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Archive for September, 2009|Monthly archive page

Getting Back on Track

In Writer Challenges on September 27, 2009 at 5:17 am

  Is it just me, or are some days just harder than others?  

  Some days when it comes to my writing I just lack direction.  I feel frazzled, and it’s hard to focus.  I start thinking about all the money I’m not making and I get discouraged?  Am I wasting my time here?  How would my time be best spent right now?  Just recently I was having one of those days.  I felt like I was stuck in a rut.  I didn’t quite know what I should do right then.  Of course I have my writing business plan (which you can read more about in my post here) – but that was long term.  I was beginnign to feel a little fuzzy on the short term.

  I’ve mentioned before the importance of doing something to advance your career everyday ( if you missed that you can read more here).  But on this particular day I was finding it extremely difficult to take my own advice.  I had no clue what I should be doing.  So I decided the best thing to do was STOP.  I stopped everything.  I took a step away from the computer, took a few deep breaths and tried to just slow down.  I thought about my finish line goals, and I took a minute to get real.

  By “get real” I just mean that I had to think about how much time there is in a day and how many other responsibilities I have.  I had to keep in mind that I can only do but so much in a day.  I realized that if I’m so busy pushing myself to accomplish unrealistic goals I’d be more likely to fry my brain, run through my energy reserves until I had nothing left, and end up facing another day like the one I’m discussing right now very soon.

  After I’d done that I thought about what calculated steps I could take over the next few weeks to get closer to achieving my dream of becoming a big wig in the writing world.  I decided I’d try to accomplish one task a week.  These are the tasks I came up with:

  • complete book review for Anything But a Dog! 
  • complete book review for Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers
  • complete 2 queries for local publications 
  • complete article for web zine
  • wrangle at least 3 more interviews for another article I’m working on
  • and then complete the article concerning the reviews
  • complete 2 manuscripts to submit
  • rework an already complete article to submit to Ezine Articles
  • apply for Examiner
  • work on a newsletter for Mommy Writers
  • work on completing my first book

  I wrote this list a little over a week ago and I’ve already completed 1 task and made progress on 3 others.  Not bad if I do say so myself.  I hope this will inspire someone else who may be hitting a wall to make their own list and get re-focused.  I’f you’d like to cheer me on and see if I cross another task off my list this week, check back.  I’ll keep this updated.

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Phase 1 Step 2

In Step-by-Step on September 23, 2009 at 2:44 am

Last week I began a series I call Step-by-Step, with the post One step at a timeThis week I’ll be breaking down the steps even further, into steps and phases.  Phase 1 is the research phase. 

In step 1 I suggested thouroughly researching the freelance writing industry before deciding the take the plunge.  This week I’m talking about what comes next.

What will you write?

So you have decided that writing is right for you.  Now you have to decide what you will write.  This step may be easy for you if you have already begun writing.

For me it was a more enlightening experience than I expected.  I thought I knew what kind of writing I wanted to do.   Mama Writer by Christina Katz (also listed on my recommended reading page) has some excellent exercise for finding your interests, and “best bet” audiences.

First, try taking a good look at what you read.  Do you enjoy reading magazines, or mostly books?  What kind of magazines?  What kind of magazines?  List your top reads.  You may begin to see some patterns emerging.  There’s a good chance that this could be the type of writing you could be doing.

Next, examine your roles & pick your top 4.  Mine are Christian, wife, mother, writer.   Use your instincts with this exercise!  Now your going to draw a circle and divide it into 4 quarters labeled with your top 4 roles or “keywords”.  On this pie chart you’re going to descibe these keywords even more specifically.  For example, you may describe yourself as a creative mother.  or perhaps a theatre mom.

After you’ve completed these two exercises you should have a general idea of what kind of people you’d relate to best and thus what your best “target audiences” are.  Of course you don’t have to be married to this forever.  Interests change and people grow.  The point is to help you figure out where to start.  You want to begin where you’d be most comfortable, and where you have the best chances of success.

