Gloria Steinem had the foresight to say, “I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.”
But, I say, “Marriage and a career – that’s nothing, try adding kids into the equation.”
And any mother, who works and writes, has to be pretty amazing.
Pru, Piper, and Phoebe can’t even compete with most modern-day Moms.
And, unfortunately, Dads are rarely divine. So what’s a writing woman to do, to find the time to devote to her craft?
Here is my number one hint:
1) Get a laptop computer.
I have written more words with my laptop in one year than I ever wrote with a desktop computer. It’s simple. I take it with me - everywhere: outside, on vacations, out to the front room so I can go “watch” t.v. with the family, while I write.
This one device has made ALL the difference for me. You can look at a few options that start out at about $499.00 here.
Critique Partners (also known as “CPs”) are, like Martha always says, a good thing.
You might think joining a group is just another commitment that will eventually take time away from your writing, but the truth is these CPs can help hold you accountable, without uttering a single word.
And, when you have a set time and place to meet, to go over your writing with others who are counting on your participation, it can help motivate you to keep that pen to the paper.
It’s easy to put things off when there is no “date” to keep. But standing someone up, takes guts. Most of us don’t want to let people down, and being a member of a group helps hold you "committed" to your writing plan.
Jackson Pearce did a really fun vlog about critiques. You can read about her here. And just click on the arrow to play it.
Wanna be a writer? Sure. It’s easy. What do I have to do? Nuthin much.
Yep, it’s insanely simple. All you hafta do is commit murder.
You’re insane - asking me to kill.
That’s right, all it takes is one simple act. If you want a career in writing, all ya hafta do is be willing ta commit murder.
Killing off characters? Is that what you’re talking about?
Nope, not at all, I’m not talking about killing off some weak character. This is gonna be much more difficult than that. Remember nuthin worth having is easy. This is gonna take guts. What I’m talking about, here, is setting priorities.
You said you wanna be a writer.
Yeah, of course, but….
No buts ‘bout it. If you wanna be a writer, it’s simple. Write.
It’s not that easy.
What’s holding you back? What’s keeping you away from your keyboard right now?
Sit down and make a list (and if you’re honest with yourself) you’ll most likely see a pattern take shape. It’s something everyone does: we all waste time. Writers just need to remember: even the minutes matter. ‘Cause those ticks on the clock, they turn into hours and hours can be frittered away into days, weeks, even years. And where does all this time go? It’s spent on frivolous entertainment that has nothing to do with writing.
Think ‘bout it. How many hours per month do you spend watching television?
We all need to break dangerous addictions. Wean yourself off the daily regimen.
Remember, there’s a reason it’s been labeled the “boob tube”, “dummy box” and “opiate of the masses”.
Even if you say it’s only the late night news you watch, that’s still a half hour every day. Think about all the pages you could put together and print in three hours.
I didn’t realize how much time I was wasting sitting on the couch, propped up in front of that screen until I quit that bad habit: “cold turkey”. After dinner, instead of going into our “media room”, which is what the kids call our front room, I’ve decided to spend more time with my new-found friend: my laptop. Okay, if we’re being totally honest, really I lie down on the bed to relax before I start tapping away at the keys sitting in front of me.
Sometimes I don’t get much from my muse but, believe me, I’m putting more words on the page than I would have written if I’d been sitting out in the front room watching the latest sitcoms, shows or serials and someday I might even get those pages published. At least there’s more chance of seeing my name on a byline or my words in print if I’m spending my evenings writing than if I’m watching shows someone else wrote.
Do you ever feel like one of those people in a movie who’s being drawn and quartered - I mean someone who’s being pulled in four directions at the same time?
In 1960, Mom was raising 9 kids and running her own beauty business but, looking back, the truly amazing thing is that we always wore clean clothes to school and came home to find a warm dinner on the table.
I can’t even begin to compete with her.
There’s only one possible explanation: Mom must have been using some sort of magic. I just don’t know why she never shared her secret or, more importantly, any of her spells.
I know I’m supposed to be the lucky one; today we’re all living the easy life, in a world of high technology where everything is right at our fingertips. But as I travel down this crowded information highway, using my cell phone, fax and mapquest, somehow I’m still lost. And I can’t even seem to figure out what I’m looking for.
It’s that elusive, simple, four-letter word that keeps avoiding me: time.
Maybe it’s because being a Mom is one occupation where none of the usual rules apply. What other job offers no training or has you on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no time-off or vacations? You aren’t even guaranteed an 8-hour sleep break. And there’s no financial incentive to compel you into this chaotic career choice. You can’t even expect a paycheck, commission or bonus at the end of the month. Yet educated people actually choose this occupation and, when they finally are initiated into the sisterhood, they happily celebrate the onslaught of morning sickness, nightly trips to the toilet and elastic waistbands, with a party – commonly known as a shower. And this is the only shower that you’ll share, with a bunch of other women. What could be worse?
