“If you want to be an author. Be an author.”
“You’re not human, right?”
“Do you sleep?”
“How do you find the time?”
“But don’t you have children?”
I kid you not – I’ve been asked these exact questions more times than I can count. And my answers are:
“I disagree. I am most certainly a human.”
“Yes, about 6-7 hours each night.”
“I make the time.”
“I do – they’re 4, 3, and 2.”
Writing is never something I force into my schedule. But when I’m able, I’ll always choose to make it a priority. Because when you have a passion for the craft – feel a pull for the creative – and need an outlet in between “everything else”, writing fiction is my safety net. And being an author never disappoints.
I work a full-time job at Illinois State University. I work a part-time job at Burning Soul Press. I work another part-time job with Labyrinth Made Goods. And I teach on the side at Heartland Community College. I serve on three boards of directors for both local and national organizations. And I volunteer in a leadership role for the Writing Champions Project. I’m married, have three kids, two dogs, and a basket of laundry that always needs washing – or folding.
Yet – I have two romance novels releasing in 2022 (and you can count on me to have another ready to go in 2023).
So, what’s my secret? How do I fit writing into my life? Read on to learn my secrets of the trade.
1.) Make the Choice. My alarm goes off at 5:20am most days. And in those first few moments, I choose what tasks I get to accomplish that day. Nine out of ten times, I know that my story will earn a place on the list. My to-do list is always full, but prioritizing my passion drives my sanity. I choose to include writing in my daily routine. And my other obligations do not have to suffer from it if I plan accordingly.
2.) Map the Time. I’ll typically open up my manuscript around 8:00pm. And I give myself about two hours to create, fine-tune, edit, etc. But my brain doesn’t just start working at 8pm. I’ve thought about how I want to spend my two hours all day. I know what scene I want to work on – I know what character needs help – or I know in advance what plot hole I need to repair. I think about it all day. So, when my butt hits the chair, I’m ready to roll. No time wasted.
3.) Master the Mayhem. I consider writing a treat. It’s my reward at the end of the day for checking things off my to-do list. And truly, I’d have it no other way – because there’s nothing I’d rather do with my time. To my core, I’m a happy introvert – and I use up every ounce of my extrovertness (is that a word?) during the day. I covet the time I get to spend alone and in my own world. It’s my release and place of calm at the end of a long day.
4.) Move the Obstacles. It’s true. Sometimes plans can get derailed and flexibility is needed. But I work hard to make sure that my writing time is protected. Over the last year, I’ve learned that saying it out loud makes a difference (and say it early in the day). “I think I’ll write tonight.” “I think I’ll spend some time in my book this evening.” “If I get X, Y, and Z done, that means I can develop A, B, and C.” Speaking your intentions to the universe gives you the right to make your writing a priority (I’ve also found it’s helpful to set the expectation with my husband – then he knows not to expect me to watch a boring basketball game with him!)
5.) Multiply your Time. Time is emotional. And while sometimes our time is dictated with responsibilities, obligations, and to-do lists, I’ve adopted a new mindset. We’re all given the same amount of time in a day – and there’s no way to change that. But what we do have is the ability to choose what we do with the time that’s given to us (Tolkien fans?). I’m happy with the contributions I make to the world. I choose to work my butt off to provide for my family and leave a lasting imprint on the places I work for. But my time is emotional – and at the end of the day, I get to choose me too.
And that’s it. If you want to be an author, be an author. Commit to the dream and choose to allow that dream to cultivate your reality.