FREE Writing Class for Women

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Valued readers!  I have a treat for you today.  If you’re visiting this blog it’s likely that you have an interest in writing.  So – to help all you writers out there I will be offering a free writing classes for women writers through my organization Mommy Writers.  Yes…F-R-E-E.

Why will I be doing all this?  I’m glad you asked!  I have been wanting to take some writing classes for some time now.  But have not been able.  Either they’re way too expensive, or I can’t bring my son.  Both big deciding factors for me.  The way I see it, the writers that need classes the most probably can’t afford to pay for them.  And if you’re a writer making enough to afford the classes you probably don’t need them.  That’s why I decided to offer these classes for people like me.

In lieu of writing classes I buy writing reference books, and lots of them.  But when I read all this information and try to put it into practice I find that the books never talk back to me.  They can never tell me how well they think I implemented the lessons on the pages.  I needed FEEDBACK.  I need other writers.  And I’m sure there are others who can relate.

  For more information you can visit the “free classes” link above or visit Mommy Writers online.

Anything But a Dog! by Lisa Saunders

In Book reviews on September 21, 2009 at 3:41 am

Anything_But_a_Dog_by_Saunders[1]At some point or another, every child asks their parent(s) for a dog.  And at some point most parents tell their child(ren) that they can’t have a dog.  Next are the tears.  It’s with an exchange just like the one I just described that Lisa Saunders begins her book Anything But a Dog!, and a story that spans about 17yrs sprouts on the pages before your very eyes.

What makes this story of “girl meets dog” worth reading?  It’s shockingly human, brutally honest, and guaranteed to evoke emotion.  And if you still aren’t convinced – it’s a book with a cause.

Lisa’s youngest daughter Elizabeth, was born severely disabled due to CMV.  She would never speak, walk, or feed herself.  So to further educate parents about this debilitating virus Lisa wove priceless and under spread knowledge on CMV into pet horror stories.  You’ll learn how it’s spread, how you can prevent it, and what its devastating consequences can be.

But this story is not all tales of woe.  It’s ultimately the life of a very happy girl, who happens to be handicapped, and her loving dog with the heart of a saint – all wrapped up in the accounts of smelly bunnies, attack cats, and runaway hamsters.

All-in-all this book has a little something for everyone.  If, like me, you’ve never known anyone severely handicapped, you may be prone to pity them or stare when passing by on the street.  Anything But a Dog! will show you that pity is not necessary.  What is necessary if a dose of love and kindness.

If you have been touched in some way by disability, you’ll be comforted by Saunders’ relatable nature.  For mothers the information on CMV could protect your unborn child(ren) from the villain responsible for more birth defects than Down Syndrome.

If you couldn’t tell already, I’ve been profoundly moved by this book.  Which is always a sign of accomplishment for any author.  With minimal time investment (only 119 pgs, 140 including the back matter), what have you got to lose?

Lisa Saunders has truly shared a piece of herself and her family with the world – more so than any book I’ve read up until this point (and I’ve read quite a few).  I can’t say anything bad about that.

*Note: Anything But a Dog! cannot be found in stores.  To purchase a copy visit the following link (you can also get an autographed copy)!

Buy Anything But a Dog!

Getting Around the QUERY

In Writer Challenges on September 17, 2009 at 5:45 am

  As a writer it’s helpful to know what you’re struggling with so you can make the extra effort to eliminate the chink in the armor.  For me it’s querying.

  The query has so much added pressure.  You have to first seriously dissect at least a few recent copies of the publication to ensure that you can demonstrate that you are familiar with them, avoid duplicating an idea that they just ran (which would also be a monumental waste of your time), and match he tone of the publication.  Then you have to squeeze all this information about your idea, how you plan to execute it, why it fits their publication, and why you’re the one to write it on one little sheet of paper and make it stand out.  I hate it.

