By Preslaysa Williams
I once told another mom about my writing “hobby,” and she advised I put the writing on hold until my children were out of the house for good. I refused to put my dreams on hold, but the realities of writing with children had ballooned into a huge challenge I had to face. I needed a plan. My first step was to make a writing bag. This bag contains the following:
-A Flash Drive
-Multi-colored highlighters and pens a-la Margie Lawson’s EDITS system
-My Netbook and charger
-A kitchen timer
-My small notebook (I use this notebook for writing practice.)
-My other small notebook (I use this for hand writing my current work in progress.)
-A folder with some hardcopy pages of my work in progress
-A writing craft book
-A novel or non-fiction book
In addition to having a designated space, try out one of these two methods for writing:
Method #1: “The Catch Me When You Can Method”
This method is good for parents with infants (or non-napping older children), family road trips or anytime you are off your normal routine. I came up with this technique when I had a newborn. The baby didn’t have a schedule in the beginning, and I certainly didn’t want to wait until he got one to start writing.
I carried my writing bag around with me and wrote whenever I could. I set a realistic daily writing goal on an index card and placed it in my folder. For instance, I’d write on an index card: “I complete 250 words today.” Underneath, I’d have tick marks which I would check off whenever I reached a fifty word milestone. I loved the feeling of checking off those tick marks during the day. As I got better, I increased the daily goal. I also did this for editing pages after the first draft was done.
With this method, pre-planning will help a great deal. If you’re a seat-of-the-pants writer, quickly sketch out a scene. If you’re a plotter, you can delve into a more intricate plan. Either way, pre-planning and writing in those snatches of time will add up.
Method #2: “Dedicated Time Method”
This method is best for when your children are on a regular nap/quiet time schedule, when your children attend school, or when you have a regular routine. It basically involves setting a writing appointment and sticking to it.
There are some caveats to this method. First, make sure you are well rested the night before. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself sleeping when you should be writing. (This has happened to me!)
Second, set a kitchen timer during your writing appointment so you won’t get distracted by other stuff.
Third, have a goal for that writing session and do whatever it takes to meet your goal. There have been many times when I planned to write or edit a certain amount only to have half an hour left on my timer. Surprisingly, I’d become very prolific and creative during that last half hour.
There you have it folks. You can juggle babies and books. Don’t put it off any longer. WRITE.
Preslaysa Williams is an award-winning author of restoration romance, modern day stories of people who seasons of loss and found the God who restores, strengthens, and establishes the brokenhearted. She is an actress who has appeared on television, Off-Broadway, and regional theatre. Visit her online at www.preslaysa.com.