Summer Motivation – Ready. Set. WRITE!

ready set write

I am a writer, but I’m first and foremost the stay-at-home mom of a five-month-old boy. We’re heading into a new phase of babyhood and parenthood at this juncture: one strewn about with flashing toys (that I swore I’d never buy, but then ate my words when those toys made my son laugh with glee), giant plastic activity center monstrosities (more big grins), schedule changes, and a magically overnight rolling and scooting little man who loves nothing better than to MOVE! It’s like a break dance show, sometimes. PAR-TAY in the CRIB, y’all!

For the past six months, my work-in-progress (WIP) has been lingering in my mind, but I wasn’t able to do much with it. As soon as the chaos of having a newborn settled into a comfortable (if ever-changing) new rhythm of life, though, I began to feel the urge to finish the book idea that had taken hold of me before I was pregnant. I longed for my old uninterrupted mornings of writing, accompanied by an endless supply of coffee. I don’t regret that those days are no more (how could I? I have the most adorable little boy in my life now!), but I have been in a quandary as to how to keep writing, without sacrificing family time with my son and husband. Or sleep. I love sleep. I will never take sleep for granted again. I swear, in some alternate universe somewhere, there probably is a world in which the currency is sleep, it is that precious. That’ll be two hours and twenty-eight minutes for the burger and fries, please.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that writing, for now, will only be done in small chunks of concentrated time. But I have this crazy goal: I want to finish my first draft by September. And I’m not sure how I’ll keep working toward that goal, even with the the occasional coffeehouse writing sessions my wonderful husband occasionally shushes me out of the house to enjoy.

Enter, Ready. Set. WRITE! I just discovered it through a tweet by author Erin Bowman. Four writers, Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Erin Funk, and Jaime Morrow are hosting this summer intensive to help fellow writers meet their goals by staying accountable and cheering each other on. I’ve decided that this is the push I need to commit to my goal. I’m supposed to check in weekly to list my goals and how I’ve done. So here are my first goals, a couple days late:


  • Write at least 200 words per day (about what I can sneak in during a nap) for five days
  • Figure out the BIG BAD ENDING to my new YA Sci-Fi WIP (Code Name: The Echelon Project)
  • Plot the grand scheme out, so I can fill in the particulars later.

Alrighty then! Let’s do this! Let me know if you jump on board the Ready. Set. WRITE! train, too. I’m looking forward to cheering my fellow writers on as the summer progresses. Thanks, Alison, Katy, Erin, and Jaime for hosting this, and Erin Bowman for bringing it to my attention.

See you Monday, for my first progress report!

A Creative Challenge

While stories and characters and ideas flow around in my mind all the time, catching them and committing them to paper and ink (or, rather, screen and pixel) can be a challenge these days. I’m learning how to make the use of minutes (or seconds!) instead of hours. Oh, how I used to be lazy with my time. I’d take hours to stare at the laptop screen in front of me while revising a manuscript and when my muse didn’t strike fast enough for my liking, I’d wander into Facebook land or idly browse Pinterest. You know, “for inspiration.”

Not anymore.

I think this can only improve my work since it must be so focused as a result, but it is certainly difficult to keep continuity of thought. I’m not sorry, though. In fact, I wouldn’t change a thing.

See, there’s a new little man taking up a lot of my time and attention these days (in fact, he’s the reason I haven’t blogged since September, as my last few months of pregnancy and then postpartum were difficult), and he’s worth every minute of this creative challenge. It has made me so much more appreciative of the struggle others face to balance their family and creative work. For me, writing is my passion, yes, but it is also something I hope to make my full-time job one day, and as my infant son takes most of my time and attention right now, I’m learning how to use my few minutes of downtime to write. I’m also blessed with a husband who cultivates my creative side, which makes things a little easier. Earlier this week he sent me out to a coffee shop with a pen and a notebook so I could have some uninterrupted time to work on plotting a new project I have under way while he watched our little one. I’m very excited about this story that wants to spill out, and I am so grateful for that hour. I made good use of every minute!

There are other moments I have free, of course. In fact, I’m currently blatantly disregarding the sage advice to “sleep when the baby sleeps” so I can write this blog post while he dozes in his swing. And then there are the times we go out for a walk and I push his stroller and hash out details of the new idea while circling the neighborhood.

I do fantasize of technology that would allow me to mentally write an entire scene while out on one of our walks, without resorting to awkwardly typing on my phone with one hand. Or looking like I’m talking to myself while my iPhone takes bad dictation through the hands-free microphone on my ear bud cord. I mean, I am talking to myself. But I’d rather not look like the crazy mom on the block.

The new project is set in the near future. Maybe I should just invent this technology in the story. It would be so satisfactory. Somebody should have it, even if it isn’t me in the present day.

But for now, excuse me … the baby stirs …