We moms tell ourselves a lot of stories. I won’t call them lies because I don’t think any of us are intentionally fibbing. That being said, if there is one major belief that was holding me back from getting my first book done, it was: I don’t have time to write.
And it is a REALLY compelling excuse.
Whether you have one newborn or four teenagers, it’s hard to argue with a mom’s busyness.
- Long sleepless nights
- Endless breastfeeding/bottle cleaning
- Sporting events
- Band concerts
- Parent/teacher conferences
- Eye exams
- Swim lessons
Nevermind the fact that the world expects you to entertain them, discipline them, listen to them, cherish them, and feed them regularly.
It is very easy to be convinced of and consumed by the thought that the only thing you have time for is mothering. I was.
There were days where I hardly managed to eat or shower. So sitting down to write a novel was a hilarious daydream that seemed at best luxurious and at worst stupid. The only fiction in my life, I thought, was the idea that I’d ever manage to write a book in the “raising small kids” season of life.
And yet, when I had an 18-month-old, a seven-year-old and an nine-year-old (plus a part-time job), I wrote my first novel. It wasn’t particularly good (first novels never are). I decided almost immediately after finishing it that it wouldn’t be published. But damn it I had done it. It was just barely over 50,000 words and thus by a pinky toe considered the first draft of a novel. But it was mine and I had “found the time” to do it.
Exposing Your “No Time” Tricks
I’m a firm believer that having no time is a trick every single person in the world plays on themselves. In fact, I don’t believe that there is ANYONE who truly has “no time.”
I would have HATED hearing that. I still kind of hate hearing that. But it’s true.
We all make minute-by-minute, day-by-day choices about how we spend our time. And we all make some choices that benefit us in no way at all. There are the obvious baddies: social media, Netflix, etc. Then there are the “it’s good, but eats up a lot of my day” time sucks like: an overly well-kept house, three-course meals, hosting events, overbooking yourself and/or your kids for activities. And then there are the unavoidable life needs: sleep, work (whether it be in an office or staying home with children), health/wellness.
Inside each area is a lot that could be trimmed back. A lot that could stand an evaluation to determine if it deserves as much importance as it is being given.
Soon I will be releasing a mini-course on “How to Create an Hour A Day Just for Writing,” (if you’re interested sign up for my newsletter here to be the first to know) but for now, I’d like to encourage you to apply the “Half Method” to your life.
How much time could you get back if you spent half as much time on:
- Social media (set up ScreenTime)
- TV/movies (set a timer/limit to one episode)
- Laundry and dishes (buy paper plates occasionally and divvy out chores to your partner and kids)
What would your life look like if your kids were in half as many sports/activities? If you said yes to only the invites you REALLY wanted to go to? If you forced a little more personal accountability on older children and asked for support from your partner and friends and loved ones, what would your time look like then?
There will definitely be seasons where you are busy and overwhelmed. Sometimes there just isn’t time for the extras. But even in the newborn phase (when I wrote my second book) naps are bound to happen. Or you can dictate scenes into your notes app while nursing. And even in hectic years of drop-offs and pick-ups, you can steal 20-minutes in a parking lot while you sip a smoothie to type out some killer dialogue.
Before you ever type a word, as a writer mom, you have to shift your mindset to a place where you believe there is time for your writing. Maybe not every day. Maybe not even every week. But it’s there, and we’ll find it together!