Hello! Lisa Mondello here to talk about a few things.
First off, by the time you read this post, the manuscript that I've worked round the clock and ignored housework for will be sitting on my editors desk. This manuscript was a long time coming and I'm thrilled (doing a happy Snoopy dance really) that it is done.
You see, this past year was pretty trying for me. With the deaths of 3 prominent women in my life (my stepmother and grandmother within 36 hours of each other, and then 6 weeks later, the death of my mother-in-law) it was hard to get my feet back under me to write. Add the fact that the oldest of my 4 children has just left home for college and...well, let's just say I've been a little weepy.
But that's life and deadlines keep coming whether life is happening or not. I'm no stranger to deadlines. By day I'm a freelance writer and work on tight deadlines all the time. Most of the time, I can balance my freelance and fiction writing enough so I don't drive everyone in the house crazy. Sometimes it's not so easy.
For a writer, finding time to balance life issues, family and writing can be difficult. I'm fortunate enough that my day job doesn't require me to travel great distances each day. The furthest I commute is from the coffee pot to the desk. I think I can do that in ten paces. (I just checked and it's 14. I have short legs!) And while I don't have a commute to dig a hole in my writing time, I do have 4 teenagers that need me to drive them all over the place whether it's to work or various school activities. It's not uncommon for me to be waiting in my minivan (need that with 4 kids and a dog) for a half hour waiting for a child.
During my stressful year, I'd forgotten the strategies I'd used to maximize my writing time when the kids were much younger and needed my watchful eye all the time. Recently I had a discussion with my husband about how I used to get so much done then and why it was so difficult now.
And then it hit me. These past few years I've gotten spoiled by having long stretches of time to write while the kids were in school. That works fabulous for my freelance writing, but it's not always easy for my fiction writing that requires more development and more creativity.
But years ago, I knew I only had a finite amount of time to write and would write in short spurts. 1 hour, 30 minutes and even as little as 15 minutes. I'd plot my stories while I was driving to the grocery story or folding laundry. I'd keep index cards in my purse and jot down character traits and little snippets of dialogue to remember so that when I was at the computer I could write.
And then my husband gave me something wonderful. He bought me a Dana. The Dana is a grown-up version of the popular Alphasmart. I used the Dana several years ago but when I started working at home full time, it began to collect dust. I recently pulled it out and dusted it off.
Now I bring my Dana with me everywhere. When I find idle time in the car, I turn it on and start typing. A 20 minute wait for my daughter to get out of work can produce 2 rough pages. By the time I get home, upload those pages and quickly edit them they can turn into 4 or 5 pages. Not bad for just sitting in the parking lot waiting. I'm back to using my idle time to exercise my creative muscle and use my Dana to fill in times when I can't be at the computer. It feels really good to be writing again.
What is it that you do to maximize your writing time? I'm all ears about new ways to time crunch.
Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello