Posted in Blog tour, Guest Post on February 10, 2014

Today I am lucky enough to have Wendy Tyson join us and give us her thoughts on writing.  Wendy is the author of Killer Image and The Seduction of Miriam Cross, both books I was lucky enough to receive a copy to read and review.  I think Wendy is on a roll with these two and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

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Making Time to Write

I just finished the second novel in the Allison Campbell Mystery Series.  The book is called MURDEROUS LOOKS, and it marks the first time I had to write under a deadline.  Until now, I’ve always had the luxury (and yes, I now realize it was a luxury) of writing at my own pace.  But once you’re under contract, the game changes.  It’s exciting–but it presents a whole new world of time management challenges.

I’m the mother of three boys, work full-time and have an hour-long commute.  One of the questions I hear most often is “How do you find time to write?”  The truth is, I never find time to write–I make it.  And, frankly, some days it’s really, really hard.  Like many of us, I have a million other things vying for my time: lacrosse and soccer games, work demands, dinner-making, laundry, last minute book reports.  You get the picture.

But like anything you feel passionate about, if you want to write, you write.  And so I make the time (and sacrifices) for writing.  Each day.  The same way I make time for brushing my teeth and exercise.  (Okay, maybe not the exercise.)  And with a deadline looming, I realized recently that carving out–and keeping–that writing time was going to be even more critical.

So what’s my advice for aspiring writings who, like me, want to fit writing into a hectic lifestyle?  After much trial and error (read: hair-pulling and tears), I came up with a few things that have helped me along the way:

Take a hard look at how you spend your time.  I’m the queen of procrastination.  When I took an honest look at how I was spending my days, I realized that I’d found time for television shows and mindless Internet surfing–things I could easily sacrifice.  If you really want to write, you may have to give something else up, but chances are, the time is there for the taking.  You’re probably not as busy as you think you are.

Schedule writing sessions–and keep them.  At the time I started writing novels, I had two toddlers at home.  Once they were awake, our house was not a bastion of peace, and I could barely hear myself think much less produce a coherent sentence on the page.  To counter that, and to deal with the fact that I’m useless mentally at night, I decided to write early in the morning.  Figure out a time to write that works for you–and make it a habit.  Can you write at lunchtime?  Early mornings?  An hour before dinner?  Set a time every day and make it a priority.  Sessions don’t need to be long.  Some days I only have 30 minutes to write.  But for those 30 minutes, that’s all I do.

Identify other writing-related tasks and schedule time for them, too.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of activities that writers must do that take them away from writing.  There’s research, editing and proofreading.  Before publication, there are agent query letters to write and send, writers’ groups to attend and writing samples to prepare.  And after a deal is made, there are blog posts to write, promotional materials to create, marketing campaigns to organize, and the all-important social media to master.  If you already have a day that’s full of other important tasks, where do these jobs fit it?  For me, these tasks were best left for evening, when I would typically be sacked out in front of the television.  I’m not writing the Great American Novel at that hour, but I can easily do research, etc. while the kids are asleep or finishing homework.

Engage family and friends.  I asked for my family’s support, and they gave it to me.  When you make something a priority, you’re demanding time for yourself.  That can be hard.  Many of us are used to doing for others around the clock, and asking for “me-time,” especially for something that’s not yet earning income, can feel uncomfortable.  But if this is something you want – if you, like me, need to write – it’s important to make that priority known.  You may be surprised at how encouraging your friends and family will be.

Be patient with yourself.  Writing is a craft that has to be learned and honed over time.  Set realistic goals and remember to enjoy the journey.  Rejection is part of the game.  Many authors have written multiple novels (me included) before getting published.  Impatience can lead to frustration–and frustration can lead to quitting.  But if you want to write, you have to keep going.  Ernest Hemingway said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”  So even when the last thing you want to do is sit your butt in a chair and write–do it.  Keep the pen moving.  Slog along.

Make time for fun.  Most writers write because they love it.  When my work-in-progress begins to feel too much like a chore, I know it’s time to set it aside and do something else.  For me, that something else can be a bike ride or hike with the kids, a family movie night, a weekend away with friends.  It’s important to keep the joy in writing – and in life.  And knowing when to take a short break (and even put that manuscript aside for a bit) can mean fresher writing, a sharper eye and a happier you.

About the Author

Wendy TysonWendy Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers.  Killer Image, published by Henery Press in October 2013, is the first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series.  She has also authored The Seduction of Miriam Cross, published by E-Lit Books, the first in the Delilah Percy Powers mystery series.  Find Wendy at .