 Although it is something all writers will have t do at some point in their career, there are some ways you can avoid it – all in the interest of time.  In my case studying multiple copies of a publication to appropriately match the tone is very time consuming.  But I still need clips.  Not only do I need clips I would like to get my writing out there sooner rather than later.  So if you’re like me, what do you do?

  Call a few publications, preferably free local papers, and ask if they accept unsolicited manuscripts.  If they do you can just skip the query and send the complete article to the publication.  You still have to study the publication and make sure you match the tone and don’t duplicate ideas, but at least you can skip right to the article.

  Getting a few clips by submitting articles to sites like Ezine Articles or Ehow will help your query/manuscript look a little more appealing.  Editors seem to like experience.  This sucks for new writers, but we just have to deal.

  But in the end, the truth is – I have to get over it.  And if you have an aversion to queries too, then so do you.  This is just meant to help you get some clips in the mean time while you tackle your fears of queries, since clips are the name of the game.

Better Late Than Never: On Writing and Motherhood Guest Blog Post by micrimas

In Guest Blog Posts on September 16, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Better late than never. Titus Livius, History Roman author & historian (59 BC – 17 AD) As a writer I always give props and accreditation. Plagiarism is the worst form of theft, because you are stealing intellectual, not concrete, property.

I’ve already written on my blog, Half a Duo, Raising a Duo about perseverence being my middle name. That is the case with my writing career as well as in my becoming a mother.

From a young age I aspired to be a writer but having no support or direction with regard to my education as I grew up (stellar grades and all, but with no support and direction, where do you turn?) I did the best that I could.

I put myself through college, working days full time, a part time night job, and, attending business classes (that I hated with a passion, but because I worked for a then Fortune-50 company, they would only pay for a business degree. I rebelled by making my business degree one in PR and Marketing, which they found acceptable even though I worked in finance….)

The 20 year plan? That was me. Up until I left my company (I worked for this company forever, enough to get a pension and give them total props for paying for my most excellent education), the business degree moved forward to a teaching degree.

I was able to get a teaching degree because by then my job had evolved to a corporate trainer and I was writing then. Technical writing of sorts, creating slide shows and training modules to train executives and others how to evaluate cost center reports and various financial reports for their cost centers.

At this time, I met my DH. Within 3 weeks, we met, and eloped. The story of my elopement was and is hysterical to this day. When I was younger, a lot of older ladies, when I queried them on how they knew their DH’s were “the one”, they would just look at me hard and say “you just KNOW”. Until I met the DH, I was clueless. I THOUGHT I knew but then when I met HIM, I totally KNEW.

So we eloped and I went to work, right after eloping, in my wedding dress and all. With the flowers my manager had given me still in my arms and the penny in my shoe that my co-workers threw at me the day before the elopement.

My DH is from overseas and while we weren’t driven by the Green Card to marry, I was a total “Runaway Bride” which is why we eloped. Asked by many, weddings cancelled at nearly the last minute. That was me. Terrified of marriage. But the deed was done. YEAH!

Age 29, finishing up my teaching degree and writing in a technical kind of way. But I yearned for more. The opportunity came for me to actually get LAID OFF from my company, and because I worked there for so incredibly long, the benefits would still be paid, the pension too, AND, a “layoff package” which would enable me and the DH (who had by then a somewhat decent job and I could focus on slamming out the writing degree) to live somewhat comfortably. All this and my manager, who was my biggest cheerleader, pushed through one semester of my writing degree before I got “the package” and I was golden.

I left my beloved company and launched into school and my writing/editing degree. At this point, it truly was basically the almost 20 year plan. I vowed that I would give myself a break, and not work, just fixate on writing.

That was busted down after a semester. I was so used to being overworked and overloaded… I found a writing job pretty much right away.

That job, thanks to the student placement office and my experience as a corporate trainer writing training modules etc, was the start of my writing career.

