This is probably one of the most common questions I am asked, especially by other moms. I was asked again recently so I thought I’d share the advice I gave her.
First, understand that I have two kids, now both in school, which has been a tremendous blessing for me to write. However, before I made enough income off of ebooks, I was a licensed home daycare provider. During those six and a half years, I still found time to write. It was more effort to find the time, but I made better use of that time, because it was a rare commodity.
Now, here’s the advice I want to share about finishing your writing projects:
First, congrats on starting.
Second, toss out the Thesaurus until the first draft is done.
Third, make the time in the day, especially during nap time. I used to do home daycare and still made the time to write during nap time. You get good at coordinating all ages to lie down at the same time when it’s your only break! Usually, I could get forty-five minutes, but often I was lucky with a half hour, especially if I had infants. I also write after my kids are in bed.
QUIET is very important. Let your mind get bored. That’s when magic happens!
Fourth, sometimes you just have to force the words out. They don’t always want to come, especially with active kids running around, but you will find a way. (TV and movies are great for sitting the kids down to be quiet–the busy mom’s writing secret–but it’s only short-term.) Dads need to pull their weight too. When he’s home, you lock yourself in a room by yourself and tell them no interruptions for one hour or two, or even a half hour. Whether you get out fifty words or five thousand, you get something down.
Getting the words out is the real trick. Turn off the editor–they’ll get their chance after the first draft is done. Switch on the muse and just write. Sometimes a free-writing session is great for getting started. Stare out your window and describe a scene, a leaf, a snowflake, the rain, whatever. Make yourself write something, even if it’s not related to your work at first.
With practice, you’ll have an easier time switching on the muse. Remember, you need to finish. The longer you leave a project unfinished, even just a first draft, the harder it is to continue. A sense of accomplishment about finishing is the key to continuing as a writer, just as with any task at whatever job you perform.