Shortly after my second son was born, I gave up my corporate job to be a full-time mom. Over the years, I took up writing and learned to squeeze in words between naps and preschool.
Then, finally “the baby” started kindergarten. I won’t deny it, I was thrilled. I’d have all day to write without interruption. (I imagine most of you understand how this really goes, but one can dream, right?) Well, “the baby” has just finished fifth grade and inevitably (yet again) school has come to a close and the teachers have returned my children to me for the summer. But now writing is a job with deadlines so I’ve learned a few tricks to once again squeeze words in while the kids are underfoot.
1) Be portable. Do you have a laptop? I take mine out to the pool and supervise the kids while I write. (The kids have strict instructions not to drip on my laptop!) This is easier now that my youngest is 11 and everyone can swim. However, I don’t feel guilty working while the kids are playing. My outside office isn’t too bad, is it?
2) Get up early. I love my sleep, so this is a real sacrifice. But if you can do it, roll out of bed a little earlier than usual and get some words in before the kids get up.
3) Pomodoro Time. Okay, this is a recent discovery that will work year round. Well, at least it has worked for me. If you have a Mac or a smartphone, there are several apps that you can download. I use Pomodoro Time on my Mac. You work in 25-minute increments and then break for 5 minutes.
There’s something less intimidating about saying, “I’ll work for 25 minutes,” instead of thinking you have to write all day or for several hours. If my word count is any indicator, this is a great tool. I’ve written more in 5 or 6 twenty-five minute increments than I have while sitting down all day to write. Give it a try! (Even when I’ve been totally unproductive, I can usually squeeze out 1000 words in 2 twenty-five minute increments.)
4) Cut Yourself Some Slack. Or call it doing research (if it makes you feel better). I live near Buffalo, NY. We’ve had a rough winter. However, our summers are beautiful. If I spend more time away from the computer in the summer, that’s okay. I can even squeeze in some research. One summer, I took a road trip to an Amish community for my Amish suspense books. This summer, I’d love to go to one of those painting party places where you paint and drink wine. Funny thing, in my latest release from Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense, High-Risk Homecoming, the heroine turns her struggling shop into a “painting party” place.
As a writer, no experience is wasted. Enjoy your summer. How do you plan to spend your summer? I'm offering a giveaway of my latest book for one lucky commenter!
Alison's latest novel, High-Risk Homecoming, is out now:
After being attacked in her own store, Ellie Winters no longer considers her hometown a safe haven. Nor can she believe the lawman helping her recover is Johnny Rock, her former childhood friend—and the boy who once threw her family into turmoil.
Though she's secretly happy to see Johnny again, he's only back to stop a drug ring. Too bad the trail leads straight to Ellie's shop. Despite their rocky history, Johnny knows the pretty business owner can't possibly be guilty. Now, with Johnny as the only thing standing between Ellie and a killer, he will do anything to keep her safe…and prove he's worthy of Ellie trusting him with her heart.
Alison Stone lives in Western New York with my husband of twenty years and our four children where the summers are absolutely gorgeous and the winters are perfect for curling up with a good book--or writing one. You can find out more information about her on her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.