I loved it, very much. At this point I was 33 years old.

I’d found “what I wanted to be when I grew up.” Finally, at 33. And it is never too late, for in some of my graduate writing classes, were students in their 60s, so never give up your dream!

Married… the DH climbing the corporate ladder himself. Disaster struck for me 3 years into my dream job. The dream job had me talking to people on the front lines of nonprofits, grassroots and non-government organizations worldwide. Writing diplomatic cables. Creating documents that impacted the world and was given to Congress, the President and world changers who wanted to support causes overseas. I had to leave my beloved career behind to fight cancer. I fought like I’d never fought before and suffered tremendously both physically and emotionally.

So what happened?

Well, the cancer created a lot of change for me. At the time I left work, it was impossible for me to just sit at home. I’ve never been a sit at home type of person. I had been volunteering for a cat rescue that is a non-profit, nationally known. I started grantwriting for that rescue. And thus, my gratis career as a grantwriter for non-profits began.

I’d given the DH a timeline for motherhood just as the cancer was discovered. I was totally infertile, and he knew it when me married me. My backstory is unusual, in that, when I was 19, I was pregnant with fraternal twin girls and nearly died, late term, at work, losing them. I lost my fertility on the same day. So the DH knew what he was getting into when he met and married me. No kids, adoption, or surrogacy. Those were the options.

I refused the no kids option. But had to put the cancer behind me. Well behind me, because, well… being a responsible adult, having taught and mentored children for many years, I knew the right thing to do was to wait. Wait until my health and the residual effects of my many surgeries stabilized.

After a few years we decided to pursue surrogacy and looked into it. Every option basically was an option we did not want to face. Anonymous egg donation? My sister refused to donate eggs. So therefore, that was our only option. Back when I was in my 30s, Traditional Surrogacy was basically taboo due to the Whitehead case. It was never an option.

Because of my medical history — it was extremely important for us to connect with someone either via Open Adoption or Traditional Surrogacy. But our parenthood dream was once again put on hold. For a few more years, as I had to caregive my mother through brain cancer, and my DH’s father died of lung cancer. Slowly I lost my entire family except my sisters, over a years’ timespan. It was devastating.

I was still writing for nonprofits as a grantwriter and searching for grants from home, for a few children’s charities. I never stopped this work until I became a mother. There are many nonprofits out there who are desperate for people to help them win the very few grants out there to be had to keep moving forward, helping kids. When one of my groups won a grant, the feeling was indescribable. One grant helped the kids learn about good eating and health… one grant fixed the roof of the building. These small things made a huge difference.

I got the all clear from my docs to become a mom. The DH and I had systematically queried every single doctor that had treated me. Every one of them said “go for it”. By this time, more than 5 years had passed, which is basically the “safety zone” for cancer. I felt confident and capable that I could more than carry out my duties as a mom.

It took forever. Because of my fears of Traditional Surrogacy, I asked the DH if we could try adopting. It was heartwrenching, when we strongly connected with a wonderful couple who lived somewhat nearby, for an open adoption, and our potentially adoptive son died at birth of an inoperable heart defect. I felt like the world was caving in. I fell in love with this little boy and his family, and bonded with his mother, over sonos and getting together and phone calls. Devastating. A third child, lost to me.

We finally decided to move forward with surrogacy and connected with a woman who felt like she could handle an open Traditional Surrogacy arrangement and her family. It took many months to achieve conception. At that point, I had stopped writing and devoted all my time focusing on the conception part (which was clinical) and driving back and forth between visits to her and her family to doctor appointments and to bond with the family, as we had hoped for a lifetime, open connection post-birth.

I started a blog but in the middle of the 2nd trimester I stopped. Our surrogate became difficult and I felt like I only wanted to write the most positive of things on the blog. The fear of losing my twin sons (by then we knew she was carrying my husband’s twin sons, my boys N and A) overwhelmed me and I lost the muse. I could not document the journey at all for fear of losing a 4th and 5th child.

