I’m A Writer by Eva Gale
Every time I tell people I’m a writer, they ask me how I do it. How do I homeschool six kids (I have seven) and write? Where do I find the time? How do I manage to concentrate in between the kids running, dog barking, the parrot yelling and popcorn flying?
Sometimes I say I don’t know and shrug. I’ve learned that people don’t really want to know the answer in the same way so many people want to write a book but never do. But this once I’ll tell you my writing mantra. Ready? Just say No. And I’m not channeling Nancy Reagan.
We all know there are a million things that pull at us every day for attention, and the only way to navigate the mental onslaught is to prioritize. I’ll share my list with you.
- Kids (this includes homeschooling)
- people (maintaining relationships)
I have this check list on a sticky tab in my brain. Is the husband fed, have clean clothes and emotionally connected? We each give 110 percent to each other, and I’m first on his list so I’m not being the submissive little homemaker here, I’m taking care of my partner in the foxhole as he does me. Are the kids fed, clean, clothed and on point with their schooling? Next comes my writing because if I don’t prioritize it for myself, no one will respect it. Then the house. No one dies upset that they didn’t get the laundry done or the shelves dusted, but I bet they regret not kissing their partner, playing with their kids, stopping to say hello to a friend, or never writing that book.
Believe me, there are many other things that I love doing. I have tons of hobbies, and I enjoy making ATC’s to keep my creative juices flowing (thank you Daisy Dexter Dobbs!) but they hit my priority umbrella and what falls off I let lie. In return of me being disciplined with my priorities, I feel good about what I do accomplish because it’s done well and –this is the most important part- with no reservations or guilt thinking my time could have been better spent.
Exactly how do I do it? I have a day planner and I make lists for what I have to accomplish for the week planned out day by day. What doesn’t get done gets carried over. I make three huge dinners and have two nights of leftovers which shaves huge amounts of time and then I make sure I crank up my crock pot to get myself another couple of nights free. I give my kids chores like putting their own clothes away and feeding the animals. I have no aspirations of being a supermom but rather think of my brood as a team, and we all work together for a main goal, a content life. Here’s a huge one—I limit my outings to what is necessary. I don’t shop every day of the week, I don’t let my kids run our lives with activities. Yes, Our lives. It’s all of us that are affected by scheduled activities. I take notebooks wherever I go, and I have an extra in the car just in case. I keep my documents open all day and try to make blocks of time no less than a half hour for writing. Many of you will be able to take ten minutes here or there and get a page done, but I work my day with the goal of getting big blocks of time, and while I’m doing mindless chores I’m visualizing the scene I’m working on like a movie in my head. I’ve found out that I can write one thousand words in an hour if I manage just that alone.
Believe me when I say that I am lucky beyond words to be able to stay home and do these things, and I fully admit that working outside the home while balancing the husband, kids and house, let alone writing is actually having two full time jobs. All of you that have careers and jobs will have lists different than mine, but I urge you to make that list, keep it to one hand and just say no to all of those seemingly urgent but not necessary time wasters that are luring your eyes away from the prioritize prize, a hopefully guilt free existence and a written book.
Have fun storming the castle.
Eva Gale loves white cupcakes with bitter chocolate frosting, lots of dark roast coffee and six-foot piles of books. She would prefer them all at once, but she takes what she can get. She lives in the farmlands of NJ, with her husband and seven children whom they homeschool. They have one doofus Doberman, a Yellow Naped Amazon named Gizmo, two cats and two Blackberry Hamsters named Mac and PC but are looking to add chickens, guinea hens, bees and Lancashire Heelers to their collection. When she’s not guiding school, she’s writing, weeding the garden or doing endless loads of dishes and laundry.
For more on Eva visit her at http://www.evagale.com