Hey all! Ninette Swann is a friend of mine who's been in the writing industry for years. Please welcome her as she releases her very first romantic suspense novel! Hit and Stay will be available today at Resplendence.
How to Write a Book When You’re “Too Busy”
I’m a stay-at-home / work-at-home mom and one of the largest battles we face is that we don’t do anything. Our lives consist of trash TV, raising a few super-attached, maladjusted brats, and maybe cooking dinner. If it doesn’t interfere with our bon-bon eating, of course.
You can imagine how upset I was to find that writers face the same nonsense. If you write for a living, apparently you don’t do anything.
Writing is hard. It takes dedication, belief in yourself, some kind of skill with the English language, and most of all, time. It takes a lot of time.
So, when people say they’d love to write a book, but they’re too busy, I totally get it. If you don’t make time for it, and make time for it consistently, it will never get done. Here are a few ways I’ve found to do it.
1) Put it on your to-do list (mental or otherwise)
I have a real to-do list. On it I place sixteen things I’d like to do each day. It’s a rolling list, so the things that don’t get done stay there until they are done. If “write chapter six” has been on my to-do list for three days, I know it’s time to write that thing or I’ll lose interest in my own project.
One of the biggest problems with writing for the “working” person (or the SAHM, in my case) is that it sounds like fun. It’s a reward. A gift. I can write if I clean all my bathrooms. I can write when I finally finish all my caseloads at work. I can write if. I can write when.
Write now. Make it part of your work, part of your day. You’re not goofing off, you’re working hard on something that will reward you.
2) Get used to interruptions.
I write in six-word intervals. With three-year-old twins, not a sentence goes by before I’m being begged for a snack, or a tissue, or to play a game.
When you write sentence by sentence, with minutes or hours in between, it’s not going to be your best stuff. You’ll have to go back and edit. You’ll find words that don’t belong and thoughts that are jumbled. But if you don’t plod on anyway, if you wait for the perfect six-hour window to write, you never will. Those six hours will never come. You’ve got to seize the moment. Every moment.
3) Forsake immediate goals for overall achievements
So many writers I know set word goals for themselves. I need to write 1,000 words this hour. I need to write 15,000 this week. But they’re only setting themselves up for disappointment. Remember, quality over quantity. If you don’t bust out a 1,500-word scene in the two-hour nap period (or your one-hour lunch break) don’t sweat it. The page will be there waiting for you. It’s more important to get down what you can when you can. And come back to it. You must always come back to it. If you consistently let yourself down by writing slower than you think you should, you’ll be discouraged and lose faith in the work.
Research is important. Tone is important. Sentences and word choice are important. These things take time. If you write 200 words one day, that’s great. That’s what you should be looking at. Those paragraphs get you closer to your overall goal, which is writing a completed work. Don’t lose the forest for the trees.
4) Get up in the morning.
You’ll write better if you do. I always tell myself, I’ll write a chapter during nap, or I’ll write that scene after the girls are in bed for the night, but the truth is, by nap and bed time, I’m burned out. I’m spent. I can sometimes force myself to write, sure. But it’s not fun. And it’s not as good as it would be were I fresh.
You don’t have to write in the morning. If you’re not a morning person and you actually do better at night, use the extra time to get other stuff done so that it’s not over your head when you finally sit down at the computer. Take a shower, do the dishes, go for a walk, whatever.
Just get up early enough to start your day with some you time. It will center and ground you.
5) Leave your house.
For the particular among us, sometimes there are just too many things to be done around the home to allow for proper concentration. You can’t write because you are too busy tidying or cleaning, or Teen Mom is on your television set. Wouldn’t your time be better spent if you called your mom real quick?
That’s when it’s time to pack up and go out. Go to a coffee shop where you don’t know anyone. Go to a friend’s house who is also writing. You can feed off each other.
The important thing is to get yourself alone with your computer so that you can’t write for a few moments and then check your email, write for a few moments and then IM your sister. You can’t get up to dust that ceiling fan that you always forget about. You have nothing to do but write. There is nothing but you, the coffee and the blank page.
Long story short, nobody is too busy to write. If you want to write, you can find a way. So stop making excuses and get started. You’ll find the words flowing more quickly than you would have imagined possible.
**Ninette Swann is a romantic suspense writer whose debut novel, Hit and Stay, is out now by Resplendence Publishing. She writes in between her gigs as a freelance journalist, editor and mommy blogger—and while wrangling her two adorably sweet angels…or insufferable hellions, depending on the day. You can visit her at http://ninetteswann.com
Thanks for joining me today, Ninette!