Over the years, I’ve worked with students from the age of 6 all the way up to 92. The number one complaint I hear from adult students, and sometimes teens, is that they have a burning desire to write, but simply can’t find the time to site down and complete a book or even a short story. The number one thing I share with them is that I managed to write several novels while going to school part-time, writing as a professional journalist part-time, promoting authors and raising two small children. On top of that, I did a ton of volunteer work back then. I’ve since learned to say no and only take on the volunteer work that I am well-qualified for and feel I can help others through, but back then I didn’t know how to say no.
How Did I Do It?
You’re probably wondering how I was able to complete several novels during those years. It wasn’t a fast process and it wasn’t an easy process, but if you have the desire to write and to put your work out there for others to see, I promise that you can do it, too.
You don’t have to sit down and complete a novel in one week. Although I admire those who participate in NaNoMoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), it isn’t a realistic endeavor for some people. Instead, find those little moments during the day that are wasted or where you can multi-task.
- Waiting in a drive-through
- At the doctor’s office
- While the kids nap
- While food cooks
- When riding in the car
- Five minutes in the bathroom (sometimes, this is your only escape from small children, but it won’t last long, so write fast.)
Keep notepads and pens stashed in these locations. You also will want to carry a few index cards and a pen on your person at all times to take advantage of these stolen moments. You never know when you might have a spare three minutes to write that next paragraph.
Remember It Isn’t a Race
The other thing that helps me to this day, when I often have hectic article deadlines and a promotional schedule for my clients, is to remember that I am not running a race with my writing but am telling a story that is dear to my heart. While I don’t have time to write four books a year, I do have time to write one really good book.
You do not have to write as fast as anyone else. You do not have to write the same genre, the same style, the same length of book. Write your story. Don’t worry about what other authors are doing. If you feel even the slightest twinge of jealousy, and we all do because it is human nature, push it away. Wish them well, congratulate them effusively, lift a prayer of thanks for them and move on with your own work. Jealousy is a waste of time and energy. You are special. There is no one on this earth like you or who has had your exact same experiences. Therefore, there is no one else who can tell your story the way you can. Focus on that and what you personally have to offer your readers.
What is your distraction? For some people it is television. I am blessed that I have always worked best with noise in the background. In some strange way, it settles my mind, which races in overdrive at all times, and allows me to focus better on my work. However, I have found that the majority of the population prefers quiet when working. Figure out which works best for you and embrace it. You may need to make a quiet spot in your home to escape to and write. Be creative with this. As I mentioned earlier, if you have small children, this may be five or ten minutes in the bathroom. Simply leave the kids in capable hands (husband, grandparent) and excuse yourself for a few minutes, until that little hand pokes under the door or the knock comes telling you that your time is up.
For other people, cell phones are a huge distraction. If you get so many calls that you spend an hour a day on the telephone, then you need to limit those. Why not chat for 30 minutes and spend the other 30 writing? Having trouble getting off the phone with a chatty Cathy? Come up with an excuse beforehand and hang up. Better yet, there are apps that will schedule a call so you can truthfully tell them you are getting another call and have to go.
The biggest component as to whether you will ever finish your story or not is whether you are determined to do so. If you really want to write, you’ll use these tips and others you pick up along the way and you will find the time. When you do, come back here and let us know about your successes.
So, here at Word Museum, we no longer take in books for review. It was just too much at a point as far as keeping up with submissions, finding people willing to review the books and so on. However, we are always open to a guest blogging about a great book (not your own or your best friend’s, please, but one you just truly enjoyed reading and perhaps don’t even know the author). Such is the case with the Karen Kingsbury books.
Recommended by Cheer Moms Everywhere
I had never heard of Karen Kingsbury, but some of the moms at my daughter’s cheerleading mentioned that they loved her Redemption series and that these books were set in Bloomington, Indiana. Bloomington… Home to Indiana University, rolling hills and about an hour and a half from where I live in southern Indiana. Needless to say, I was intrigued. I ordered Redemption, the first book in the series, on my Kindle reader and put off starting it.
Why I Sometimes Hate to Read Fiction
When you are a writer, it is hard to read books. On top of that, I am also an editor by profession. I see every error, every passive bit of writing and every plot point gone wrong. Yes, I likely make just as many mistakes in my books, because no one is perfect, but there are a lot of books published that I wish I’d never set eyes on. I put off reading the Kingsbury series, because I knew my cheer mom friends were going to ask what I thought and I hate to lie.
Over Thanksgiving, we headed to Alabama to visit some close friends. I went ahead and started the book. I couldn’t put it down! I know a lot of reviewers say that about books. However, when I can’t put a book down, it must be particularly compelling because of the reasons I mentioned above.
I read it from first page to last and was left wishing it hadn’t ended. Which, of course it hadn’t, because there is a second through fifth book in the series.
A Few Plot Details Without Spoilers
The story is about some pretty hefty topics and the books are Christian. The characters deal with everything from choosing to have an extramarital affair to dealing with the cheating spouse and whether that person should be forgiven to murder to lust to… on and on it goes. The plot was interwoven where you could see the spin-offs that would come from the other characters, mainly brothers and sisters from the same family, the Baxters. By book five, I was so in love with the characters that I actually sobbed as I read the end of the book. I don’t mean that a few tears trailed down my face, which is unusual these days anyway. I’m a pretty tough cookie anymore. I mean I curled up in a ball and breathed out those gut-wrenching, soul-wracking, loud sobs that I rarely, RARELY let out of my inmost being.
My only complaint is that one plot point was pretty predictable. You knew it was coming. You almost wanted this thing to happen. However, a little more suspense might have been nice. Still, all in all, I loved the book and the series so much that it didn’t matter. I wanted this horrible thing to happen anyway. Does that make me a bad person? Nah. They are fictional characters after all.
If you’re looking for a good, clean read, then Redemption by Kingsbury is an excellent choice.
Word Museum is seeking guest bloggers to post about topics like book reviews (you must be a neutral party and the review must be unique to our site), articles about reading, writing, and other topics of interest to readers and writers. If you’re interested in a guest blogging exchange, we would be open to that as well.
A few guidelines:
- Content must be PG as we have teen readers as well as adults who visit the site.
- Blog post should be between 400-800 words.
- We will credit you for the article and link to your site.
- You cannot be a competitor.
- We reserve the right to deny any blog posts we feel are inappropriate for our site for whatever reason.
I’d love to chat with you more about the possibilities available to share content across our sites. E-mail me to talk.