Since I wrote my first book, Shadow Tears, and subsequently outlined and wrote additional books in the series, while my children were still young; I’m often asked how I managed it.
It wasn’t easy.
Let me first start by saying that my initial motivating factor for the stories was as a way to distract and entertain my children during a very difficult time in our family. My husband was undergoing extensive treatment for cancer and there were hours, days and weeks that I spent alone with my children while he recovered.
The process began like any other nighttime story you tell your children: “once upon a time…” However, soon my imagination took over, characters developed in my mind and the stories just started to flow. It was all verbal. I had nothing on paper. Not until my son said, “So where can I get a copy of this book?”
And so began the process of writing down the stories I had shared and putting them into book format.
There are a number of great techniques for finding time to write. For me, I would use the times the children were occupied with homework, toys or even sleeping to let my fingers do the walking over the keyboard. My children weren’t infants, my daughter was a toddler and my son was in elementary school at the time, and they were able to entertain themselves for periods of time.
However, I would also involve them in the process. One of the keys to writing success is to write about something you know. And although I don’t live between two realms like my key character, Selena Goodwin many of her challenges, desires and dreams were based on actual stories from my life or from those close to our family.
The familiarity of the stories and the creative joy I felt from putting them into a compelling sci-fi, fantasy novel helped fuel my desire. I MADE time to write.
It didn’t happen overnight. It took me a decade to bring the first book to print, Shadow Tears, but then the process was in place and shortly thereafter I published the second book in the series, Shadow in the Mist. The rest of the books in the series are already in draft form so I hope to bring out the next book rather quickly.
And it all started with finding a way to incorporate time to write while caring for my family.
They say that if you want something done, give it to a busy person, they’ll take care of it. The same is true as a working mother of two, caring for my husband; you just find time to get everything done.
For me, writing was also an opportunity to remove myself from the stress and seriousness of our circumstances at the time. I looked forward to those minutes, however, limited, when I could escape into the life of Selena.
If you are a young mother or father caring for young children and want to find time to write, here are a few tips:
- If you are a morning person, get up 30 minutes before everyone else and attack the page while your mind is fresh.
- Conversely, if night is best, wait until your children are down for the night. The dishes can wait – hit the keyboard for a few, uninterrupted minutes of writing.
- Carry a small recorder in your purse or in the car. While carpooling your kids from one activity to another or waiting outside the school to pick them up; use the time to talk your book out loud. There is even affordable voice recognition software like Dragon that will turn your words into a Word document.
- Trade help with friends. If you have neighbors with children, ask if they’ll take your children for an afternoon so you can write and then offer to do the same for them on another day.
- Always carry a notebook; you just never know when you might have a few minutes to jot down a scene, a conversation between characters or just brilliant ideas that happen to come to you.
- Depending on the age of your children; having an official writing time for all of you. Everyone sit at the kitchen table and you can all work on writing your book. This is also a great way to help young children with their writing, spelling, idea development and understanding cause and effect.
Whatever way you find to grab a few minutes to write, just keep doing it. It isn’t a race to type “the end.” There have been many popular books that took decades to complete before becoming best sellers. Hang in there!
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