Monday, 22 July 2013

How to Write Your First Novel and Work and Run a Family all at the Same time

This article is all about time management and how to run a successful family and make time for a second career or write a debut novel.

I work full time, I run a family home, I'm an owner of two very demanding dogs, I have an award winning garden (gold medal for Bexley in Bloom!) and have just published my first novel! Wow! I hear you gasp where do I get the time...

...Well the truth of the matter is I have to consciously make the time, otherwise I'd be constantly chasing my tail (and that happens more often than not!)

Juggling Work and Family
Firstly I have to set myself targets, for example: today I'm going to hoe the vegetable patch and write 1500 words on my new novel. Tomorrow I will weed the alpine bed and will write a new blog and on the 3rd day I shall take Bill (the pug) to have his nails clipped and write a further 1000 words and so the week goes on.

I'm lucky in the fact that my job as a civil servant, allows me to be home by 3.45pm at the latest, my husband and sons are home from about 6pm. Which gives me at least two hours and fifteen minutes to take the dogs out and cook the dinner and once that's done my time is my own. The only trouble is when I get round the field and meet up with my dog walking friends, that two hours is easily swallowed up and then I turn into some sort of superwoman, or more to the point an irate, frustrated, grumpy old woman, who's moaning because there's not enough hours in the day!

Mostly in the mornings before work I have prepared dinner or at least taken the meat out of the freezer so I know what I'm cooking. So when I'm late back from my dog walking exercise it's just a matter of peeling some spuds and turning the oven on. And as for the gardening I have been known to go out at dusk and weed by candle light - don't mock, it's very relaxing, except for the midges that tend to come out in force and eat you alive, (so be sure to smother yourself in insect repellent before you go out at night).

Weekends and Writing 
Saturday mornings are dedicated to the housework, this is when you see me in my pj's and running around like a headless chicken, mostly my husband is working, but on the rare occasions that he isn't, he will lend a hand (although to be truthful, his hand is often a hindrance more than a help. But he is good at cleaning the oven!) However on a typical Saturday when he's at work and my sons are sleeping off the Friday night experience, I have my own routine, where I start downstairs, normally in the kitchen, that way the floor can dry properly by the time the family begins to stir. But there is also an underlying plan to me starting downstairs and that is, when I get the hover out and start vacuuming, the noise that's heard upstairs to my sleeping boys, is a muffled drone. So without them realizing they are beginning to wake up, which means by the time I get the hover onto the landing they've already woken up naturally (and my kitchen floor is dry so they can make their own breakfast - they are in their twenties!) The rest of Saturday is spent writing or gardening. Bliss!

Sundays are spent with hubby relaxing or visiting family and friends, but still walking the dogs and doing the garden and perhaps writing a few hundred more words.

Writing Concentration
So now the dogs have been walked and we've eaten our dinner. It's my husbands job to clear the dishes and load the dish washer (he has a knack of squashing everything in so they all come out clean). And while he's doing that I pop out to the garden and tidy up a flower bed and then my son asks my if I could just iron his shirt, or my elderly neighbour asks if I could pop to the shops, or my mother asks me to look something up on the internet, or my friend phones for a very long chat! But eventually it's my time to sit with my laptop and write, I need to do those 1500 words but Coronation Street is about to start, this is where I have to be brutal. I've tried writing and watching the telly but to be honest it doesn't work. I've also tried writing after Corrie, but something else comes on that you want to watch and then I've said I'll do double tomorrow but that doesn't materialize either. So the only thing you can do is to turn the TV off (or go into a separate room) and knuckle down to the fifteen hundred words. Or better still keep to your agenda, if you're late back from taking the dogs out, cut out the gardening, you can do that at the weekend! The most important thing is not to feel rushed. Learn to say NO and doubly important learn to ask for help. Tell your hubby or your sons "I'm late today could you please help me by peeling the potatoes or watering the plants in the greenhouse". If you explain you will be less likely to get into a bad mood and cause an argument and then nothing will get done.

So the bottom line of it all is to set yourselves targets, plan what you want to do and when you will do it and don't be afraid of asking for help or simply saying "No I'm sorry, but I haven't got the time".

I came across a good article by Nick Thacker '7 hacks to get you writing faster' take a look it's well worth reading he gives some great tips.   

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