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Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Speak Out!: Find and Protect Your Writing Time, Guest Post by Lisa Tiffin

When I started writing professionally, my boys were four-year-old twin dynamos. No longer taking regular naps, they needed plenty of supervision and mom time. I loved every minute of my giggly, wiggly pre-school boys, but I was committed to developing my writing skills and worked hard to find time to write.

To get those articles, essays and fiction pieces completed, I formed a late-night writing habit. Once everyone – husband included – was safely tucked in for the night, I would start up my computer, check my to-do list and start tapping away. Even an hour or two at night helped me stay on track though I often stayed up past midnight with more than my share of 2 a.m. sessions. My husband helped out by setting out breakfast before he left for work, buying me a few extra minutes of sleep each morning.

As the boys grew and we decided to homeschool them (no school-hours writing sessions for me!), I had to continually refine and protect my writing time. When I decided to write my first novel, I hired neighborhood teens a couple days a week. The girls would come and entertain the boys with Play-Doh, crafts, outside time or games while I sat nearby in my office, churning out page after page.

Now that my twins are busy teens, my laptop is indispensible! It comes with me as I truck the guys to tennis lessons, art classes and bowling practice. I either find a nearby coffee shop or a quiet table at practice to work on drafts, revisions and even Web copy. And on days without lessons or activities, the boys know I’ll be in my upstairs office for the afternoon.

With all my persistence in protecting my writing time and treating it like a professional, they’ve come to respect my work as well. They know if the door is closed they’ll have to come back later, or if my fingers are flying over the keyboard they’ll have to wait for me to finish out my thoughts before interrupting. Sometimes I reinforce this notion of mom as a professional by sharing news of a particularly good paycheck or feather-in-my-cap article placement, but for the most part my family respects my writing time and seems proud of my accomplishments.

So when people ask me how I have time to homeschool my children, freelance for the newspaper, publish essays and articles, provide business copy and still have time to write fiction, I answer honestly. I sit in the chair and write. I find time in between family activities. I protect my time just like any professional would. And if I can do it raising homeschooled twins, you can, too!

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Lisa Tiffin is a freelance writer and children’s author. In addition to starting a new blog aimed at helping homeschool parents teach writing, she recently published her first middle grade book, Theft of the Star Tracker. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband and twin sons. Learn more at

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



  1. Lisa:
    This is great advice, and it is so true. If you are dedicated and have goals, then you will find the time. Thanks for reminding us (and providing some tips) for how to do this with a busy family life, too!

  2. Thanks, Margo. One of my writing friends tapped out most of a novel on her iPhone while having a couple kids in school, homeschooling one, taking care of a new baby and working part time. Now that's dedication!

    We moms may not get there as fast as the next person, but we will get there!


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