June 2, 2010

Feeding your passion

          One of the writers I follow on Twitter recently posed the question, "Do you set a time limit on your writing?" That gave me a very good laugh. Time limit? My issue is finding time! I continually strive for balance between my passion for writing and my role as a mom. The latter comes first, and I fit the former in the best I can.
          Of course, I am not alone. Very few writers actually write full time. Many have "day" jobs and other responsibilities. Whether they are moms or not, they struggle to find time to devote to their craft. In fact, most people find it challenging at best to pursue their interests. Life often gets in the way. Here are some strategies to help you feed your passion:


  • Carve out time. For me, my daughter is my priority. I am a stay-at-home mom and care for her full time. And this is a critical time in her development. I'm also a wife, and I can't neglect my relationship. At the same time, writing provides an essential creative outlet I need. So I strive to dedicate one hour a day to it. 
  • Set goals. Goals push you and give you something to work toward. But they have to be attainable or you will lose your motivation. You need to have realistic expectations. Sometimes you may be working against external deadlines (a publisher's, for example). Make sure whenever you have the ability to influence deadlines, you do so. It helps no one if you agree to something you have no hope of achieving.
  • Utilize tools. I take advantage of the latest software to schedule things like blog postings, Facebook updates and tweets. That way I don't have to be tied to my computer at specific times.
  • Capture your ideas. Ideas aren't just going to come to you during your dedicated time. As I wrote in this post, they can pop up at the most inopportune moments. You need to be able to capture ideas so you can incorporate them when the timing is right. I use the Voice Memo feature on my iPhone.
  • Celebrate progress and accept setbacks. You finished a chapter? Raise a glass. Received another rejection? Get busy and send out more query letters. You are going to have good days and bad days. Learn to make the most of both.
  • Be flexible. You will find that events beyond your control get in the way of your writing. You have to be prepared for that and not let it get you down. As I said, I strive for one hour a day. If I get more than that, I'm very happy. If I can't find one hour on a particular day, I try to carve out more time on another.


          These tips work whether you are interested in writing, photography, scrapbooking or something else. It's important for you to be able to feed your passion, whatever it may be. It helps make you a happier, healthier, more well-rounded person. I spent the first year of my daughter's life ignoring my own needs, and suffering as a result. Now that I have dedicated myself to writing, I have a revived sense of energy, excitement and achievement. Find your passion and feed it!

24 comments:

  1. This is a very good post full of great information. I'll agree with the struggles involved in finding time to write. Most of mine gets done either in the shower or while mowing the yard. Those voice recorders are wonderful.

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  2. "I spent the first year of my daughter's life ignoring my own needs, and suffering as a result."

    Elizabeth, you know I feel the same way! I can't shake the guilty feeling I have when I ask others for help and can't shake the feeling that they resent me for asking sometimes. I know it's just paranoia creeping in, but it's hard to convince myself it's okay to take a break every once in a while!

    Your post really is the solution to this post I wrote not too long ago:
    http://mungeeandme.blogspot.com/2010/05/muststayfocu.html

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  3. Great article! (Love the question that prompted it. ;) I have all the respect in the world for writing moms. Boggles me how you wonderful ladies find the time and energy to craft words on top of chasing little ones!

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  4. Great tips! :)

    This is so important, too, re goals: "But they have to be attainable or you will lose your motivation."

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  5. This is a great post and you sound like you do a much better job at balancing than I do. My kids go to bed at 7 and I write pretty much the rest of the night until I go to bed. Sometimes I write on the couch while hubby does his thing (tv, whatever). During the day, with the kids, I don't write but I have done editing/readthroughs while they nap or if they are actually playing nicely together (that last one is very rare, LOL). Great post!

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  6. I knew I wasn't alone! ;) Finding time to pursue our passion(s) is something I think everyone struggles with.

    @ Billy - I think some of the greatest thinking in the world probably takes place in the bathroom.

    @ Mungee's Ma - Being a little bit ahead of you, I'd love to tell you it gets better, but...

