Monday, August 20, 2007

When do I find time to write?
August 2007 Virtual Book Tour

That’s the question I’m most frequently asked.

First let me say that I work full time outside the home. I’m married with two children in college and my husband and I both care for our parents. We live in a large home in the historic section of town that has been a fantastic place to raise our children, has given us endless gardening pleasure, and is still a wonderful gathering place for family and friends—especially during the holidays.

I love to cook and have spoiled my family with homemade meals seven days a week from day one. This October will mark our 20th year in this house. The first 16 years I spent nearly every weeknight catching up with household chores, doing laundry, and helping the kids with homework. Countless weekends were spent painting and/or papering walls, stripping layers of paint from the hardwood, ripping out carpeting, sewing curtains, and dealing with the handymen that came to our rescue when something broke. I’ve spent untold hours scrubbing down surfaces and planting new flower beds. I’ve driven my children to ball game practices, dance rehearsals, school dances, and attended every science fair, play, and orchestra recital they were in from K-12.

And then ... I got bit by the writing bug. But life didn’t change right away. At first, I used to work writing into my schedule much like I would a hobby. I set it aside and picked it up as time permitted. But the more I learned, the more I enjoyed it. My writing time quickly moved up on my list of priorities. Now that I have one book published and the second book in the series in the works, writing has become my second job. Therefore I treat it as such.

My best advice is: Organize your time, prioritize the tasks, establish a schedule, and delegate, delegate, delegate. The first thing I had to admit to myself was that I couldn’t write and continue to do all the things that I had been accustomed to doing. Eventually I learned to say: “No.”

The day job is a must. It pays for my paper, ink cartridges, and the postage I use to mail out review copies of SILENCED CRY. It also helps pays for little things like the mortgage on this big old house and all the things that make it a home.

I can, however, take control of my time. Weekends are still errand days, but I don’t drag them out into an all day affair. I can get the downstairs picked up, swept, and dusted within an hour. I usually have several places to go as well, like the bank, the grocery story, and the dry cleaners. I get everything done in one run so I can free up my afternoon and write. The next day, I’ll clean the upstairs. As long as my kitchen and baths are clean, bed linens and towels are changed regularly, and the laundry is done. I’m happy.

Learn to delegate. Everyone in my family knows how to run the sweeper and my favorite small kitchen appliance is my crock-pot cook; better it cook all day than me. Our son is in charge of the trash detail and mows the lawn; my daughter helps in the kitchen. Dare I say it? She’s a better cook than I am.

So the question remains: When do I write? In the evenings I focus an average of 4-5 hours a night to writing, research, reading, and/or marketing and promotion. At the present time, I’m promoting of my debut novel, SILENCED CRY and working on the edits of my second book in the series.

Everyone is different. What has worked for me, may not work for someone else. Each person needs to find what method and schedule works best for them. The key to success in any venture, however, is dedication and consistency. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted. Prioritize your tasks and establish a schedule you can adhere to.

My house isn’t as spotless as it used to be and granted, the weeds in the flower beds have gotten a little out of hand this summer, but it’s still home, and I couldn’t ask for a more supportive family who lets me indulge in my passion.

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