Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Soaring in Your Writing Time for This Season of Your Life and GIVEAWAY

Busy, overloaded, and stressed?

Perhaps you need to fit more writing into your schedule.

What, did I mishear you? I'm working 80 hour weeks, going through stuff in my marriage, my toddler is keeping me from sleeping through the night.

Here's why you NEED to fit writing into your schedule.

"You may be stressed out but you have to fight it. Find those few things that make you feel energized and invest your time and effort into them." -Crystal Paine, Money Saving Mom blogger and author of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life

About two months ago, I started working out five times a week. I've really learned more about the "runner's high." My energy levels are higher than they've been in years. I wondered how would I fit bicycling into my already stuffed schedule. It was an excuse that kept me from exercising.

I work out around an hour, yet I have gained back this hour in the energy I bring to homeschooling and most any task I do. Life is less overwhelming.

The things we choose to do can also sap or increase our emotional energy. Time and money management expert Crystal's advice is spot on for those going through trials or difficult times. Making time for writing isn't being selfish, its using the gifts we have been given for God's glory and it will strengthen us.

Have you allowed writing to create some more "white space" in your life? Time to ingest a deep breath.

I've learned a lot from Crystal's blog Money Saving Mom about making the most of what you have in terms of finances, time, and life in general. Here are some insights both from Crystal's blog and from my own life about how to find time for your passion no matter what life season you are in.

  • Get your "peeps" on board.
Crystal says her number one help to keeping on task is her supportive husband. The same is true in my own life. Its great to have a motivator in your home.

My husband can be the "writing fuhrer" reminding me to keep on task, all the while being a gentle, Gandhi-like supporter. Contradictory? Neh, that's what love does, spurs us on toward our best. Look at Jesus, he loves us enough not to want us to stay mired in the depths of those sins and weaknesses that hold us back.

A friend can play the same role in your life, reminding you to keep up with your writing.

"But I don't have those kind of people in my life. My family thinks I'm wasting my time and my friends call getting published a 'pipe dream.'"

1) Pray for God to provide that type of support for you.

You are never going it alone, God is always on your side. He gave you these gifts and if he wants you to use them in this season he will find a way for you to do so.

2) Consider: am I neglecting my family's needs when I write? Are the times I pick honoring to my family? For instance, if your husband works an active job and you are often writing when he comes home delaying dinner...perhaps this could be why you're lacking his support.

Think about the best times to write, taking your family into consideration.

3) Can your family see the benefit?

This is probably one of the #1 reasons my husband is so supportive of my writing. He sees that it helps me keep my emotions in balance, brings me personal fulfillment and is intellectually stimulating in a season where I often don't talk to a single adult until my husband walks through the door each evening.

  • Consider that not all seasons are created equal.
If you are working full-time and looking for time to write:

Is there a quiet corner where you could retreat with a pad and paper during your lunch break?

Can you voice record your ideas on your long commute home?

Can you break your writing into fifteen minute chunks throughout the day?

If you are staying home and have small children (or homeschool):

Think about teaching your kids to have a quiet time of their own. Consider making it a family writing time and buying your children pretty journals to use.

The quiet pre-dawn and late hours are sacred space for stay-at-home moms.

As a nursing mom, I learned to type a few quick notes during a feeding.

If our children see us fully present with us the rest of the time, they are more willing to understand that writing time helps us be more in the moment with them later because our own cup is filled.

This season is not forever. Find a solution that works for now. Be willing to revise your plans on a regular basis.

  • What can you take off your plate to allow time for writing, while keeping your priorities still in line?

Are you wasting too much time on Facebook or Pinterest? (OK, I admit I'm preaching myself under conviction on this one.)

Can you multitask by writing on a treadmill like Pepper and Mary do or writing ideas in a notebook while standing in line?

