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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Add Twenty-Four Hours To Your Writing Week
by Lauri Jean Crowe

Writing takes discipline. It takes even more when you're a parent who freelances with kids underfoot. I know, I'm a single mother of two special needs toddlers under the age of four and most days are challenging regardless of my writing needs. However, I still write professionally every day with approximately 1/3 of our household's income coming from my writing.

So, how can you manage time and add twenty-four hours to your writing week? By avoiding having children underfoot in the first place and sticking to a few simple ground rules of self-discipline.

1. Awaken an hour before your children. This allows you to add seven hours right off the bat to your writing week. Now, this step will be easier if your children have a set wake and sleep schedule, so if they don't now, make sure you set boundaries to help them establish a routine as soon as possible.

2. Go to bed an hour after your children. This step adds another seven hours to your total, and by following two simple steps you've added fourteen hours to your writing week. However, as simple as this sounds it's not easy. On those days when your children have been up all night with a fever, or you just want to hit the pillow as soon as they do, you need to stick to your goals and write.

3. Make nap time writing time. If your children are as small as mine, nap time can last from one to two hours. With older kids who no longer nap, you can set aside a quiet time for television, a movie or some leisure activity which they can get involved in. This step adds an additional seven hours to your total for twenty-one hours of writing time a week. Even if you have older kids or kids who can only sit still for thirty minutes, establishing this routine will add a minimum of three and a half hours writing time to your schedule.

4. Rely on friends and family. Whether your children are newborn or high school age they no doubt have another parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or doting family friend who would love to spend time with them. Take advantage of this. Your loved ones want to see and know your children as individuals. Even if it's just once a month for two hours you've added time to your writing week. If you're very fortunate and your children like to spend time with grandma every Sunday afternoon, you can easily add seven or more hours to your writing time. This step can also go a long way toward getting family members and friends to accept that your writing is something you take seriously. Asking for their help will impact that writing is important to you, just as important as your family.

5. Sign your children up for leisure and after-school activities. By allowing your children to do something they love, and can do in a supportive environment you free up time when they don't need you right at their side. You will be helping your children explore their creativity and independence while getting some time for your own creative pursuits. Even if it means driving your daughter to volleyball practice 3 times a week and writing longhand in a  notebook while you wait to take her back home, those are three more hours you can add to your writing week.

By following these five disciplined steps, and fitting them into the needs of yourself and your family you can easily add twenty-four hours (or more) to your writing life each week. Think about it, a whole day to yourself, dedicated to writing.

Don't waste that time making grocery lists, doing the laundry or the dishes, or other household chores. Put down the vacuum and pick up your pen, or sit behind your computer keyboard and know that through some simple time management strategies you have validated your worth as a writer and allowed yourself the time to create in an environment conducive to creativity, while still meeting the needs of your children and family.

Your family will love you for it. You will be much more able to handle the stresses of, and meet the demands of parenting and family life when your own needs as a writer have been met. By nurturing yourself, you will have spent precious time that allows you to support and nurture those who mean the most to you...your family.

Lauri Jean Crowe is a 32-year-old freelance writer living on two woodland acres in Michigan. She writes from the hip and expresses her personal worldview from various pockets of experience as woman, writer, healer, artist, gardener and mother. Lauri Jean welcomes e-mail. You can learn more about L.J. Crowe at her personal Web page, Dreaming Crowe's Nest.









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