Quite often, I have people reach out to me and ask for author tips on how to get started on their own author journey and how I manage my time. I’m honored that they thought of asking me, but I don’t always have time to answer everyone individually, so here is a quick rundown of what I recommend.
My advice isn't about what podcasts to listen to or which conferences to attend. My advice revolves around your MINDSET. What you think determines what you say, and what you say determines your actions. So in order to change your actions, you must first change your thoughts.
I get it, life is busy! I have 3 children, 2 of whom have multiple disabilities. I work and volunteer at my church and hold leadership roles in multiple disability related organizations, AND I write. Here's a breakdown of an average day for me.
Most people have at some point had the urge to write a book. You being here reading this right now proves that you are interested and looking into writing, which already puts you ahead of the game! Well done!
The best advice I can give you is: Change your mindset and prioritize what you want to do.
What I mean by this is—you don’t have to write. You GET to write. I don’t force myself to write. I CHOOSE to write. Placing whether or not you write on an external factor is setting yourself up for failure. You can always blame the lack of time, but YOU choose what you do with your time. Do you want to write bad enough to make sacrifices? That is a question only you can answer.
Notice in my advice that I didn’t say prioritize writing. I said, prioritize what you WANT to do. Sometimes, I CHOOSE to spend more time with my family and friends and do less writing. Sometimes, I choose to work on a book. But the choice is always mine, and I want to own every one of my decisions.
Whatever you choose to do with your time, do it and embrace the choice you made, knowing that the sum of your daily choices over the years will determine your outcome. Be intentional with every day you have.
Rapid Fire Tips:
1. Set goals. Long term and short term goals. Break them down into steps and work a little on them every day
2. Make and LIVE BY a daily to-do list. Exercising gets a box. Writing for 30 minutes gets a box. Playing uninterrupted with kids for 30 minutes is a box. Showering, making dinner, meditation, everything. Make a list the day BEFORE then stick to that list the best you can
3. Surround yourself with cheerleaders and like-minded authors. Cheer them on. A rising tide lifts all ships. Choose positivity. There is always a silver lining. Find it and love it.
4. Don’t tear down anyone, especially not fellow authors. People at the bottom compete. People at the top collaborate. Don’t be a bottom-dweller
5. Look at your writing time as your self-care time. Make it so you look forward to writing instead of dreading it.
6. I don’t watch any tv or play any video games. Ever. Not because I don’t like it, but because I CHOOSE to spend my time differently. At the end of the day, I won't care what level I got to in a game or what show I watched, but I WILL care about if I wrote another chapter. I want to be proud of each day I live.
7. Use any brain-free time as plotting time (driving, dishes, housework, cooking, showering)
8. Change your thoughts. When you look at your writing as your break instead of another job, you will look forward to it and find more joy in it
My morning routine looks like:
Exercise with my daughter and do clean up from breakfast (get all kids to school by 8:45)
Work! I’m a disability advocate and I volunteer with multiple disability organizations. This will look like:
Lunch while listening to a podcast or video messages from friends. If I've had especially heavy work calls, I will turn on a comedy skit to listen to
Write/ edit/ market books. Remember, I use any "brain free" time before now to plot ahead so I have words prepped in my mind for when I sit down. Brain-free time is like: showering, exercising, driving, doing dishes, etc.
Get kids home and...
Dinner as a family. At each meal, every member of the family tells about the rose of their day:
Time to relax as a family. We enjoy walks to the park, reading, doing puzzles, and playing games. Most of my advocacy calls/ council meetings are around this time, and on those days, my husband holds down the fort
Do bedtime routines with kids. This includes:
Volunteer work! Yep, this seems like a weird time for it, but most advocates and volunteers also have jobs and families, so late night zoom calls are our jam
My FREE TIME!! I like spending time with my husband, sometimes I clean up or do food prep so I feel more prepared for the next day. This is also when I make my to-do list for the following day
Take my shower and go to bed. If I have leftover energy from the day, this is usually my most creative time and I write my favorite scenes during this time period.