By Laura Vosika
What an appropriate title for someone who writes time travel! Of course, in this case I’m only talking about the more pedestrian meaning of finding time. Many authors, including published authors, are holding other jobs to make ends meet. And thus one of the most-asked questions, from those who also wish to write: How do you find time?
With not only a job teaching music lessons 25 hours a week, but nine children, five of whom still live at home, and a large dog who likes long walks, it’s definitely the top question I’m asked. My answers are four:
Priorities. Pieces of Time. Persistence. Passion.
To me, the biggest factor is Priorities, which means I don’t find the time, but make the time, by choosing how I will use the hours in the day. This means, by definition, other things don’t get done. I would like to play my harp more often but these days that time usually goes to writing. I would love to be outside gardening. I might take that up when I have the next book done—but probably I’ll start another one right away. When it comes to the house, things get done eventually—but I prioritize my writing.
In short, I have the time to write because I have decided I’m going to write.
The next biggest factor is Pieces of Time. Priorities take care of the big chunks of time: I rarely watch television or movies. I don’t play online games. But I also use the small pieces of time. If I have three minutes while my water is heating in the microwave for coffee, I use it to throw a load of towels in the washer, answer an e-mail, or wash a sink full of plates and silverware. If a student doesn’t come for a lesson, I spend the time writing. My kids like to run into the store to grab things off our list (and they’re well known and loved at our small local store!) while I stay in the car with my laptop and write another page or edit.
I was going with a theme of Ps, but Persistence might be better called hard work and long days. In addition to using the time I have, I typically work long days. I’m often (not always, but often) out of bed well before six and up until past midnight. That work isn’t all writing. It’s teaching lessons, taking care of the house, going to kids’ events, running errands, and more. But when people ask how I get things done, this is how. I get up early and stay up late to get time for the writing.
And that brings us to the last on my list, but perhaps what makes the other three work: Passion.
None of this would work if I didn’t love what I do. But I love teaching and playing music. I enjoy kids—both my own and my students—and am energized by my time with them. And of course—I love writing. I love the interaction between Shawn and Niall as they move from mutual antagonism to calling each other brother. I love watching people change, grow, and learn. I love the research into medieval Scottish history and the amazing stories I’ve found, such as that of the laundress giving birth on a battlefield under the eyes of an enemy army. I love bringing these stories—actual history—to life in the pages of a book where readers can experience them, hopefully as those involved in the event did, and feel what it must have been.
I might add a fifth P to my list: Patience. So far, I’ve taken about two years to write each of my novels, while some authors are putting out one to six books each year. I try to keep my life in balance. I want to take my dog on regular long walks—for her sake and for my own. I want to play instruments and read poetry at open mics. I want to attend my children’s orchestra concerts and wrestling matches. Therefore, I accept that writing, for me, is a longer term game than for some other authors. So, I look at it like the old adage about eating an elephant: one bite at a time. My five book series, the accompanying Food and Feast in the World of the Blue Bells Chronicles: a gastronomic historic poetic musical romp in thyme, and my music record book are the work of twelve years. But they happened because I started with a small step and kept going, step by patient step.
Laura Vosika is the author of the Blue Bells Chronicles, the beloved tale of time travel, mysteries and miracles, romance and redemption. In addition to the Chronicles, she has written Food and Feast: a gastronomic historic poetic musical romp in thyme, and Go Home and Practice, a music assignment book. She has co-authored 221 BC with Dr. Kendall Price and is working on several non-fiction books, including Theology of Music, with Dr. Chris R. Powell. Her writing has been featured on TV, radio, and in print, and she currently hosts the radio program Books and Brews with Laura Vosika in the Twin Cities. Her social media links are www.bluebellschronicles.com http://bluebellstrilogy.blogspot.com http://www.bluebellstrilogy.com/