Organization,  Perils of a Mom Writer

Three Tricks I Use To Gain More Time To Write

I’ve been writing in 10-minute increments since 2006. Over the last years, I’ve always been looking for ways to gain more 10 minute increments. It was hard enough to be a Stay-At-Home homeschooling mother of five in the first place, so I knew that if I wanted to write fiction too, I would have to maximize my strategies.

Here are the first three tricks I used to train my family that gave me more time to write!

1. I delegated as much responsibility as I possibly could. 

I noticed that my kids could handle regular responsibility at about age six. So I made sure that I gave them age-appropriate tasks that were suitable for their personalities and temperament. Honestly, it is a lot more time consuming to teach children how to wash dishes than to do it yourself, but I figured that someday they would get it and I would have the payoff.

So, take an honest look at your daily to-do list. What items can you relinquish control over?  What chores can be someone else’s responsibility instead of yours? Where can you find those ten minutes?

2. I communicated that when I was writing, I was not to be interrupted. 

My actual words were: “Unless someone is bleeding, throwing up, or has set the house was on fire, do NOT interrupt Mommy!” I’m really glad I did this.  This was good training for them. They understood that Mom needed a little time to herself. I fully believe that most kids can be trained to play with themselves.  By about age 4, they should be able to take initiative for a project, start a puzzle, color, read (or at least look at books), or play with their siblings for a little while every day. Think about this; any child that has been trained to sit still and be busy, even for a little while, will be far more prepared for school and will be a blessing to their parents. 

 3. I rewarded myself for small victories. 

Sometimes when I have a lot to do, I create two lists: the FUN LIST and the NOT FUN LIST. Each one of my tasks goes into either column. For every job I tackle on the NOT FUN list, I get to do at least one thing on the FUN LIST. Writing is usually fun. Then, when I set my timer in 10-minute increments, I might go back and forth until things are crossed off.

What job do you have to do today that is yucky?  What have you been putting off? Can you reward yourself by tackling it a few minutes at a time?  Can you work hard on it for ten minutes and then go sit at your computer (or even with pen and paper) and write for a while as your reward?

These are my biggest three strategies for making the most of my time. 

Take these little steps. Ten minutes at a time.  You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.

Katharine Grubb is an author, poet, homeschooling mother, camping enthusiast, bread-baker, and believer in working in small increments of time. She leads 10 Minute Novelists, an international Facebook group of time-crunched writers. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.