Friday, June 17, 2011

The writing mom: Becoming the efficient writer

I’ve worked in New York City public relations and CBS Television, both high-pressured jobs, but now I believe the job I’ve had this last year is the world’s most challenging. Being a writing from home mother has both challenged and improved my writing. For almost a year now I have been juggling freelance deadlines, a non-fiction book release and the completion of my YA Fantasy, all while caring for my baby. Caring for my daughter has taught me many things about writing with efficiency and time management.

Probably one thing that has helped me the most is making reasonable day-part goals. What I mean by this is that I divide up my to do list. I have a morning to do list and an afternoon/evening to do list. This prevents me from getting completely overwhelmed and gives me a better chance at accomplishing my goals.

You can create such a list because you know when you can get the most work done. I know that I get the most done between 5AM and 7AM. Because of this, my morning to do list is longer than my afternoon to do list. This really gets my day off to a great start, being able to cross several items off my list before my daughter ever wakes up.

As a writing mom it is smart to always work at least a day ahead, goal wise from where you want to be. Your writing is no longer just dependent on you, you must be prepared to have a poor writing day because you need to care for a sick child. Luckily, my daughter has yet to have a sick day but there are days that she requires more attention then others. I love being a writer and it gives me the flexibility so that I can still be a great mom. By working ahead, I’m able to take longer breaks to play with my daughter when she wants it.

Writing moms must be efficient. When I became a mom and also became more of a plotter. I must know where my story is going because I may have sporadic writing sessions. Being a better plotter has helped me to be more efficient in making my sometime short writing “sprints” worth it. I can’t just sit and wait for inspiration to strike. When my baby is napping I work quickly, making my way down my to do list. I require more focus, which means I have set times when I check in with social media. When I was new at being a writing mother, nap times were so tempting to take over any writing time I get. When you do sleep, get the most of the rest. To make my nights more productive I set an hour aside before going to bed just to read. This slows my brain for the night instead of diving into a restless slumber. A nice bubble bath can also serve as a relaxing evening activity. Let your mind be cleared before restarting the crazy, baby set routine the next day.

Being a writing mom has made me a much more efficient writer. We have to be in order to accomplish our goals. I’ve also hired a nanny to help me part-time. I love this arrangement because I know I’ll get some writing accomplished but I’m still there when a little girls want to give her “Mama” a hug. I am living both words, and for now it is worthy. Plus I never know when she will inspire me or make me laugh, like in this picture of her helping with some page proofs.

Writer mommies out there, what have you learned from being a mom that has helped/improved your writing time and skills? Share your story/advice in a comment below. But first for some announcements:

My book, “Caring for Your Special Needs Dog,” is out by Who Dares Wins Publishing. A percentage of the profits go to The Texas A&M Foundation to the benefit of the Neurology Section, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinarian Medicine. To learn more about the book, which is currently selling for $2.99, click here.

Weekly Blog Mash ups: For my first blog mash up I'm sharing some of my favorite people to follow. They know writing, the craft and the industry, If you're a writer, you must follow these blogs.

Write It Forward- Who Dares Wins Publishing

Ending Unplanned- Rachel Harris

Warrior Writer- Kristen Lamb

PW Creighton- Phillip Creighton

Piper Bayard- Piper Bayard

Anna Writes- Anna DeStefano

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