Monday, June 29, 2015

Finding the Time to Write

When I tell someone I’m a writer, and they then find out I have three kids under the age of 12, they often ask: “Where do you find the time to write??” usually accompanied by an expression that says, “Are you nuts?” :-)

Sometimes, yes, I think I am. But I love what I do, and I’ve learned that when you love something, you make time for it.

I make time for my family. I make time for my friends. I make time to fix up my fixer-upper house. I make time to run. Writing is another thing I make time for—not just because I love it, but because it’s my career. And because it’s my career, I sometimes have to make less time for fixing up my house, or maybe I don’t go out to dinner with a friend, or maybe I skip a run.

Figuring out how to balance all areas of your life is something you deal with even if you’re not a writer. When you’re a writer, you just kind of…add that in.

How to use my time wisely and effectively is always on my mind. I read a great interview with author Kate Forsyth recently. I liked everything she said, and she gave me some great ideas. For example, she sets aside one day a week to take care of the "business" side of writing. Emails, mailings, blog post scheduling, etc. She also has set times for being on social media every day, so she doesn't find herself trolling for hours.

When I asked writers on Twitter how they view making time to write, @TheRapture said to wake up early or go to bed late. “It’s like working a muscle.” I like that. It’s very true. The more you do it, the more consistent you’ll be at it. It becomes a part of your routine.

@NicoleKLarson said something similar to what Kate Forsyth says: “Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day.” She also added, “Stay in the story.” I do this by thinking about my characters even if I can’t actually be writing. I plan out their next scene, or re-imagine their last one.

If I really think about it, having kids isn’t a hindrance to my writing at all. They are what inspire me to focus. They’ve taught me how to multitask. They also keep me going and make me really decide what is important and what isn’t important.

How do you find time to write? What’s your advice to aspiring writers who have a book to write but feel they have very little time to spare?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Writing

Summer! It’s finally arrived. 

My daughters are very excited to be finished with school until September. And let’s be honest. I’m excited to be finished packing lunches every morning.

Summer is always a great writing time for me. I usually have a lovely babysitter lined up to come here a few days a week so I can go down to my little writing cabin for a handful of hours. I also usually have a specific writing project to work on. This summer, while I have a babysitter scheduled in (yay!) I don’t really know what my project is going to be.

This has been a strange year for me. I’ve seen the completion of my first trilogy, with the release of The Wondrous and the Wicked in April, but while I have a few projects with my agent and out on submission, there’s nothing really in the pipeline. Questions like What do I work on? and Do I want to shift gears and write for adults? Or for younger children? have been on my mind.

I can’t write the same thing again and again. Challenging myself with every new project is important. I think it is for every creative mind. But I also have to think about building my career and platform, and yeah, being a little consistent—even as much as my mind wants to buck against that thought.

I don’t really have any hard and fast answers. Sometimes I get a story idea that demands to be written right now. Others just sit back and wave at me as if to say, “Go on, do what you have to do right now. I’ll be waiting here when you’re ready.”

So right now the story that’s demanding to be written is the companion novel to a New Adult rom-com mystery that I’m kind of in love with. It’s totally different than anything I’ve written before and maybe that’s what’s making it so fun and exciting to work on.

I’ve been building as inspiration board on Pinterest for the first novel. Here's a hint: Scotland, scotch, and hot men in kilts. :-)

What are you working on this summer?