How to Write a Book while Running Your Start Up and Raising a Family
I recently read “Writing a Book while Running Your Startup”, written by an Adina Grigore, and published at Entrepreneur.com. While she had some great points in there, I got to thinking: what if you’re running a start-up, writing a book, AND raising a family? Well, that additional variable of the family really shakes things up. It’s going to be more complicated, yet it’s not impossible.
Now you’re reading this and saying, “Who’s she kidding?” It actually is possible.
Let’s dive in, shall we — and update it for the working mom.
Great idea! But when? Likely, you’re getting up really early — I’m in my office between 4:30 and 5:00 am every weekday, because my workday ends when the school bell rings at 3:00 pm. Then my focus shifts to homework, shuttling kids to activities, and dinner. I’m usually up early on weekends as well, to finish what wasn’t completed by Friday at 3:00 pm. So when?
If you’re a parent AND you’re running a start-up, you likely aren’t watching TV anyway.
Let’s keep going.
Say goodbye to your social life
Honestly, you’re not going to give up your social life, because you need that time to recharge, regroup, and continue to feed your creativity. Everyone needs a break.
Scratch that one.
Your writing may be creeping into your work life
If you’re running a start-up, likely you can’t take a week off. Who will steer the ship? Let’s think about this strategically. Schedule an hour on your calendar — it’s a “meeting with Bookman”– and write. Schedule an hour a week — even 30 minutes — and see your progress.
I have to admit, I have found my thoughts drifting off to my WIP during the work day. It’s OK. Maybe you need to take a coffee break. If you can’t, jot down some notes so you don’t lose the spark.
Now, let’s look at some other ideas…
Get your spouse or partner on board
Tell them your goals. You need their support to get this accomplished. Could they take on a carpool, or take the kids out on a Saturday so you can have time to write? You won’t be able to do this without their buy-in. Get their assistance.
You’ve heard of girls weekend — how about WRITE WEEKEND? Even one day is good. Schedule a mini getaway. Doesn’t have to be anywhere fancy. You need to get away from your everyday life. Don’t complicate it. You’re going to write, not sight see. Go on a Friday night, and stay away one day or for the whole weekend.
Spend the time writing. You’ll accomplish more than you realize. The change of scenery will do you good. Start with one night away. Recently, I went away for a day. I wrote a lot in that 24-hour period. I’m planning to do a full weekend next time. I think I might be able to finish my WIP with a dedicated weekend.
Engage the kids
Get the kids in on it! My kids love to write and make up stories. Often on the weekends, I’ll announce that it’s writing time. They work on their stories, I work on mine.
Your kids aren’t writers? Do they draw? Like to read? Do puzzles? Schedule one hour of “quiet activity time”. Set the timer. Write. Give them a small prize or take them out for a treat as a reward for following through. They’re more likely to cooperate.
Also, tell your kids about your writing and your goals. My daughters love to hear the progress. They nudge me often, asking, “What’s new in the book?” It gives me another layer of accountability, a push to keep moving forward. I read parts of the book to them sometimes, and they enjoy it.
Get your friends on board. Ask them to host your kids for a playdate so you can write. It will keep their kids occupied for a bit, too, so it’s a win-win. You can host playdates at your house too –the kids have something to do while you grab some time to write.
Here’s how to find more time to write
That all sounds great, but still wondering how to find the time to write? If you’re like me, it’s just a matter of getting your butt in the chair. I can churn out the word count quickly — I just have to sit down and do it.
More ways to find time to write:
- Set your alarm ½ hour earlier. These 30 minutes are just for you and your writing. The house is quiet — the phone isn’t ringing, everyone’s asleep. No one will bother you! Take advantage of these golden hours. If your spouse or partner goes to bed early, do this at night. You want 30 minutes distraction-free. Ready. Set. Skip the snooze button!
- Write during lunch. I know. You usually have lunch at your desk, while you’re checking email or reading the latest industry news. Take 30 minutes for you. Get away from your desk. Log out of email and social media. Set the timer. Go.
- Write while you’re waiting for your kid at dance class (or sports or whatever activity). I used to complain about having to sit somewhere and wait for my kids. I’ve found this to be a very productive time. I’m captive, and I need to pass the time. Open the laptop! Let’s go!
- Sunday morning writing. Get up early and use that as your writing time. Clients are not calling. Everyone’s asleep. Set 30 minutes or an hour aside. This is your time. Make it happen.
Well, that should get your creative juices flowing! This is how I finally finished the first draft of my novel, while juggling everything else. I did it, and so can you!
Now, you may have to sacrifice something in the short-term, but set your goal and do it. There’s always going to be a sick kid, a “fire” to put out at work, or a run to the hospital with your elderly parent. Adjust like you always do. You’ve got this. If anyone is a master of the juggle, it’s you, Mom.
Now what are you waiting for? Go write!
NOTE: Be careful, you may end up like me — I’m ditching the biz because I want to focus on my writing. But that’s a story for another day. 😉
How do you carve out more time to write? Share it in the comments.
Originally written in April 2017
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