Friday, August 6, 2010

Balancing Family & Writing

*I wrote this article for my writing group (I've been a member for 5 years now) Authors Incognito. You'll see it in the August newsletter.

I am a writer. I am also a mother, wife, daughter, gardener, piano teacher, chicken keeper, bread-maker--you get the idea. People often ask me, “How do you find time to write?” I imagine that every writer, no matter how young or old is asked this same question. The answer is within the question itself—finding time. If something is important to you, you find the time, you make the time, you PRIORITIZE.

Writing is important to me, but it took some doing for me to figure out the best way to work with a young family. As a new writer, I read in several places from esteemed authors that you shouldn’t write unless you had a two-hour block to work because it takes time to get back into the writing mode, etc, etc.

Unfortunately for me, I believed that advice for at least six months. Every time I would think about writing, I would think that I didn’t have enough time and I probably should get more housework done or do something else on my ‘To do’ list. Then I had an “Aha” moment when I realized that as a stay-at-home mom of young children/babies, I probably would never have a two-hour block of uninterrupted time.

And so I began writing in snatches. Ten minutes here, twenty minutes there, and sometimes during nap time I would get a full hour of writing in! In between caring for newborn babies and chasing after toddlers, I would be thinking about my novel in progress. Sometimes while rocking a baby in the middle of the night, an idea would strike me and I would scribble down a few notes. Now, I try to keep my Word document open during the day so if I get a great idea for a scene, I can hurry and type it out.

So, how do I find time to write? I write in snatches during the day and then I don’t watch much TV so I have time to write when the kids go to bed. Writing is a priority to me and I have a wonderful husband and family who know how important it is for me to write. Let those around you know what your priorities are. Tell them about your dreams and goals and then ask for their support. Listen to advice on writing, but form your own "rules" for the writing method as you figure out when your most creative times occur and how to tap into your inner writer.

I found a method that works for me and I wish you the best of luck in finding your own writing method so you can crank out those pages. Happy Writing!
Rachelle J. Christensen, author of Wrong NumberWrong Number and
Lost Children: Coping with MiscarriageLost Children: Coping With Miscarriage for Latter-Day Saints

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