edits done, etc. I lost all momentum after ACFW, and I had to rekindle the story in my mind and heart again. Now that it is, I'm working hard to get it done. Housework, for the most part, isn't happening (don't peek into the master bathroom). The kids are in a crazy cycle for a couple more weeks, so my priorities are story, kids karate black belt classes and helping hubby with commitments he's got. Not in that order.

When I'm organized I have a day or two per week set aside for just writing. Today is one. So, I"m going to finish up this comment, skim through email, have a quiet time and get busy. :) Loved your sense of humor. :)

Pepper said...

Oh Krista,
I'm riding that crazy train with ya, girlfriend. With lots of chocolate on order.

And I'm not a very organized person, which makes the train ride a bit more...er...scenic (read chaotic, frightening, frustrated)

Prioritizing is a fantastic tip and taking advantage of the little bits of time.

Rebecca Camarena said...

I happen to be super-mom and try to do it all as we're all busy. Take for example did I really need to make that Halloween costume, it was fine without it. A six hour project that ate into my writing time. Thanks for sharing.