Please welcome Nancy Parker, a freelance writer and former nanny. Below, Nancy provides some tips on balancing the writing life with the family life.
What most people don’t understand about people who write for a living is that writing doesn’t end with the normal 8-5 work schedule. It’s one of those professions that rarely stop at all – you can never tell or control when that elusive inspiration may strike, and writers have the blessing – or curse, however you look at it – to get all-consumed in a project once inspiration comes a-knocking. This works out great for writers as individuals, but can be pretty frustrating for family members who value a more structured schedule. So how do you manage to find a balance between writing and family?
- Keep a notebook with you at all times
It can be an actual notebook that you write down notes in, it can be a “notebook” on your computer or an app on your phone – so long as you have something to jot down an idea quickly when you’re out and about and can’t sit down to write. This way you won’t lose any great ideas but you also don’t have to sacrifice what you’re doing at the time.
- Figure out your best writing time of day
Whether you’ve really thought about it yet or not, every writer has a time of day where they are more creative. For some it’s in the early morning hours before anyone else is awake, for others it’s during the traditional work hours of the day, and for some it’s late at night when everyone has gone to bed. Whatever the case, you have to determine the time that works best for you and designate that time as your personal writing time.
- Set aside specific times to write
Once you’ve determined the best time of day for you to write, set defined hours that you will be writing. Let everyone know that during those hours you aren’t to be disturbed. This way you’ll have a certain amount of time – whether it’s an hour or five – which you know you can dedicate to getting some work done.
- Get words on paper daily
Even if it’s just a few sentences, you should strive to write down something every day. This way you’re continually growing and improving as a writer, but not necessarily taking out huge chunks of time day in and day out to write, which will allow you time to focus on your family as well.
- Be flexible
Just as you need to set aside certain time to write, you also need to set aside time to be with your family. Making sure you’re meeting your family’s needs is the most important, so by scheduling the time which you’ll be writing you’re allowing the rest of your time to be dedicated to your family. And it’s ok to write less some weeks to focus on your family more – you have to be flexible to their schedules as well.
Being up front with everyone from the get-go is the best way to figure out a schedule and determine when to write and when to focus on family. The juggling act of family and writing is a tough one, but once you find the balance between the two they can exist harmoniously.
Nancy Parker is a former professional nanny. Now she loves to write about a wide range of subjects like health, parenting, child care, babysitting, and nanny background check tips. You can reach her at nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com.
Please welcome Emmy from the blog, Love Woke Me Up This Morning. Emmy is a fiction writer and NaNoWriMo participant. Below, Emmy discusses her perspective on the role of a writer’s sanity, or lack thereof.
I sat at the table hunched over my laptop and sipped on my pumpkin spice latte, when suddenly; a face appeared at my shoulder.
“What are you working on?” he asked. It was one of the baristas at the local Starbucks where I was typing, who had now become a friend since I was there so often.
“I’m doing something called National Novel Writing Month,” I explained. “In the month of November you have to write a 50,000 word novel by the 30th.”
He looked at me like I had three heads.
“I’m crazy,” I told him, as if I was explaining that I had some form of strange disease that he didn’t understand.
“Yeah, you are,” he said, then went back to work.
Thus the life of a writer- particularly a writer during National Novel Writing Month. Although, if you are an avid writer like I am… 50,000 words is probably one of the least insane things you do.
For example: when I’m brainstorming and envisioning a scene in my head I tend to walk in circles around the house muttering to myself so I can get a better picture.
Or I have full out conversations with my characters in my mind so I can understand them better, and therefore write about them more accurately. I talk with my family and friends about my story and characters as though they are real people with real things happening to them – which is really crazy since most of my stories involve fairies, elves, and unicorns.
Yes… I think it’s fair to say that writers are a little bit crazy. Who in their right mind would dive into an imaginary world, only to have to tear it to shreds and let other people criticize it over and over again? What sane person would stay up all hours of the night so they could get a single sentence just right? We are basically like the schizophrenics only without the medications and doctors to help us sort the people in our heads.
Something I have learned though is that… reality is highly overrated. In fact, without writing, many of us would not be able to handle reality.
Writing makes sense of reality.
Writing helps us to not go crazy.
The characters we create reflect what we know of the world, or point us in the direction of what we wish the world was really like.
The stories we write are a part of our hearts and share who we really are.
So go – be insane. Write your story and let the baristas at the coffee shop give you strange looks. Talk to your characters all you want.
Because as writers – that is our reality.
Mother Theresa once said: “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” Emmy is a city girl living in a small town trying to live and learn those words. Because despite what the title of her blog might lead you to think – more often than not she doesn’t remember that it is Love that wakes her up every morning. So grab a cup of coffee (or your preferred beverage of choice) and come along for the journey. She blogs at: www.lovewokemeupthismorning.com. You can also find Emmy on Twitter and Facebook.