“But I don’t have anything interesting to say.” “I am tired exhausted from work and household duties.” “I just cannot take time away from my family.” “This is going to add an additional burden on my spouse.” “Honey, there is literally no time. We both have full time and three kids to take of when we get home.”
These were some of the excuses I used in the past whenever I pondered a pursuit in a career in freelance writing. We have a finite amount of time each day. 24 hours. Doctors tell us at least a 1/3 of that should be used for sleeping. That leaves only16 hours a day at our disposal. Add in a full-time job, children and all the various school activities they are in, and meal time. Our time starts disappearing faster than a dozen eggs on sale at the store.
How to write and raise a family?
This article is specifically geared toward parents who want to develop a career in writing. As a father to four children ages 11,9,6, and 4, I completely understand the scheduling struggle. It might be more accurate to call it appointment acrobatics! I am also the husband of an elementary school teacher. Anyone who is married to or has a family member or friend who is an educator knows that profession involves A LOT of time—investing in lesson planning, parent meetings, professional development sessions, and staying up to do on current curriculum. Additionally, two of children have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Autism is a social communication disorder. We have weekly adaptive aquatics lessons for our six year old. We have also had to invest an incalculable amount of hours into research, therapy, and home reinforcement over the past several years.
Bottom line is I understand that life presents you many challenges that take up the vast majority of the day. It is not impossible, nor even merely improbable to start writing and creating content.
Martin Luther King Jr. once declared, “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t walk run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then , but by all means keep moving.” While you may not be able to soar now you can take action. Move towards your goal of being a writer! The tips in this article come from my experience and have proven to have worked for my impossibly busy schedule. Let’s now jump into these five actionable and simple strategies to help you write now!
Be prepared to sacrifice
“Wait! I thought you said these were actionable and simple steps. Right away you are asking me to give up something,” you might be thinking now. As much as this fact hurts to hear, it is necessary to learn. To love something [and someone] it involves a sacrifice. Foregoing the latest Netflix original series, shopping spree, or having to say “no” to one of your kids activities will be painful. I struggled mightily with watching just one episode of the latest series so I could have time to write daily.
Since my decision to leave my full-time job to pursue writing as a career, I have made several sacrifices: our family gave up eating fast food, limited television time, and I will be working a night job to help the bills until I can write full-time from home. This decision was not made lightly. Writing proved to be healing and therapeutic as reached a low point in my life in 2015. If after some deliberation you realize your gift to the world is to write, realize this tremendous joy does come with a price—sacrifice. But it is well worth it.
Narrow and Nest into a Niche
A second tactic to help you write now is to find a niche topic to write about. Ask yourself the following questions: What topic can I talk about for 30 minutes without needing any preparation? What subjects am I already an expert on? Select your writing niche based on either or both of the answers to those questions. My expertise is Catholic theology. I have also developed an interest in writing about anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Finding a niche does not always happen overnight. Yet, you can still start the process of discovering your writing niche now!
Find Five Minutes
Finding time in the day to write can be challenging. I get it! Parenting is incredibly tough. Kids require physical, emotional, intellectual supports to grow and thrive. We all want our kids to grow up into mature and productive citizens. Some days all hell breaks loose. The children turn into frenzied creatures—especially during a full moon! Other times, the children coordinate an executed staggered schedule attack to ensure that you and your spouse never get more than 2 hours consecutive that night.
Don’t let that deter you from your dream to write. Find just 5 minutes per day to write. Schedule it at the exact same time and place in your house to journal or type out your thoughts. If your life is a bit more hectic, allow for flexibility of that 5 minutes to occur at various times. Always make sure you write for an absolute minimum of 5 minutes. When your routine is set, up your time to 10, 15, 30 minutes, or to 1 hour. Consistency is absolutely necessary for traction towards your goal. Move towards your goal of writing a bit each every.
Consume Content Daily
Another simple strategy to develop your writing skills is to consume content from your writing niche daily. Doctors prescribe patients to eat a and balanced nutrition. That same is true for content creators. Creativity does not occur in isolation. Read books, listen to podcasts, watch videos, connect with experts in your desired field of study on LinkedIn.
Use those short drives dropping the kids off at school, running errands, or returning home to listen to podcast episodes or an audio book about your niche subject. During those rare occasions when the kids actually nap or go to bed on time read a book for a few minutes. I have been starting to take a book to the park—even reading just a page or two daily will help build your knowledge in the long run!
Repeat—Key is Consistency
If you made it to this point of the article without interruption I want to congratulate you! Thank you for taking take out of your busy schedule to further your desire to write. My final strategy to help you write right now is simple—repeat strategies 1-4 daily! If you are running low on energy or motivation please message me on LinkedIn or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to help you through any scheduling obstacles and mental roadblocks.
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