By Lynn H. Blackburn
When people find out I’m a homeschooling mom and published author, there is one question I’ve learned to expect.
“How do you do it all?” My answer? I don’t!
Every writer, regardless of stage of life, has the same struggle. We have families and friends who’d love to see us—without a laptop. We have little people in our lives who want us to come to their ballgames, dance recitals, and school plays.
And we have passions other than writing. Whether it’s knitting, woodworking, reading, gardening, or fixing classic cars, it’s important that we don’t give up everything we love in order to write.
But how do we do it?
For me, the key is to determine what things I love most and do those things whole-heartedly. Everything else I try to minimize or eliminate from my schedule.
So what does that look like?
I look for anything I can outsource—I utilize housekeeping, online shopping, and grocery delivery services on a regular basis. For some this might mean hiring a yard service or choosing a few meals a week not to cook.
I look for ways to work when my family doesn’t need me—I write while my kids are at practices, music lessons and when they go on field trips. For some this might mean writing while waiting for teenagers to come home or while sitting in a waiting room. It might mean writing on lunch breaks or very early in the morning.
I look for ways to work more efficiently—I prefer peace and quiet when I’m working on my manuscript, but I’ve learned I can write blog posts and social media updates while we are watching football on Saturday afternoons. I also try to focus on one type of writing at a time—manuscript, blog, social media. Multi-tasking sounds good in theory, but it rarely works for me. For some this might mean scheduling writing retreats or clearing their schedule two nights a week for writing.
I look for ways to do things differently—I listen to podcasts, read blogs, and study books on productivity and the craft. I experiment with writing at different times of day, in different environments, and using different techniques. Sometimes they don’t work, but sometimes they turn out to be game changers. For some this might mean experimenting with writing late at night or trying morning pages or flash fiction to spark creativity.
I don’t look to others for validation—I’m not going to make everyone happy and I have to remind myself of this often! I can’t do this writing job well and volunteer every time I see a need. I say yes sometimes, but I usually say no to anything that will cut into my writing time. This is a real challenge for some of us (raises hand!), but it’s a vital skill all writers need to develop.
How about you? How do you do it? What tips do you have to share?
Lynn H. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, Covert Justice, won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery/Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Her second book, Hidden Legacy, releases June 2017 and the first book in her new Dive Team Investigations series, Beneath the Surface, releases March 2018 from Revell. You can connect with Lynn at www.LynnHBlackburn.com and as @LynnHBlackburn on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.