It's a three-ring circus at all times in my house. Ask my mom. She'll tell ya.
Between shuttling three boys off to sports practices and games, running everyone to and from school activities, working, working out, and doing all the necessary stuff of life like grocery shopping, laundry, bill-paying, yard-tending, on and on and on, things can get a little...
Laundry can pile up and remain stacked on the dining room table. My office can get completely out of control with clutter. We can all subsist on quick, Mexican takeout for days on end (not that I'm complaining about that one).
When life in general is nutty, how in the world do you just casually toss in a "hobby" like writing novels?
As I progress through this book journey of mine, I'm finding that what started as a little side-job is taking more and more and more of the center stage. So, I've had to get really clever to fit everything in. Here are some of my foolproof tricks for managing life while also writing a novel:
Say "no" to things that don't bring you any joy or don't add any value to your life.
Yes, I'd say that scrubbing the toilet does not bring me any joy, but since it adds value, namely the value in not smelling the wolfish scent of urine from four males, I scrub, scrub away. But I'm talking about all the other things that contribute to the clutter in our lives we can easily nix: attending the birthday parties of every single kid in class. Signing up for events in which you don't want to participate. Going out with friends when you just don't feel like it. Volunteering past your availability in the community. It's okay to say no once in a while. IT IS, I SWEAR.
Be honest about how you spend your time.
A few months ago, I sat down and wrote out my weekly schedule from wake-up until bedtime. Do you know what I discovered, despite the crazed madness that is my normal life? I had 11.5 hours of free time each week that I either wasn't utilizing well (TV, social media, etc.), OR had completely free and didn't recognize it. Sometimes, just looking at your schedule head-on can alert you to the free time you actually DO have.
Speaking of schedules...give one a go.
I have been harassed loudly and with little tact about adhering to a schedule, but guess how I get things done, friends? I'm an editor for Blue Ocean Brain, a novelist, the marketing and promotions lead for our vacation rental business, a wife, and the mother of three little boys. I don't have time not to have a schedule. Yes, I unwind the ol' clock on the weekends and allow myself to relax (sleeping in on Saturday mornings is my THING), but having a schedule, and being disciplined enough to stick to it, helps me do the things I'm passionate about doing.
Decide what you love.
If you truly want to write a book, then you will write it. Nothing will stop you from fulfilling that desire of your heart, because it can't. Your own insecurities, busyness, family, commitments, and jobs will not stand in your way if getting that book on paper is your passion. You make time for the things that are important to you. If you don't, then maybe they aren't as important as you think they are. Ask yourself why you're trying to write this novel of yours. If it isn't for the love of it, then you may never find the time to devote to it that you need to.
Forgive yourself for not having it all together.
Here's something I've learned as I've connected with so many wonderful, amazing women: no one has it all figured out. Yes, there are women who will be more successful than you. Yes, there are women who will have a sparkly clean house and organized Tupperware who go to work doing something amazing for humanity. Yes, there are women who have never once screamed at their children. (FYI, I am not one of them.) But even those women don't have it all figured out. Be kinder to yourself. Treat yourself as if you are your own best friend. Would you castigate your friend for sending her kid to school in wrinkly clothes or missing a deadline at work? Likely not. Champion yourself, believe in yourself, and forgive yourself for not being perfect.
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My YA fantasy novel, GRAVEMAIDENS, comes out in the fall of 2019! Add it on Goodreads, below! =)