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Writing Advice for Busy Moms

Updated on February 22, 2017
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M.D. Johnson is a poet, playwright, author, and blogger. She has a BA in English and a Masters of Management in Business.

I hate to say it really bothers me when I read some of the advice to improve one’s writing, whether you are writing a story, memoir, self-help guide or blogging. The number one piece of advice that gets to me the most is: “Write often.” Or “Write as much as possible.” That might work in the world of a writer who does it as a full time occupation, but when you write as a side hustle or as a hobby because you have to juggle a job and a family, it’s next to impossible, with the constant interruptions and trying to carve out a bit of time between working, cooking dinner, helping the kids with homework, cleaning the house, walking the dog and then being tired, etc., etc. Bottom line, who has time to write often if you’re a busy mom? I say write when time permits, when your energy levels are good, when you have some quiet time to yourself, -uninterrupted. Maybe it’s once a month, maybe you have to take time off from work to make it happen or do it during your lunch break at work; whenever it is, make it count.

Some advice may tell you to stay focused on one task or writing project at a time. Quite honestly, as all moms are capable and live by the rule of multi-tasking, I say apply it to your book work as well. I usually have 2 or more writing projects going on simultaneously to get the writing juices flowing. I find that working on my current projects: a memoir, a fantasy fiction novella series and several blogging articles keeps me creative, consistent and busy, it helps me build momentum and keep it going. I don’t get bored when I shift gears, which is a great way to curb writer’s block and shifting gears helps clear the mind and renew energy.

Some may advise going on a trip, or researching online to see what’s popular in the writing arena at the time to gain inspiration, but I say, save yourself the time, expense and hassle, you need look no further than where you are. For example, the memoir I am working on tells of my husband’s childhood and how his lifestyle at the time led to an attempted murder. Everyone has a story, even if you don’t –you probably need not look any further than your family and friends. I am also inspired, when it comes to the children’s books I’ve written, by my daughter; as the life lessons most all my books denote, have been inspired by her, as morals or teachings I’d want her to learn and embrace. Inspiration is all around you, you need look no further than where you are and the people around you.

As far as creating the perfect writing environment, you don’t need to go to Starbucks or the beach. Simply redecorate your office with the ambiance and inspiration that you seek. If the aroma of a latte inspires you, fire up the Keurig; if you long for the smell of the beach buy some oceanic scented potpourri, incense or a candle. To increase the ambiance, I recommend uploading Spotify and adding Nature or Zen sounds to your music lists, or jazz or whatever sounds will inspire your writing or speak to the aura of your writing subject matter. No need in wasting time or resources trying to travel somewhere to write with the busy Mommy lifestyle, just create the environment you’d like to be in. Even add pictures on the wall of your office or knick-knacks that are reminiscent of where you want to be or even where the setting of your story takes place.

Always keep a notepad nearby, even if it’s pocket-sized or digital. You never know when an idea will hit you and you need to write it down. For the techy-moms, use your phone, inscribe your ideas on a notepad and hit save. My husband is a web developer, ap creator, coder, web-designer, -you know – a geek to say the least. Everywhere he goes, from the grocery store to church, to the movies, -places you’d think “Why does he need to bring that?” –he brings his I-pad. He always has a gadget or device. Why, I asked myself time and time again? Because that’s what he does. Therefore, what is a writer without a pen and pad or digital type-pad of some kind? If that’s what you love and live to do, why not be prepared at all times? I remember when I did Security back in the day, our trainer who was a former police officer and marine told us he keeps a gun on him at all times and in every room of his house. So you catch my drift, -whatever you are passionate about, keep the tools of the trade on hand, -always.

I’ve heard it said to be a better writer, you have to read often. I agree and disagree with this statement. I don’t necessarily think reading excessively will make you a better writer, as some say this with the idea or intent that you will somehow envelop the styles, rhythms and aura’s of the authors you read, if indeed your are reading your favorite authors, –but who wants to read a carbon copy of someone else?

I say be an original author or writer. Create your own style. In the busy lives of a mommy writer, you may be fortunate enough to read the many e-mails advanced to you from your kids’ school, or the homework projects and assignments, or maybe all the information and forms passed down to you at work, but leisurely reading to improve your writing skills, if indeed it can even do that, is probably at the bottom of the to do list.

So what I do recommend reading, are short and informative articles that can improve your lifestyle as a writer, that will help you get to where you want to be as an author, be it advice on marketing, writing as a business, or tips such as this article that may have inspired new ideas on how to go about it better, than by all means –read more if you can, -for information that will help you, opposed to a writing style that will influence or inspire you to be a copy of another author.

Take shortcuts where permissible when it comes to your work, for example to save time and energy with a busy mom schedule, by all means hire an editor, even if it’s a freelance editor opposed to a professional agency, save money and time where you can. I personally, having majored in English, prefer to edit my own works, but where you may lack the skill or time, improvise. Use a service available to you. I say learn where you can, some things may be easier than you think, such as creating book trailers, depending how posh you want them to be, -maybe you hire someone, maybe you create your own. Do what works for you on your budget, with your time constraints and with your available resources. As the old adage goes, work smarter, not harder. If time is most important to you, then ask “is there a better way to do this that will add more value than if I did it myself –including the time it may take to learn how to do it effectively.”

To recap:

  1. Write when time and energy permits.
  2. Multi-task. Take on several writing projects simultaneously to build momentum and knock out writer’s block.
  3. Look no further than your household or family and friends for inspiration. Inspiration is all around you.
  4. No need to travel to an escape zone to write, create the perfect writing environment or the environment in which your story takes place, through sight, smell and sound.
  5. Keep your writing utensils nearby at all times (pen and pad or phone with type-pad).
  6. Read to be better at what you do and to get to the next level, don’t read to be influenced. Be original.
  7. Take shortcuts where you can, hire or outsource work if you can – based on resources available, budget, time and value.

Working Moms may be busy, but you don’t ever have to be too busy to do what you love. You can make it work for you, despite objectionable advice. After all, good advice is usually contingent with lifestyle. Do what works best for you!

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      Robert E Smith 5 months ago from Rochester, New York

      I loved the article. I am really awestruck to see you are able to write on more than one project at a time. It is something my brain would never allow me to do. I'm a fan of anyone that is capable of such a thing. Plus being a mom is a feat not everyone can do either. My hat's off to you. Enjoyed the read. Bob.