The fear was very real.

I won’t get into details but suffice it to say, I finally gained the courage to pick myself back up and start documenting their and my lives via my blog, when they were 14 months old.

Waking up at the crack of dawn, 5am, just to write… inspiring others, documenting the boys’ and my life, listening to music that inspires me and using that as a springboard for the next blog entry, seeing an inspirational phrase or a biblical verse that catches my eye and the night before the next entry, I usually start pulling it together in my head.

I remember when I was very sick, my surgeon told me, “You ought to write a book, to help patients learn to advocate for themselves, because you have so much experience, having had such difficulties with your health.” I snorted. He was serious.

For me, this is THE single most rewarding and fulfilling task. At the age of 47, I am the mother of toddler fraternal twin sons. Not replacements for the lost fraternal twin girls that passed when I was 19. They are my destiny, and God placed our surrogate and her family in our path, for me to be parenting these boys and writing about our lives.

It’s a unique and unusual situation. One that is not for the faint of heart… but my heart is made of steel, the core soft like magma, the external battered like an ancient shield, with the blows life had handed me.

I’ve become old and wise. And writing. The muse is strong and powerful within. I will never stop writing. I will never again lose the courage. My boys will see the love that shines behind the words, the pride, the travails I’ve had to deal with since before their birth. How determined this woman was, to become a mother. How much heartache and suffering she has been through and how every breath they, and I, take, is treasured and measured with gratitude so overwhelming, there aren’t words to describe the feeling.

One step at a time……

In Step-by-Step on September 14, 2009 at 6:33 pm

I chose to begin writing this blog for a number of reasons, one of them being that I hoped to help beginning writers find their way in this often confusing industry (after all, I’d want someone to do the same for me).  So what better way to do that than to help answer one of the most confusing questions for new writers: So what do I do now?  I frequently still have to ask myself that question.  And in this career I don’t think I will ever be able to stop asking myself this question.  In fact – “what do I do now?” may even be a fact of life no matter what carer path you choose.  But for now I will deal with helping you answer this question as it relates to your writing career.

First I should make it clear that there is no one path for writers to take.  And my word is not the end all & be all in the writing industry, I’m still finding my way in this crazy world of writing just like you.  But I can share with you how I have chosen to model my career thus far, and hopefully you’ll be able to draw from my experiences to carve out your own unique career path.

In a previous post I’ve written about my “first step” creating a writing community callied Mommy Writers. But today I’m going to backtrack even further than that.

Step 1:

Is a writing career right for me?

So you’re curious about a career as a freelancer writer – or perhaps a staff writer.  Maybe you don’t even know the difference, all you know is you fancy yourself good with words and you think the world around you would benefit from what you have to share in writing.  So now what?  You do your reasearch.  You want to figure out as much as possible about this career before you quit your job or invest countless months just to figure out this isn’t for you.

That was my first step.  I had been writing for as long as I can remember, and had some experience writing for my high school newspaper, but no professional experience.  I went to the library and found all the books I could on the freelance writing industry.  One of my favorite books that will help you answer this question is Get a Freelance Life: mediabistro.com’s Insider Guide to Freelance Writing written by Margit Feury Ragland.  It is also listed on my recommended reading page.

Here is a quick summary of the factors Ragland suggests you consider before taking the plunge, in the first chapter of her book:

  • Writing can be lonely work.
  • Do you have any professional writing experience?
  • Can you afford it?
  • Do you hav a fairly flexible schedule?
  • Can you stick to a budget?
  • Are you Organized?
  • Can you separate work & life?
  • Are you self-motivated?
  • Can you sell yourself?
  • Can you say no, and handle being told no?
  • Are you interested in the world around you?

