Friday Speak Out!: 4 Rules to Help You Write While Raising Kids

Friday, May 05, 2017
by S.E. White

How do I manage to write full time and also be a full time parent? The short answer: I don't. Over time and with some tears I have figured out rules to get my two day jobs to fit roughly into the same number of hours together. If you are on the same journey these rules may be helpful to you.

Rule number one: Write when you can and don't expect long stretches of time.

You have two different jobs and you will have to move from one to the other throughout the day. Although it's difficult you can learn how to dive into your story, leave it regularly and then jump right back in. No sticking your toes in to gauge the temperature, no easing into it with music or meditation. Just going from red light to green with no yellow in between.

Rule number two: Prioritize your Priorities.

Babies and toddlers don't do neat divisions of time or respect your schedule. Knowing what to focus on will smooth out what time you do have. Figure out what has to be done now, what should get done, what might get done and what's not important. Family and writing will be right up there at the top, so regular cleaning may fall down near the bottom of the list. No? That's just me? Ahem. Anyway, it may take some decisions like having that book done, or watching the current favorite show. It can't be both.

Rule number three: Even if you are a Pantser, suck it up and Outline.

While you are prioritizing and trying for the tenth time to get back into the story you just had to leave you will require assistance. The only way to get it is to be organized about this. Unless you have superhuman author powers and can hold an entire book in your head without putting any of it down on paper you must learn to outline and like it. Of course you should find and use the outline that works for you. However you get your ideas down, do it so that you can dip into them when needed. If you take off full speed from that red light you have to know where you're going, or risk heading for a wall.

Rule number four: Just keep writing.

Hang a shrine to Dory above your work area and just keep going. The words and the story are in you, you have the skill to get them down. It may not happen as fast as you would like but you will make it. What we writers lack in common sense we make up for in pure, visceral stubbornness.

Even though these two jobs don't co-exist well, there are ways to smooth the rough edges and fit them together. Are there any methods you use that you would like to share? Tips, hints or tricks? Leave them in the comments.

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Currently unpublished, S.E. White is a full time mom and an author who blogs about getting her queries rejected at She is a regular contributor to the site Books Rock My World, and a guest poster on other sites like Writers Helping Writers. One of her three tiny destroyers (ages 10, 4, and 14 months) is probably reaching for the power button on the computer as she types this. 

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!


Sioux said...

S.E.--That's where house-cleaning falls on MY list, too. ;)

I love the CU by your name (currently unpublished). If you keep swimming/going, that U will change to a P.

Thanks for posting, and good luck with your future writing endeavors. (Little destroyers DO grow up, and will soon be able to be semi-unsupervised for 17 seconds at a time. ;)

Angela Mackintosh said...

This is great advice for any writer with a busy schedule. Thanks for the post S.E.!

S.E. White Books said...

Sioux I'm so glad I'm not alone in the house cleaning! 17 seconds unsupervised sounds pretty nice. I can reach for the stars and think of 20 seconds! Lol

S.E. White Books said...

And thank you Angela! I hope it is helpful.

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