by Stephanie Newton
Along with that decision came a lot of other decisions, too. I am a homeschooling mom, a pastor’s wife, a soccer mom, a chauffeur to lessons galore…how did I fit writing into that kind of schedule?
Eight years later, I wish that I could tell you that I had it all figured out, that my family is always respectful of my writing time and I am always respectful of family time. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way.
This subject is on my mind because I have a deadline next week. And I’ll be honest with you--it’s been hard finishing a book this summer: late nights with teenagers who don’t have to get up early, June weddings, birthdays, beach time and family outings. I thought I’d planned enough time to finish the book and still have time to do some of the things I wanted to do. I didn’t plan on being sick. Twice.
Never fear. While my questionable time management spells a really rotten deadline countdown for me, I have learned some lessons along the way that might help you avoid similar pitfalls:
- Allow more time to write your book than you think you’ll need
- Plan ahead (Story board, synopsis, character charting, collage--whatever it is that gets the story set in your mind)
- Plan days off and sick days into your writing schedule
- Write every work day, no procrastination (i.e. Burn Notice marathons)
- Meet word count goals consistently
- Make your family aware of your writing schedule (institute a “do not disturb the writer” policy)
- Have an accountability partner to help you meet your goals
- Don’t allow writer’s block to slow you down--keep writing, even free writing can open your mind to other options
Finally, the best piece of advice: don’t doubt yourself. You will get there. Just like every journey begins with one step. Every book is written one word at a time.
Stephanie Newton lives in Northwest Florida with her husband, two kids, and two poodles. She is addicted to Twizzlers, Burn Notice, good coffee, and cupcakes. Her latest book in the Emerald Coast 911 series, Flashpoint, hits shelves at a retail store near you on July 13.