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Making the Minutes Count – 4 Tips to Write More When You Have No Time

Say hello to guest blogger Tarina Deaton who tells us how to make the most of our time…

 

“Where do you find the time?”

I am asked this question a lot. Let me back up and explain why I am asked that question.

I am active duty military, so “I work full-time” is an understatement. I’m a single mom of six-year-old twins. I volunteer in my military community and with my kids’ school. There are only 24-hours in the day (believe me, I keep checking to see if any have been added) and most of those are already accounted for when I get a few minutes to write.

So where do I find the time?

Carry a notebook. I ALWAYS carry a notebook and pen/pencil and I do a lot of my writing by hand (I have a notebook for each book I write). I only write the important things — trigger words to remind me where the characters are; any important actions (a kiss, a physical reaction, etc) that need to happen; and the conversation. I usually don’t include dialogue tags. When I write everything out in my notebook, it might look like this:

 

F – What are you doing here?

 

M – I came for you

 

F- Steps back. You wasted your time.

 

M – Steps closer, tries to touch her face. No I didn’t. I’d give all my time for you.

This isn’t an actual scene I’m writing, but you get the gist. Quick and basic. I don’t worry about tense, I don’t worry about descriptions, I only write the important things. I might hand-write 800-1000 words, but when I sit down to type them and add all the things I skipped while hand-writing, I’ve got 1800-2500 words.

 

Ballet class

Take every opportunity to write. Use every spare minute you have to write.

  • Waiting in the after-school pick up line (10-15 minutes).
  • Staff meetings where I have to be present, but the topic doesn’t involve me or require my input (60-90 minutes) (P.S. I hate staff meetings).
  • Lunch break (30 mins).
  • My son’s baseball practice (60-90 mins, 2x a week).
  • My daughter’s ballet and theater classes (60 mins, 2x a week).
  • Waiting for an appointment (oil change; doctor’s office; dentist; mechanic; etc, etc). Amy Daws wrote an entire book at a tire shop.
  • If I’m stuck in traffic, I will dictate to my phone. There are apps for this of course, but if you have an iPhone you can dictate directly to Pages and save it to your iCloud.All that combined is anywhere between 4-6 hours of writing time a week. I’m still doing what I need to do – I can’t get out of work and I have to take my kids to practice – but instead of doodling during staff meetings or surfing on my phone during my kids’ practice, I’m using that time to write.[Pickup line picture   Bio: Tarina is an award winning author of Contemporary and Military Romance. She uses her almost 25 years in the Air Force as inspiration for her characters and stories. She’s a single mom of young twins and her favorite hobby is napping. She has delusions of retiring from the military to be a stay-at-home-mom and full-time writer.You can find all her books here. Sign up for her newsletter at http://eepurl.com/b3ABd1.Join her FB reader group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/tarinasdeats.
  • Bottom line: There is time. It may not be multiple hours in a day or the time full-time writers have, but it’s there in small increments — you just need to take advantage of those few minutes throughout the day to write.

Get off the internet! If your phone is in your hand and you’re not posting about your books, your business, or answering emails that have to be answered right then and there, you’re wasting time. If putting your phone down is hard, there are apps that will block your wifi so you have no choice but to get off the internet.

Waiting in the car line

Play dates. Play dates are a life saver for parents. There’s two hours right there. The flip side to taking my kids over to their friends’ house is that I have to reciprocate. I use that time to get some things done around the house — I’m watching the kids, but they are thankfully at that age where the can pretty much entertain themselves. If you can’t schedule a play date, take your kids to one of those indoor play areas or trampoline parks as a “treat” (for you both!). If the weather is nice, take them to the play ground and tell them to go run around. You’re kids get tired and you get some writing done. Score!

Coffee break

Bio: Tarina is an award winning author of Contemporary and Military Romance. She uses her almost 25 years in the Air Force as inspiration for her characters and stories. She’s a single mom of young twins and her favorite hobby is napping. She has delusions of retiring from the military to be a stay-at-home-mom and full-time writer.

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You can find all her books here. Sign up for her newsletter at http://eepurl.com/b3ABd1.

 

Join her FB reader group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/tarinasdeats.

 

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