Juggling baby, husband, work and not becoming an exploding ball of stress is hard enough without adding the writing and blogging ‘balls’. There’s also reading, and genuine, veg out relaxing, which are required to diffuse the previously mentioned ball of stress. I’ve just realised I’m mixing my metaphors atrociously, but I don’t have time to rethink them! Here are a few ways I’ve been trying to squeeze some writerly activities in alongside everything:
1. Word a day calendar.
This one isn’t really writing, but it is inspirational. Since taking up writing again, I’ve realised that my vocabulary gets a bit worn out after a few short stories – the language and style all start to feel very samey. This is just a 30 second bit of fun, but it makes me feel a little bit closer to my goal of being a Writer. It’s a great way to start the day – whether you have the calendar set up in your writer’s ‘retreat’, on your desk at your day job, or a word of the day app on your phone. Plus, it’s a great writing exercise in a pinch – try incorporating your new word into a little bit of flash fiction to get warmed up for your main work.
This one is great for research, and can be done when you can’t actually write – like when you’re on the bus to work, or you’re trying to rock a wriggly baby to sleep. There are tons of great posts and charts and character sheets and… so on and so forth – all waiting to be discovered. If you set your profile up right, relevant posts will be waiting for you each time you access the app/site – all you have to do is pin them to save them for later. Struggling to find a different word for ‘said’? There’s a pin for that.
3. Using a layer based planning/design method.
My favourite is the Snowflake method. Its easily digestible steps mean you can make progress on your project plan without losing your way – sure, the steps get progressively more detailed as you go further, and therefore take more time, but having the notes you made in the previous steps keeps you on track for where you’re trying to get to. Pinterest can help you discover more novel design methods.
4. Making up bedtime stories.
If you read to your babies at bedtime, making up a story is a good way to squeeze in a little writerly creativity. It’s probably most fun before your child understands; otherwise the pressure to have the story actually make sense is too much! I’ve really enjoyed throwing together a little bedtime story out of the first ingredients that come to mind – and I’ve actually gleaned a couple of good ideas for projects from it.
5. Daily writing target.
I’m not talking thousands of words here or multiple hours. I mean I’m really not – my daily writing target is 300 words. That’s it.
But 300 words in 365 days? That is over 100,000 in a year. That’s the first draft of your novel. You can knock out 300 words in about 20 minutes, or if you want you can set your target even lower – 200 words is still 73,000 words in a year. Your words don’t have to be on your main project; you can use them for your blog, or even a bit of freewriting. The important thing is that you do it every day. You can do it!
I hope you find one or more of these tips useful!