    @KM - yes, you were the inspiration for this blog post! Thanks! ;)

    @ Jennifer - I'm not so sure I do a great job, but thanks. Just like you, I sometimes do read throughs/editing during nap time. But that is also workout and shower time for me, so...

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  7. Those are some great tips. I've never played around w/ the scheduling tools on my blog; maybe I should. Capturing ideas is key. Mine always seem to come up in the car or at the gym. And now that I'm a SAHM, too, I find myself writing at odd times I never used to -- say 9 p.m., or 8 a.m. on a Sunday. It still counts, though, right? ;)

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  8. Scheduling blog posts is very helpful. And, if you're not already using it, I highly recommend Hootsuite. It's awesome (and free)! You can manage all your social networking sites in one place, and set up a feed from your blog to automatically announce whenever you have a new posting. It was recommended to me by several people, and I love it!

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  9. Really useful info! I just figured out how to schedule posts and I love it!

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  10. informative and very true! and thanks for mentioning the voice memo on iphone - getting one soon and i need to be better about keeping track of my ideas!

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  11. @ Cheryl - I seriously could not live w/out Hootsuite!

    @ Ericka - Funny story about the voice memo feature on the iPhone. My hubby and I both have them. We use the same computer to update/synch them. And each time, all my voice memos are automatically downloaded to my hubby's iTunes. So he'll be @ work, listening to music, and suddenly he'll hear my voice, spouting some random thought I had about my book that I want to try to explore. LOL

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  12. Great advice. I need to try to put it to good use. I'm all over the place lately. Happy to have met you via red dress club. I'm now a follower. :)

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  13. Be flexible - such good advice! I struggle with that in everything I do. If I get off schedule, even though the schedule only exists in my head, I get frustrated.

    Great tips!

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  14. Great advice. I'm still trying to figure it out. I really need to figure out something that works and stop waiting for my kids to grow up or waiting for days to get longer.

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  15. This is a great post, one I needed to read. I used to write and write and write, all the time, but somewhere along the way, I stopped. Then I told myself that I had lost my imagination along with writing. :(

    I'm glad to be finding it again.

    Stopping in from the red dress club.

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  16. @ Ashley - I heart the Red Dress Club! Connecting with great people! Thanks for following!

    @ Missy - I was a professional event planner in my past life (pre baby). The keys to success there were to be organized, and then be FLEXIBLE! No matter how well you planned, some things never worked out exactly as they were supposed to. I think flexibility serves us well in life, too.

    @ Jessica Anne - The kids will grow up before you know it, and these days will be gone. But it is important to feed your passion. Think baby steps. One hour a day can make a huge difference...

    @ Drama Mama - I felt like I had lost my creativity after spending the first year home with my daughter. And it was a terrible feeling. Getting back in to writing saved me! I needed it so badly! Glad you are reconnecting with your imagination. Keep at it!

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  17. Great suggestions! I find that I never have time to write until my boys go to bed, but often, my brain is too tired to come up with creative ideas. I'll have to work on setting more specific goals.

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  18. Great post! I find that time thing to be such a challenge and end up staying up much too late at night to work on my ms.

    ~that rebel, Olivia

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  19. This is great advice. I've been writing for years, and have actually completed two novels, one I wrote for myself (cathartic) the other I sent off to publishers. It did not get picked up, but I tried, and will write another in a few years. Blogging is a way to relieve my need to write. It makes me a happier person, and this way, I'm able to devote more of myself emotionally to my family. I love the idea of the voice memo, so thank you!

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  20. @ Lindsey & Olivia - I have been staying up WAY too late at night, and I don't know how creative I am at that point. But it's all I have right now, so I take it.

    @ Sandra - Blogging has been a great way for me to write regularly. And I have really enjoyed it.

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  21. Good ideas, all! I NEED to start carving out that hour per day. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that's gong to involve me sacrificing some sleep, which I loathe to do.

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  22. Sage advice and awesome ideas. Time is so elusive, I wish I could just grab more of it! I guess that's the challenge for every mother...

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