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Finding Time To Write and Draw: Tips For Busy Parents

I continue to be in awe of you parents out there who manage to carve out time for your writing and illustrating in the midst of taking care of children, household chores and (in some cases) a day job as well.

At a recent conference, several working parents told me how they were still struggling to find the time to write and illustrate.

Having no children myself, I can't offer practical advice, but here are some online resources which might help. If you can offer tips from your own experience or know of other other helpful resources, please do post them in the comments below. Thanks!

Some inspiration: Cynthia Lord wrote her first book, Rules, between 4-6 in the morning, every morning. "I have a son with autism and our days have always been full of his schedule and his needs." Her book ended up winning a Newbery Honor! More via Kate Messner's blog.



Finding Time To Write - Parents' Version - by Julie Duffy on StoryADay.org. Main tips: coordinate your work sessions with your kids' energy levels, work to an outline, stretch sessions when you can, sit where you can hear your kids, be willing to stop after 2-3 sessions.

Finding Time To Draw - On Step, Skip, Pause. Main tips: Work in the early morning before everyone else is up. Sketch while watching tv, while waiting, on the public transport, at friends' houses, in short snatched moments, at concerts and plays.

Writing and mother: how I (sort of) do both - Shannon Hale explains how she does it. Main tips: Enlist help, constantly reevaluate your balance, set priorities, take a day of rest, commit fully, separate writing from publishing.

Busy Moms Write - A blog by Marcia Fowler, who is a mom of two boys, a freelance writer, and a certified elementary school teacher and reading specialist. "Busy Moms Write is a blog to inspire other moms to finally sit down and write, even if it’s only for five minutes a day."

11 Ways Stay-At-Home Moms (and Other Busy Folks) Can Find Time To Write - by K.M. Weiland. Be stubborn and endure, find your focus, connect with family every day, remember there are others in your boat, take your work seriously, it's never too late to start, be realistic in your goals, give up on the idea of trying to please everyone, enjoy your blossing career guilt-free, being a mom and writer are not mutually exclusive.

How Busy Writers Can Stay Productive & Keep Their Sanity - by Jeff Goins. Give up the ideal workspace, don't sacrifice your family, use the "write, edit, write" method (longer pieces) and self-edit method (shorter pieces), know your limits, stay positive and grateful.

A Parent's Time To Write - by Liz Boltz Ranfeld. Prioritize, know what can and can't be done, get up early, ask your partner for help, create a specific writing space but be flexible, carve out time at work to write, let your kids know how important your writing is.

How To Find Time When You're A Busy Mom - on WikiHow. Be prepared, cut down on tv viewing, help your kids understand, adjust your sleep patterns and get up earlier, get the children involved, always carry a notebook, use multiple writing tools or resources, persevere.

Finding Time To Write - by Moira Allen. Treat time as an investment and figure out your "time budget," examine your priorities, eliminate time-wasters, teach others to respect your time.

Reader Comments (4)

Awesome and much-needed information. Thank you, Debbie!

August 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKristin Tracy-Egan

Eliminating time wasters is huge. By the time Im home from work and get the kids bathed and in bed, I'm exhausted and sometimes want nothing more than to doze in front of the t.v. Which I always regret. Turn off the t.v. Cut out a few hours of sleep (not that sleep is a time waster). Use the quiet time in the house to your advantage and write and draw something! Also, always have something to take notes on at your disposal, because ideas come like lightning and unfortunately go away just as quickly. Ill even send emails to myself from my phone just to get ideas down when Im out and about with the kids. I try to keep my work time separate from family time, but sometimes a quick email while at the park will save your from kicking yourself later for forgetting your amazing idea.

August 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike Petrik

Just what I needed to read today! Thank you for this (timely) post.

August 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Wert

I loved the round-up of all of these pieces about finding time for parents to write. I relish my daughter's nap time since that's a great time to write. (And once she goes to bed at night, I'm doing more writing too.)

September 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStacey

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