Write From Home
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Hamilton, NJ 08610
E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com
Finding the Write Time
When you're juggling your kids, your spouse,
housework, carpools, soccer practice and the million other things parents do,
it's tough to carve out a writing schedule. But if you want to be a prolific and
successful writer, it's important to have regular working hours. "I'm ten times
more productive than before," says Indiana writer Shirley Jump about keeping a
strict schedule. "Having a regular writing schedule is the only thing that can
keep me on track with deadlines."
Here are some tips to help you carve out your
deal writing schedule:
Determine what will work for you.
Every writer is different, so what works beautifully for your best writing
buddy may be horrible for you. Ask yourself a few questions: Do you work best in
short bursts or do you need several uninterrupted hours? What other obligations—such
as work, homeschooling or caring for your children—do you need to find time for?
Are your kids in childcare, preschool or school during the day? Are you an early
bird, a night owl or neither?
Survey your options.
Take a good look at the 24 hours available in each
day and try to determine a time when you can do nothing but write. You're sure
to find something, even if you have to change your habits. "I was not a morning
person, but I trained myself to be one because I didn't have enough hours in my
regular day when my youngest wasn't in school," says Jump. If your kids attend
preschool three mornings a week, or if they nap for an hour each day or even
watch "Sesame Street," dedicate this time to writing.
Keep in mind that, although tasks like phone interviews may have to be done
during business hours, you can write anytime. Have your spouse handle the bath
and bedtime rituals so you can write in the evening. Or try getting up early and
squeezing in some writing time while your family sleeps. Perhaps you can devote
a day (or even a few hours) each weekend to your work.
Take your schedule for a
Give your writing schedule a try—and not just for
a few days. Any time will have its pluses and minuses, so see what's working for
you and what isn't. Don't give up too easily, but if you're consistently dozing
off 20 minutes into your late night writing time, you may need to re-think your
Make your writing time a
Whether you decide to write during your child's nap,
each morning before the sun comes up, Tuesday and Thursday nights or all day
Sunday, it's important to keep your time sacred. You know what that means: no
folding laundry, checking your e-mail, flopping on the couch in front of the
television or checking to see what your spouse and kids are doing. "By having
what I feel is limited time for working, I know I have to use it and not let it
go to waste," says Andrea Mack, a writer from Ontario.
Reap the benefits.
It's not always easy to create a writing schedule and stick with it, but
you'll be glad you did. "I had to force myself for about six weeks to keep my
writing appointment with myself," says Erin Walton of Missouri, who writes every
night from 8:00-11:00. "When I realized how much I could accomplish in just a
few hours a week, I made it a daily appointment and now I hardly ever skip a
Carol Sjostrom Miller lives in New Jersey with
her husband, Jack, and daughters, Stephanie (7) and Lauren (1). She is neither
an early bird nor a night owl, so she spends every Sunday writing articles,
essays and humor pieces for such publications as FamilyFun, Parenting, The
Christian Science Monitor, ePregnancy, Skirt!, and Chicken Soup for the Mother
and Daughter Soul.
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