6 Tips for Busy Mom Writers
Your middle child needs her leotard washed, you forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer for dinner, your tween wants you to know why she deserves to attend the school dance, and your youngest needs help with homework. Meanwhile, your laptop is wondering when you’ll ever stroke its keys again. ‘Cause you know, your book won’t write itself.
Girl, I know how overwhelming it is to write and self-publish a book as a wife and mom (among other things). I’ve published two books and trust me, each experience had its share of challenges. However, I learned some strategies that helped make the writing process less overwhelming. Let’s dive in so you can write that book already.
Prioritize your responsibilities.
You are always going to have something going on in life--expected and unexpected. That’s why you’ve gotta be able to prioritize your responsibilities. The best way to do this is by brain dumping everything you can think of that needs to be done. Simply take out a notebook, journal, or even open up a Google doc. Jot down everything that needs attention this week. Include your writing goals, household tasks, extracurricular activities, work events, faith-based activities, etc.
I’m sure every item on your list seems important; however, you’ve gotta pick the most critical ones to focus on this week. If you’re like me, you may have even snuck some items on your list that would be great to accomplish but don’t have to be done this week. Take a look at your list and circle the items that absolutely need to be accomplished. Once you’ve chosen them, open up your planner and map out what you can realistically do. Don’t try to be a superhero and cram everything on your calendar this week. Remember, focusing on doing less better is the key to finishing your book.
Consider meal planning.
If you’ve got school-aged children (especially those involved in extracurriculars), you know that cooking dinner can be such a chore (and time-consuming). Sure, takeout may work every once in a while, but there’s nothing like a good home cooked meal. If you’re looking for a way to create more writing time (and spend less cash), it may be helpful to plan out your meals. Making a few casseroles or crockpot recipes can free up more time in your schedule to write your book. If you’re not sure what you can make in large quantity or in your crockpot, look on Pinterest for ideas. Just promise me you won’t get sucked into the rabbit hole. You’ve got a book to write, remember?
Assign age-appropriate chores.
If your kiddos are old enough to do chores, now’s the time to introduce this concept (if you haven’t already). For example, your four-year-old can help put socks and underwear in her drawer. Your fifth grader can take out the recycling, and your high schooler can certainly throw a load in the dishwasher or wash dishes by hand. You have a book to write and you need time to do it. Giving your kiddos age-appropriate tasks to do around the house gives you more time to write while teaching them to take pride in their home. With a little training and guidance, your kiddos will show you they have impeccable cleaning skills. So, when dinner’s done, why don’t you sneak off to do a half-hour writing session while the kiddos take care of the kitchen?
Quality over quantity matters.
Mom guilt is never an easy feeling to dismiss. (Am I right?) When we sit down to write sometimes, we wonder if we should instead be playing with our kiddos or teaching them some important life lesson. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to nurture and love our children, we have to understand that there is nothing wrong with writing that book either.
The funny thing is, we don’t have to spend every waking hour with our children for them to know how loved they are. Yet, we think we do. It’s okay to designate time to write your book and still have a healthy relationship with your child. In fact, showing your children that you make time for your interests models how important it is to continue pursuing your dreams. Who knows? Your writing journey may inspire your kiddos to write a book (or two) of their own.
Be a teacher.
Every mom knows that once you have children, it’s difficult to do anything alone--including going to the restroom. I can’t lie. Some days I want to scream because all I need is a half-hour of quiet, alone time to keep my mental health in check. However, if you have a deadline to finish this book, and writing when the kiddos go to bed or before they get up isn’t enough, you’ve got to get creative. If your kids are old enough, why not get them involved in the writing process or marketing for your book?
If your kiddo is interested in design and computers, teach her how to do a simple book promo for you. Show her some examples of what you’re looking for and give her a tutorial of Snappa, Canva, or InDesign if she can handle it. Or, if she’s been learning how to edit videos at school, why not give her a shot at editing one of your book promos? (Just be sure to make a copy of the original in case things go awry.) You may be surprised to see all those late night YouTube videos your kid watched paid off. You get writing time and your kiddo gets some real-world experience by contributing to your book needs.
Keep your head up.
If you are writing a nonfiction book for the first time, remember to give yourself some grace during this season. You may have a deadline for your book, and that’s great. I encourage all aspiring authors to set a deadline for their book. However, if you find it difficult to keep up with your word count goal each week, know that it’s okay to adjust your goal and deadline. The beauty of self-publishing is that you create your own deadline.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not giving you a pass to procrastinate. However, if your family encounters some misfortune or tragic incident, don’t beat yourself up about not meeting your weekly goal. Re-adjust as needed and continue to push forward. Psalm 55:22 reminds us to “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”
I don’t care how difficult your kids have been lately, you were given that book idea for a reason. Just because it’s been a little tough to write a book so far doesn’t mean you get to give up. Try the strategies we mentioned here and figure out which ones work for you. You’ve got this!