Try not to use the above list as an excuse to talk yourself out of your dreams.  If you’re certain writing is what you want to do with your life then use it as a tool to know what you should expect; you can expect that you will have to be able to find interest in the world around you, you can expect that there may be some lonely days, etc.  But if you’re not sure that writing is right for you then use this list as a guide.  If you’re not self-motivated then think long and hard.

Stay tuned for step 2 next week!

What are you reading?

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2009 at 2:50 am

  So, as I’m sure you’ve probably heard – reading can make you a better writer.  It’s particularly important to read work that is in your intended line of expertise.  If you want to write for parenting magazines, pick up Parenting Magazine.  If you want to write business and finance articles subscribe to Forbes.  Simple enough right?

  I’m in luck, because I love to read.  So what am I reading right now?

  In the fiction category I have The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.  In non-fiction we have The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Well by Laurie Rozakis.  Of course when I’m finished you’ll probably be reading the reviews right here, or at the very least you’ll know they’re worth reading if they show up on my recommended reading list.  

  On another note I had a very productive day.  And yesterday wasn’t bad either……I must confess, up until yesterday I wasn’t on Twitter.  I know,  shame on me.  But I was in denial I guess.  I had no idea my very success hung on me having a twitter account.  According to Jennifer James in a Mom Bloggers Club article, “To not use Twitter is akin to blogging suicide. Essentially, if you’re not on Twitter you’re nowhere.”  After reading this article last night I immediately signed up for an account.  I now have 7 followers and I’m following 6 others.  

  I still don’t quite get “it”.  Whatever “it” is, but I’m already hooked.  Another internet addiction to add to my fast growing collection.  But at least I’m no longer under blogging suicide watch :-).

  Aside from my new Twitter account I also updated my new writer’s page with some sweet deals, and I edited my first 2 contributions to my web zine Balancing Act.  And now I’ll have a new blog post.  Not bad for a day’s work huh?  A-list writers everywhere here I come!

Q&A with Finance Author Brigitte A. Thompson

In Q&As, Writer Challenges on September 6, 2009 at 6:06 am

Why is it important for writers to understand bookkeeping?

Writers are earning money and this money needs to be reported as income on their income tax return. If writers do not have any expenses to claim, their taxable income will be higher and they will owe more income tax.

Understanding what can be claimed as business expenses when you are a writer and how to properly document these expenses will help ensure the success of your business.

The most important thing you can do as a writer is to become organized. There are many books available on how to organize your writing, but this is the best book available about how to organize the financial side of your writing business.

Have you found that freelance writers require a different set of bookkeeping rules?

Many bookkeeping rules are universal such as the requirement to record income, but there are some areas of the tax law that are of more interest to freelance writers. This includes dealing with royalty payments, bartering, personal property and agent fees. My book addresses the universal tax rules as well as the infrequently discussed rules that apply specifically to freelance writers.

Learning how to document expenses and how to track income will give writers the best chance at overall business success.

What are some tax deductions that freelance writers might not be aware of?

There are many tax deductions available to writers. Some expenses are common, such as the cost of purchasing a case of paper or paying for a computer software upgrade. Other costs incurred in the operation of your writing business may not jump out at you as expenses when they could be. For example, consider the following accounts.

Mileage: Trips made in your vehicle to pick up office supplies can be counted as a business deduction if you record the proper information to support it.

Meals: Treating your agent to a restaurant meal with the discussion focusing on your next book can also generate a tax deduction when properly documented.

Shipping: UPS charges and postage used to mail a query or review copy of your book can be a small expense, but it should still be tracked. Those small deductions add up and every penny spent as a qualified business expense will reduce the amount of income tax you owe.

Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers devotes an entire chapter to expenses including a comprehensive listing of expenses and detailed information regarding what documentation is required to support each one.

I’m sure you’ve observed other freelance writers making accounting missteps that cost them time and money. What are some of the most common issues and how can we avoid them?

The most common misstep I’ve seen with writers is not taking themselves seriously as business owners. This can lead to financial pitfalls. Many writers have been honing their craft for years so it’s hard to identify an official starting date for their self-employment. Without this point to mark the beginning, it is easy to put off tracking income and expenses. This can be an unfortunate mistake.