Everyone gets to sit around and guess your ballooning weight, while you sit and smile.
Parenting is like playing in the stock market – it’s all about patience and long term investment.
With such a simple game and only one rule, it should be easy - right?
Then, if you try to add an additional goal, like writing to the mix – well, watch out. You’re in for a heap of a helping of the hurries.
Just this Saturday morning, I got up at six – on a Saturday – took the dogs for a walk (look how they’ve grown).
Then I went to my writer’s group (which I could have skipped but here's the commitment to the craft part), I'm planning to go berry picking, make some homemade jam and write. Well, somewhere something has to give – right – not necessarily so. I’m committed to my craft – or maybe I should simply be committed. Over the next week, I’ll give tips, hints and maybe a little crazy advice on how to “Just Do It”.
If you have any helpful hints, please post them in the comments section.
And, just remember, no parent is perfect so play this game like a little league game and, when reality pitches a problem across your home plate, swing your sense of humor - that way, you may not hit a homerun but at least you’ll never strike out.
(My critique group: Pam, Ila, Jen, Kerry, Kristin, and me)
October 1st is the first day entries will be accepted. It's coming quickly and I thought I'd warn you all, the ending date is the end of December - but those are busy months - with the holidays wedged in there. They have a middle grade writing contest, which accepts submissions in the summer but "YA" or young adult acceptances are almost here. So get ready now and submit early. You can read all the rules and information here b
There are a lot of strange things in the world but one of them shouldn't be the frogs. I grew up camping. In a family with nine kids, that's the way we spent our vacations. Of course looking back, now, I realize it might have been relaxing for Dad but Mom was working her tail-end off. Just think of packing for eleven people. And campsites weren't well-equipped back when I was growing up. We even had to haul in our own water.
But back to my point. We used to spend hours catching frogs. It was our own catch and release program - before I'd ever heard of such a thing. But I never found one freaky frog. According to National Geographic Freaky Frogs are the norm.
There is so much talk about kids not reading, reading less, and/or reading shorter books that I thought this article was really interesting, read it here. I found it out from Kelly Mortimer's newsletter, she's not my agent, but she seems to be an amazing woman. You can read about her here. I can't wait to see her handbags, check out her soon-to-be site here.
Writer's Digest has a story "Surviving the Spite" written by Melissa Hart, a journalism teacher at the University of Oregon. You can read it here.
I met Melissa at a SCBWI writer's conference in Portland. She is such a friendly person it's hard to imagine someone being so critical of her. But I guess being in the public eye has its drawbacks.
I haven't experienced such criticism from the public - maybe I should be glad I'm not a celebrity. It's normal to want people to like us; so, it's no surprise that it would be hard to take such open hostility. I just try to remember what my Mom taught me all those years ago, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me."
Lisa Schroeder of I Heart You - You Haunt Me taught me something today via Verla Kay's blueboards. I always thought glog was a mulled wine we drank at Christmas but today I found out it has another totally modern meaning. Thanks Lisa.
My husband has a golf tournament today here and I'm just tagging along. I dropped him off at 12:30 it was already 100 degrees. It's a beautiful place but a little too warm to stay outdoors too long. My husband says it hit 107 out on the course.
My brother, Doug, even came for a visit and stayed for a swim - after all it was 107.
This is a great post by Editorial Anonymous about appropriate word counts for manuscripts and how to find out what range your manuscript should fall in. It's not a quick answer but a lesson. And, I like this answer the best because it gives you a broader range to work in rather than a cut and dry number to try to stay under. You can read it here
Agent Rachelle Gardner is having a little contest on her blog.
Here's the prompt:
You are lying on the beach, soaking up the sun. A cooling breeze drifts across your body and you're deeply relaxed and content. But your peace is interrupted by a shadow that abruptly blocks the sun from your face. You open your eyes, squinting, looking up and trying to see who or what is blocking you. It's the one person you never expected to see here... ***
→ 300 words max. → Submit your entry in the comments to the contest post. → Deadline is next Wednesday, August 20th at 11:59pm ET. → WordServe clients can enter but are not eligible for the prize. (Sorry!) → Rachelle will choose one winner around Monday, August 25th. → Winner can choose an evaluation of ten pages of their work, or a $20 Amazon gift card.
I will be speaking at a Writer's Conference in November and wanted to share the link. I am so excited to be able to meet new people, talk with so many different people and have an opportunity to learn from all the people who will be attending.
You'll have to scroll to the bottom of the page to read my little blurb.
If you want to read more about it, please click here
Here in Oregon, Portland specifically, we try to be sustainable. One way we do that is by offering short term car use within the city. That means people don't have to own a car to get around. Read more about it here.
Thanks for visiting my site. "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." DC Talk