Question for Mom's Who Write...

Updated on February 28, 2011
R.D. asks from Richmond, VA
12 answers

HOW do you stay focused on your story idea? I have an entire box (okay, a FEW boxes) full of unfinished, unpublished 'work'. Every so often I'll sift through the box, read something, think 'hey, this isn't half bad!', write a little more, then get sidetracked from our busy lives, and back into the box it goes. I just had a fresh idea and began writing, but my anxiety of it never being finished is kind of pushing me back from letting the creative juices flow. Enough is enough, I want to finish something! Lot's of somethings! How do you make the time and dedicate yourself to your writing projects?? This is kind of my part time job/hobby... it's a good thing it's not my full time job because I would have fired myself!

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So What Happened?

GREAT advice so far, keep it coming ladies! On a side note, I absolutely can not type when I'm writing. I have to WRITE it. I used to dictate notes, but my little handheld thingy died, and I replaced that with writing notes to myself on my hand if need be, LOL! Technology seems to get in the way for me; hence my boxes ;)

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answers from Denver on

I agree with everyone else, set a designated time to write. This is easier said than done and I feel like I end up spending all day on the computer, researching, writing out character analysis, planning out plot lines and then very little writing-- but to me this is all the same thing. I also try and get at least a few pages done every day, even if they get deleted the next day, at least I wrote something. Facebook is a huge distraction, as is Mamapedia, but I bounce back and forth. For me, I also need inspiration and I've always said I have to read what I want to write to be able to write it. So I read, a lot, and after I finish something it gets my brain working and I can focus on my own work again. I am also focused on one project at a time, and that helps focus my energy. Occasionally I'll think of another plot line or scene or something for something I'm not exclusively focused on, and I'll take a moment to jot that down so I don't forget, but it gets saved in its it own folder and I go back to my main body of work. But keep writing!! It will help you be productive and its the only way I stay sane in a world of Thomas, Barbie, playdates and house cleaning.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Discipline is key. If you don't have a publisher or editor breathing down your back, set deadlines for yourself, and write something everyday, even when you're not necessarily inspired to do so.

So for example, no matter what, from 10 pm to 11:30 pm, you write a minimum of 4-5 paragraphs, even if you hate what you're putting on paper/screen. Don't worry about editing, or it being perfect until later. Just let things flow.

For creative writers, this isn't as fun and can mean serious rewriting and editing later, but I have found this method is a great way to push through roadblocks.

I find that the finish product is so awful, that the editor in me gets motivated to "fix" the problems. Next thing you know, voila! Nicely finshed product!

Pick one project at a time. I also recommend computers instead of boxes. It's easier to edit and manage manuscripts this way.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I found trying to find an hour here or there didn't work for me. I need a good three hour chunk of time. So I told my husband that one night a week was his night with the kids. He makes sure he comes home early and I leave the house by 6:30. I go to the library with my laptop, don't connect to the internet and work until 10pm. This arrangement is also good for our relationship because he is supporting me in something that is important to me. I also set page goals each week. If I don't get 4 pages done in my 3 hour chunk I spend 2 hours on the one morning my 2 year old goes to day care. It means the house is a bit dirtier than I would like but my heart is happier. The most important step for me was deciding that writing was as important in my life as everything else I do.

I also take a small notebook and a pen with me everywhere I go. Then as I'm in the grocery store, changing a diaper, pushing the stroller if I have an idea or think of a good way to phrase something I can write it down and build on it at my next writing session.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I work well under pressure. I need a deadline to really stick to. So, set yourself goals but think of them as deadlines. Add the pressure of telling someone to keep you accountable. For instance, tell your best friend or husband you will have it ready for them to read in 2 weeks. Then you have to stick to it. Set rewards for yourself. ex: I can take a nap when I have finished 2 chapters. When I finish the final draft of this short story I will buy myself that pretty new purse.

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answers from Portland on

Staying on topic/theme: I have found that the "box" method no longer works for me, but a laptop does. This makes what I am working on immediately accessible and allows me to shift back to my 'writers mind' in less time.

As for time, I am not one of those "I woke up every morning at 5 a.m." dedicated sorts of people. I am more of the "I pay for childcare 3 afternoons a week, after my work" type.Primarily, this time is used to close/clean my preschool and prep for the next day, but I usually have about 1.5-2 hours remaining to work as I see fit. The biggest discipline for me is NOT getting online! Then, I try to go back to what I'm working on, reread the last page or so, and try to get back into writing. Some days it's great, and some days, I decide that I'm just uninspired. C'est la vie!

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answers from Miami on

So refreshing to know I am not the only one with this problem. Seriously, my computer is loaded with half started-not finished stories! I have a file folder and a spiral notebook with "ideas" that have gone nowhere so far. I wish I had some great advice for you but honestly, I'm in the same boat. I started a "novel" years ago....about 10,000 words into it...still waiting to be worked on. The thing is I am busy. Full time SAHM mom to 3 children and I'm pregnant with our "bonus" baby, due in about 8 weeks! This was the year my youngest was to start kindergarten and my free time was about to begin. Ha, so much for my plans, God had other plans for me! Good luck in your writing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

If any of it is non fiction, get a book on getting published, and follow guidelines for a proposal, which is what you need first. Much less daunting than writing a whole book! And you have to schedule your time to include your real life duties AND writing time. If it's fiction, write away every day until you feel one story nagging you the most and then focus on that one in your disciplined schedule. Forcing yourself to write will make it easier to feel creative once you're in the groove, even if it's only an hour in the morning or at night when the house is quiet. Good luck! Not easy!

Oh, and I forgot to say-go OUT to write! I do the hour or so at night or morning thing because I'm usually the only one home. It often leads to an extra hour or two into the night, or I get up an hour or two earlier if I'm really in a groove, and the hours do add up believe it or not even without the option for consecutive days with no other obligations. But if my husband's in town? FORGET IT! I'm at a cafe for 3 hours minimum per day, uninterrupted, with a yummy coffee, doing nothing but writing and taking bathroom breaks. Pick a window where you'd be allowed to escape, and get away from home. Hire a sitter if you can afford it. It feels awesome.

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answers from Washington DC on


Write out your story line. Build your characters and then let the words flow.

If it's in a journal - try to take the time to start typing it up - this may help get you distracted from your wedding anxiety (well, not anxiety - but the stresses of your cycle, etc!!) and help you out immensely!!!


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answers from Pittsburgh on

I think it will involve carving out a chunk of uninterrupted time--as do most non-mom activities!

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answers from Sacramento on

I'm a professional writer, so I have a set schedule. You might find that's helpful in your situation. Consider giving yourself deadlines as if you were working for a client.

Also, I know I do my best work when I have a large block of time in which to write, not just "here and there" time. Is there any way to give yourself more solid blocks of time to write?

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answers from Modesto on

You probably have to go to a cabin in the woods and lock yourself down. I suppose that's what quite a few authors end up doing. I used to love to write too.... I think maybe one day when I'm retired, I'll catch up on my box of stuff as well.

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answers from Victoria on

My kids go to granny on Sunday afternoon & husband goes does his hobby so I get about 4 hours to write & through the week I use driving time to brain storm & I use my phone to verbally dictate notes. Working on a novel and no where near being finished, but slowly evolving.

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