The IRS will consider you to be in business when you are actively pursuing projects intended to generate income and expenses. This means they will expect you to file a tax return to report those transactions. Keeping track of your income and expenses from day one will enable you to pay the least amount of income taxes on the money you earn.


What are some of the challenges readers face with regards to bookkeeping?

I found the most common challenge writers face revolves around what they can claim as income and what counts as a tax deduction. For example, if their first job is writing the school newsletter, is the money received really income? Do they need to do something with the Internal Revenue Service before they can be considered a business? How do they handle self- employment tax?

The second most common concern for the freelance writers is related to proper documentation. What receipts did they need to save? How should they be kept? What information needs to be recorded to prove the expense? These are all great questions and they are addressed in the book.

Obviously, your book is a great place for writers to get information on bookkeeping. Are there are any other resources you recommend?

Yes, I recommend writers visit the IRS web site (www.irs.gov) to research specific tax issues and the Small Business Administration (www.sbaonline.sba.gov) for general business information.

I also recommend joining professional associations for writers such as American Society of Journalists and Authors (www.asja.org), The Authors Guild (www.authorsguild.org) and National Writers Union (www.nwu.org). There are many groups to choose from so consider the benefits of membership before joining.

I was interviewed recently by Freelance Success (http://www.FreelanceSuccess.com) which offers an insightful newsletter for their members. There are also online groups for writers such as MomWriters (http://www.MomWriters.com) offering networking opportunities as well as camaraderie.

How can we purchase your book?

Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers is available through Amazon.com and my publisher (www.CrystalPress.org). Any local bookstore can order my book by ISBN-10: 0963212389 or ISBN-13: 978-0963212382. List price is $17.95.

Brigitte A. Thompson is the founder and President of Datamaster Accounting Services, LLC in Vermont. She has been active in the field of accounting since 1986 and is a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers and the Vermont Tax Practitioners Association.

She is the author of several finance books for business owners, contributing author to two business books, and a freelance writer whose articles have appeared nationally in print and online publications. Visit her online at Writers in Business.

Making Time

In Writer Challenges, Writing & Motherhood on September 3, 2009 at 2:41 am

As a mother I have a lot of things contending for my time, and as a writer, it seems like my work is never done.  So I have learned a few ways to squeeze a few minutes in here & there (besides writing during naps) to get some of my writing done.

At night after the little one has fallen asleep getting out of the bedroom and to my computer can seem like walking through a mine field.  So I keep a notepad and pen in the nightstand beside the bed, and once he’s in a deep sleep I can just roll over and jot some lines down in my notepad.  Getting them typed, polished, and sent where they need to be is the hard part.  I can also manage a few minutes at my computer during the day by using a big safety gate like the one shown here to gate off the “hot spots” (electrical outlets, computers, bookcase, etc) and let him run amok.  If you have an especially independent baby and an intriguing collection of toys you may be able to sit him down with the toy box and get a few minutes in (this hasn’t worked for me, my son becomes easily bored with the toy box and is entertained for longer stretches when allowed to roam the living room freely).  Sometimes if I take him for a stroll in the park he will sit quietly in his stroller while I write.  That usually lasts ever so briefly.

I get the bulk of my work done by sneaking out of bed at night to get a few lines typed before I hear him waking up and by letting him roam around during the day.  But no matter what “tricks” I have learned, I think it’s just a fact of life that i will have to accept – I will not be able to complete anything in the same time I was able to in my pre-baby days.  It has taken me far longer than expected just to rework an article I’d already written to re-submit.  I did finally finish it though today!  Hopefully I will have a link for you guys to visit within the next couple weeks.

If you have any other interesting tips for how you write with a baby let me know!!  I’m always looking for more ways to get the most out of my time & I’ll share them here.