GUEST POST: How to Make Writing Happen (Even When Life is Busy!) by Mae Respicio
Hi guys! I have another awesome guest post for you! I'm especially excited about this one because this is SUCH a busy time of year. The holidays are a blast, but it can be tough to find time for writing! So today fellow Electric Eighteen, Mae Respicio, is here to share some tips on how to write when life is super busy!
Take it away, Mae!
My #amwriting plans often get derailed. Like the time I took vacation days off of work to stay home and write, but one kid got a fever (and I got sick immediately after). Or the weekend my husband was going to take the kiddos out so I could have some quiet revision time, but a room in our house flooded (ack!). As a busy working parent, I’ve never known a time in my writing life where I haven’t had to juggle a gazillion things at once. Luckily, after much trial and error, I’ve learned a few tricks to help me carve out the time needed to work on my books:
Write in Small Chunks
I wrote my debut middle grade novel literally on a few minutes at a time—5 minutes in the car before picking my kids up from school, 30 minutes during lunch at the office, and (maybe my best #WriterMomLife hack yet) on the phone while waiting in long Trader Joe’s lines. Sometimes you have to make due with what you have, but those minutes add up. I’ve learned that a little time here and there is enough to read a scene, perfect a few lines, or brainstorm. While it’s not long stretches of time, if you’re doing it consistently, there’s still productivity to be had and your head stays in your story. For some writers it’s not ideal but if it’s all you’ve got, work it.
Apply to Writing Residencies
My most productive creative time EVER has been because of writing residencies—opportunities that give writers inspiring space to work for a set amount of time.
The Internet Machine will point you to many writing residencies all over the country and even around the world (I had a friend who was awarded a residency to write in a castle in France! Where do I sign up?!). There’s a huge range of residency types but they all have the same glorious goal: escaping daily life to write without distraction.
DIY Writing Retreat
Maybe you love the idea of a residency but escaping from everyday life for a period of time isn’t realistic. Try it DIY style and check into a hotel for a weekend. If financially this isn’t an option, I’ve known friends to gather a group of writers to pitch in (AirBnBn, anyone?). Everyone writes all day then comes together at the end to enjoy time with literary company.
Find a Good Writing Buddy
Much like a Jogging Buddy, the Writing Buddy helps hold you accountable to your writing goals. My buddy and I are at similar points in our lives—we’re both working parents with young kids—so we’ve been able to provide support for each other in ways that fit our similarly busy routines. We have a writing date once a week and even just this tiny bit of time where we’re touching base about our work helps me to stay in my story—and in a creative mindset—amidst the busyness of everyday life. (Read more about my writing buddy experience here!)
Commit to Your Writing Cave
If I’m working under deadline, I try to establish boundaries by letting my family and friends know that I’m entering the writing cave, so that they know what to expect of my time. One thing I love about this is that my kids have learned to recognize creative time as being important and valued and needed. (Oftentimes as I’m writing, my 7-year-old will grab his notebook and write alongside me!)
Roll With It
Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, but try not to beat yourself up. My writing plans have been foiled countless times by the expected and unexpected. I used to feel bad when it happened, but now I try to go with the flow. If something gets in the way, it’s okay! Take a deep, mindful breath then try (write) again.
How do you make writing happen when life gets in the way?
About the Author:
Mae Respicio’s middle grade novel, THE HOUSE THAT LOU BUILT, debuts June 2018 with Random House Kids. She lives with her family in the suburban wild of Northern California, not far from the ocean and the redwoods.
About the Book:
Lou Bulosan-Nelson is going to build her dream. She shares a room with her
mom in her grandmother's house in San Francisco, and longs for a place of her own where she can escape her lovable but large extended Filipino family. Lou has a talent for woodshop class and creating projects, and plans to build a tiny house, 100 square feet, all her own, on land that she inherited from her dad, who died before she was born. Then Lou discovers it's not so easy to build one, not when her beautiful land may not be hers for much longer and her mom may want to move out of state. But she won't give up on her dream, and her friends and family won’t either. This heartwarming coming-of-age story explores culture and family, forgiveness and friendship, and what makes a house a true home.
Thank you so much, Mae! It was a pleasure having you and thanks for the awesome tips! I hope everyone is having a great day! Happy Writing!
Until Next Time, Folks!