I'm often asked where I find time to write. The answer is simple--I find it whenever and wherever I can.
As a wife and mother of three children--two of them under age eight*--there is little uninterrupted time in the day to concentrate on my writing. But, if you want something badly enough you "make" the time.
How do you do that?
First, I had to sit down and assess exactly where all my time goes. Every day I wash, dry, and fold two loads of laundry; I get three people breakfast and lunch; I cook supper every night so that the entire family can spend time together; I make my husband's lunch for work each night; I read to the girls at night, we say prayers together, and I sing to them until they fall asleep.
Those are all things that must be done in order to keep the house running smoothly. Gee, looking at that list it seems like I should have plenty of time to write.
The house still needs to be cleaned every once in a while; I spend one night a week at church; I teach the children in our AWANA Club; I am a member of a town committee and sit on the church council and I like to stay in touch with family and friends either by email or at parties. Plus every once in a while I would like a few minutes of "me" time.
And let's not forget the unexpected: illnesses, accidents, and errands that steal precious moments away from what I should be doing.
When I sat down and seriously considered everything I had to and wanted to do with my time, I knew I would need to cut some things out if I was ever going to have a writing career.
The first thing that went was uncessary emails. I have no willpower. If someone sends me a joke or a Power Point presentation, I am going to read it. So, I emailed everyone asking them to hold off on sending them my way. Then I canceled my membership to several Yahoo Groups. Once again--no willpower. And finally, I made a conscious decision to limit all my online time so that I would have more time to write.
I also use every spare moment to do something writing related. I read trade magazines while waiting for doctor appointments. I read or write while my husband drives us to church on Sunday mornings. And, I carry around a small notebook in my purse to jot down ideas or words for a story I'm working on as they come to me.
But the thing that most of my friends get a big chuckle out of is when I tell them I read and write while soaking in the tub.
If you want to be able to balance your family life and your writing career, figure out where all your time goes, decide what must be done and what can be cut, and use every free moment you have to make your dreams come true!
This article was originally at my old Aspiring Author blog on 8/8/07.
* Age has been changed to reflect 2008 as the year.
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a lifelong resident of Western Mass and an award-winning REALTOR® with Real Living Realty Professionals. Her background in management, financial services, and social media marketing served as an excellent foundation for her real estate career.
Ms. Malandrinos is also a freelance writer, children’s author, editor and blogger. A 2005 graduate of Long Ridge Writers Group, she writes articles about time management and organization. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, and the upcoming Amos Faces His Bully. She has edited numerous manuscripts in a variety of genres and ghostwritten a Christian chapter book.
Above all, Cheryl is an imperfect Christian wife and mother doing her best and hoping she makes a difference.