Finding time to write as a busy mom seems impossible. Not only are you keeping a human being alive, but you also have a long list of chores you need to have done daily. I love being a mom. It’s one of the most incredible feelings in the world.
But like you, being a mom isn’t all that I am. I am an author. I’ve always enjoyed writing and coming up with stories to entertain people. When I had my children (3 kids in 4 years) writing—which I did as a hobby then—was put on the back burner.
During the first few years of having my first and second children, there was so much going on that I didn’t really think about my writing. When I gave birth to my last child, my entire universe consisted of being a stay-at-home mom for every single minute of every single day. It was exhausting. I realized I missed writing, having that outlet for my hopes, fears, emotions, creativity, and thoughts.
With three children and a household to take care of, how in the world was I going to find the time to write?
- Create a journal
- Meal Plan and Prep
- Do chores two times per day
- Enlist your children’s help
- Wake up early
- Make writing a priority, not a luxury
Finding Time To Write
Moms have a lot going on, whether you have an infant, toddler, or older kids. Your time is precious and sometimes it can feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done—chores, errands, cook meals, bathe children—and also sit down to write. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, I’m here to help!
Create A Journal
Assess Your Situation
First things first, where is your time going? You may think you know, but you might be surprised once you write down what your day actually consists of. I know I was!
Get a small notebook or some scrap paper and document what you are doing each day for a week.
Now, don’t be scared! This ‘journal’ can be as detailed or as simplistic as you want it to be. The main goal is to find out what you are doing each day, for roughly how long, and to see where you might be able to squeeze in some time to write.
During this week of journaling DO NOT change your daily habits! You are just observing. This week-long journal is meant to show you what you normally do and if you try to modify it after Day One, your journal won’t be accurate. Also, this is not an exercise to make you feel bad or feel that you are somehow wasting your time daily. Throw that nonsense out of the window.
Tips/Advice For Tracking Habits
There are many ways to keep your daily activity journal. You could be minimalistic and mark something generic like:
Chores: 8 am
TV: 10 am
Chores: 11 am
Or you could be more specific:
Wash Dishes: 8-8:30 am
Watch Netflix: 8:30-10:30 am
Clean Living Room: 10:30-11 am
Lunch: 11-11:30 am
Find a way that works best for you. At the end of the week look over your activities for the day. Remember, no judgment is being passed here, simply look through the days and see where it might be possible to squeeze in some writing time.
For me, using a daily planner like the one from Day Designer changed my life for the better. Each page not only has a to-do list but also a breakdown of hours between 5 AM and 9 PM so I could write down exactly what I was doing at the given time and then flip through the week and see where my time was well spent and also where I was maybe slacking or wasting time where I could have been writing (like playing video games or binge-watching Netflix). It was a real eye-opener.
Meal Planning And Prep
Do you find making dinner every day takes up a lot of time? Consider looking into weekly meal planning/prepping to drastically cut down your time in the kitchen. There are also food sites that have a section for quick meals—prepared in 30 minutes or less.
Pick a day of the week (for me, it’s Friday, because we grocery shop on Saturday) to just sit down and plan out your meals for the week. Not just dinner, but there are lots of things you can prep for lunch or breakfast. One of my “go-to’s” for a quick and delicious breakfast is a PB & J overnight oats, made with fresh fruit, chunky peanut butter, milk, and oats. Overnight oats are great for batching and prepping.
Are you finding yourself constantly picking up the house throughout the day? Consider designating a set amount of time each morning and evening to do your daily chores. Sometimes, you won’t have a spotless house. Do not freak out. Allow yourself to accept this inevitability and only pick up twice per day or when you are expecting company. Trust me, your mental health will thank you for it.
Enlist Children’s Help
If you have older children, have them help pick up their toys and make sure they know that they need to clean up one thing before moving on to play with something else. Not only does this help teach them responsibilities at an early age, but it will help you maintain a clean house and give you more time to write.
Consider Waking Up Early
I know this sounds horrific—at least to those of us who are absolutely not morning people—but consider waking up earlier. Even just waking up 10 minutes earlier each day.
Make Writing A Priority
If you are serious about turning your writing hobby into a career, you need to make writing a priority. Now, I don’t mean that you should put writing before your self-care or childcare, but if you want a career in writing, you need to treat it like a business.
Change Your Mindset
Do not think that to be a real writer you need to write every day. In my opinion, that is some truly toxic advice. If you write anything—poems, prose, fan fiction—published or not, you are a writer. And you don’t need to write every single day. There is no page count or word count you must hit. Setting page and word goals are fine, but not necessary, so don’t beat yourself up if you set a writing goal and don’t hit it. Allow yourself to move on.
- Can only squeeze in 15 minutes a day? Great.
- Can only find some time every other day? Awesome.
- Can’t write at all during the week but can set a 3-hour block for the weekends? Terrific.
The important thing is not how long you find to write, but that you are actually finding the time—no matter how much or little—to do something that you enjoy.
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