Crystal has social media free Sundays. This frees her up both to spend time with her family and to have more creative energy. How can you create margin from these technology distractions? I know one of the Alleycats doesn't use a computer on Sundays and it frees her up to enjoy more quiet.

  • Have goals and stay accountable for them.
Writing my goals on the calendar in the form of daily word count is a helpful reminder.

An accountability buddy can be even better and it doesn't even have to be a fellow writer. Just someone who will ask you the hard questions.

Knowing a friend of mine is checking in with me every Friday has sure made it easier to keep on track with my workouts and the same is true with writing life.

Reward yourself in a small way when you make your goal for the day or week. Maybe an hour this week rereading a favorite book or a cup of coffee.

So, let's hear from you. Share your best time management tip for your writing life and I'll enter you to win a kindle edition of Crystal Paine's 21 Days to a More Discplined Life. I'm willing to bet, you'll be blessed by Crystal's time management tips. Please include your email address to be entered in the drawing.

Julia writes contemporary fiction to mirror truth. A former assistant librarian, she now channels her card cataloguing skills into homeschooling her elementary aged littles and writing for Library Journal. She has reviewed for a variety of websites for several years.


Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Great stuff here, Jules! No one should look to me for time management techniques, but I do find great motivation to write when working out. Something about those quiet moments on a run really stir my creativity. Then I simply HAVE to write. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Julia, this is a fabulous post. Rich in thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.
Everything I do to squeeze writing time was mentioned in your post!
For me, I value brainstorming time with others. It doesn't have to be a writer, anyone who reads has great ideas. Once an idea sparks, the words burst from my mind and I have to write them down.

Pepper said...

Great tips, Jules.
One of the reasons my 'walking' time and 'writing' times are late at night is because that's the time it doesn't interfere with work or fam.
And it IS energizing! Walking is such a creative time for me.
I try to use a lot of 'free' space in my life. The voice recording - definitely. Some lunch breaks. Carpool line.
There are some times when I have my ms out while making dinner and I'll try to edit a page or two. This is particularly useful when I have little hands for help in the kitchen. Sometimes I'll get my kids involved by reading outloud to them and seeing what they think (short and very particular excerpts...afterall, I do write romance ;-)

Unknown said...

OOH this is so great. I can honestly say that when I'm in writing mode, writing even when I'm busy, I find I want to write even more...whereas when I take a long break or don't write regularly, the creative energy drains. It's weird really, but I guess just like exercise and muscles, the more we work those writing muscles, the more they work for us.

I'm certainly not the greatest at time management, but one of the best things I've done is train myself to become a morning person. It wasn't at all easy...but it feels SO good to go into my work day having already fit in some writing or writing-related tasks before the day job. :)

Julia M. Reffner said...


Yes, must be the physical energy stirs our creative energy. The same thing happens to me. And I think you are amazing for all you get done Ames, you have more to share than you think.


Great tip! Definitely expands our creativity to involve others and their great ideas! I love that about you that you brainstorm about every detail. Makes your stories more real to the reader.


YOU are a super-inspiration to me. I LOVE all your ideas and feel like if I followed you around for a day I would learn so much. And I'm probably making you want to gag, LOL, but I seriously do get a lot of wisdom from you in this area. I love your idea for editing during dinner prep.

Julia M. Reffner said...


Great tips! Ugh, I can't seem to do that morning thing. but I do think it would make me feel better to get it done first. I seem to be much more energized at night.

Great analogy to exercise!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Julia, you are so inspiring!! Working out 5 times a week and writing daily while also homeschooling littlies. I'm impressed!

Great post with so much truth in it and a lot of food for thought. I love this: "If our children see us fully present with us the rest of the time, they are more willing to understand that writing time helps us be more in the moment with them later because our own cup is filled." Being fully present is a challenge for me when I'm always thinking about how much I have to get done later. I heard this recently and it has stuck with me: "Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the important work." Something I need to remember!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Love what you said about children being the most important work! I need to stick that on my fridge.