(This post is the first of three in a special series for aspiring authors)
One of the number one questions people ask me when they find out I've written multiple books is, "How do you find the time to write?" Then they usually offer up their own barriers to carving out time. They're too busy, they work full time, they spend all weekend at their kids sports events, etc.
And while these are some very valid obstacles they are also excuses. I believe in the old adage, where there is a will, there is a way. If you are an aspiring author you HAVE TO MAKE TIME TO WRITE. There is no way around it- no magical potion that can help you skip ahead. You've got to make it a priority and if you're committed and passionate, you'll find a way otherwise you'll find excuses because maybe you're actually afraid to write. There are several barriers that keep you from even attempting to write and I'll address those in my blog post next week. But this post is about carving out time to write. Here are some tried and true tips that even the "busiest" individual will find useful:
1. Set an appointment on your calendar- You can get up thirty minutes earlier each day or go to bed thirty minutes later and use that time to write. It doesn't seem like a lot of time but if you do it daily it adds up. You can also make time during your lunch hour a couple of days a week; instead of going to lunch, find a quiet conference room or walk to a nearby park or just sit in your car. Bring your laptop, tablet, phone or even note pad and capture your ideas, thoughts, dialogue, etc.
2. Maximize your time- Every day for almost an hour I am sitting in school pick up lines (two different schools). Some days I bring my laptop and while I'm waiting I write instead of scrolling through social media. If you are at the doctors office or dentist office or getting your oil changed. . .anywhere you will have a thirty minute to one hour or longer wait you can write! Use the Notes app on your phone or Evernote app, email yourself what you've written and just cut and paste it into your manuscript later.
3. Use your voice- Most smartphones have a function where you can talk into your phone and it will convert to text. If you are sitting in traffic or have a super long commute each morning, why not open a Note or email (set this up before you start driving!) and press the microphone icon and start talking. You can speak the words instead of writing them. It will seem weird at first like you're talking to yourself but after a while you'll find a comfortable rhythm. It's almost like you are recording your book in audio form. I will warn you that sometimes the voice command hears words WRONG but they are minor mistakes that you can go back and correct after the fact. Just be sure this isn't a distraction and that you are still paying attention to the road.
4. Find a writing buddy- If you have friends that you normally hang out with on the weekend, grabbing brunch, shopping or seeing a movie. . . find out if anyone in your friend group is also an aspiring writer, if so, instead of simply meeting for brunch make it a "working" brunch. Bring your laptops, tablets, phones or notepads and instead of catching up on the latest gossip just bask in the quite solitude while you work on your respective manuscripts.
5. NaNoWriMo- (National Novel Writing Month) Although this only takes place once a year in November, it is a good way to hold yourself accountable. I wrote the bulk of my first book by participating. Participants sign up and make a commitment to write a whopping 50,000 words for the entire month of November! Let me tell you it's no easy feat, you basically have to be committed to writing 1,667 words per day to reach this goal. But the feeling (and bragging rights) of being a NaNoWriMo "winner" is amazing! Not to mention your book is practically written at the end of it.
What are some of your tried and true tips for finding time to write?
Welcome to June! This is the first post in my Summer Blog Series, which I've decided to do as a way to share and document some of my summer activities and projects. I've come to accept that being a full time blogger is just something I don't have the time or discipline to do however I love writing and sharing information, so I will pop in every now and then to do just that.
This Summer Blog Series will include a variety of summer themed posts that focus on the following:
So I hope you'll check out my posts every Friday this summer!
During the first week of May every year, I create a calendar of activities, events and projects for the entire summer. Disclaimer: Not every single day is accounted for and those are the stay-in-pajamas-and-binge-watch-Netflix-all-day days. But since I do have two children (actually one of them is officially a teenager now) I've learned to be prepared for the, "What are we doing today?" "I'm bored," "Can we go to the mall?" (And that question would actually come from my 8 year old daughter!)
I just find we maximize our time (and I reduce my headaches) when I create an actual calendar. Here's my approach:
Even if you are a parent working outside of the home, having a calendar can still be useful. It helps you schedule time with your family and makes quality time a priority. If you need some ideas of things to do over the summer just head over to Pinterest and enter "summer activity ideas", enough ideas come up to last you until your kids have kids! Have fun and enjoy your summer!
As parents we face such a paradox as we try to protect our children from the same world that we need to also prepare them to live in without us.
Sometimes as parents we fall short because want to be our children’s friend or we want them to “like” us or we simply don’t want to see them struggle or hurt. But failure and some form of struggle is inevitable and it helps build character. One of the main things we should teach our children is responsibility. If we strive to raise responsible citizens it will go along way in helping them to be successful in life.
Here are some ways to teach kids to be responsible:
If you wake up some mornings wanting to give up on your dreams. You're not alone. There are probably some days that it seems too hard or that you're not making any real progress. Maybe you feel too old, too young, too overweight, too shy or that you have other obstacles that will keep you from being as successful as other people. You have to be vigilant in your efforts and take the good with the bad.
Here are four tips for staying on track:
1. Stop complaining- Don't give in to the urge to bemoan every setback or hiccup. Embrace the challenges and mistakes. Learn from them so that your next attempt is better. Complaints are problems that you want someone else to solve because you feel like a victim. Stop creating problems and start devising solutions that will help put you closer to your goal so that you can be victorious!
2. Stop criticizing- Complaints and criticism usually go hand and hand. We are our own worst critics. Focus on all the amazing things about yourself and when you look in the mirror empower yourself by saying, "I am capable of greatness!" People who feel empowered usually go on to empower and inspire others instead of inviting negativity.
3. Stop comparing- There is only ONE you. Period. There is only ONE Beyoncé. One Oprah. One Random Sally Doe who has 110,000 followers on Instagram. And on and on. It's one thing to allow these people to inspire you to be YOUR best but emulating them or comparing your journey to theirs is a surefire way to destroy your own self worth. What makes YOU special? Focus all your energy on being the best version of yourself. When you're happy with yourself and love yourself unconditionally, you become unstoppable!
4. Stay consistent- It's not what you do once and a while that makes the difference it's what you do ALL THE TIME. Establish solid routines and block out the noise and distractions. You can't expect instant results when you've only been working at something for a few days. It will take longer than a few days, possibly more than a few weeks or months. You have to ask yourself the following questions: Am I willing to WORK for it? Am I willing to WAIT for it? And if your answer is yes to both questions, then keep plugging along and before you know it- those consistent small steps with get you to your destination.
The Internet has deluded people into thinking they can do anything and everything. They think they can watch a few YouTube videos or dig around Pinterest and suddenly they are an “expert” in a particular area. Some people have even boldly tried to build careers around things they learned in one sitting.
Believe me it takes a lot more than following an online tutorial to be considered an expert in a particular field. I have a degree in Communication, I have been writing professionally for almost 20 years and I have been freelancing as a graphic designer for three years. However there are times when I still feel like a novice. Being an expert is not only about execution but also attitude.
Here are three tips to becoming an expert:
Writer. Reader. Designer. Creative Spirit.
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”