"Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book." - Stéphane Mallarmé
After a year of poor sleep with a nursing infant, my body is trying to make up for lost time! Waking at 5 a.m. to hopefully get one hour to write feels unrealistic and insufficient. Plus, the kids sense mommy is stirring and wake even earlier! Though my kids’ wake time is earlier than I would like, their bedtime is now early enough to provide me with 2.5 hours of writing time at night. The only problem is … I am not a night owl. My eyes are fluttering by 8 pm after a full day with the kids. Throw in some tantrums, intense emotions, and major clinginess, and I am wiped of all motivation.
Some quick research revealed that (1) early bird vs night owl productivity is genetic, (2) there is more information available on increasing morning productivity rather than evening/night productivity, and (3) there is no “best” time of day to write. This article compares the advantages of morning vs. night writing:
Sounds like writers need both! A little research led me to the following strategies to maximize my writing time whether night or day.
I have found that writing brings writing. When I feel a sense of accomplishment or get in the flow, it is easier to make the most of my time the next day. Last night was one of those nights that I found it difficult to focus on even the simplest tasks. I put on a movie and afterward, was able to get some work done and prioritize my 3-task post-it list for the next day. I woke up after about 7 hours of sleep and set my timer for 10 minutes to write morning pages, another 10 minutes to meditate, and another 10 for a writing prompt. I felt amazing all morning and looked forward to the writing time I would get later in the day.
If you have any tips on increasing productivity for writers, please share!
I set the goal this year to review one book each week to support fellow KidLit writers. I am one week ahead with 18 posted on Amazon. I have not, however, been as productive with sharing those reviews here. In fact, I have not been particularly productive with my writing this month.
What have I been doing?
Falling in love with my new baby!
Love Is (2017) by Diane Adams, art by Claire Keane
This book is about the love that grows as a girl learns to care for a duckling. With text like “holding something fragile” and “noisy midnight feedings,” it was easy to draw a connection to my new little guy. I fell in love with the poetic text and tender illustrations. It is also a great book to teach my daughter about caring for and loving her baby brother!
Raising an imaginative preschooler!
I Have a Balloon (2017) by Ariel Bernstein, art by Scott Magoon
My 3-year old’s favorite game is called “What do you like to do?” in which toys ask one another this very question to kick off some imaginative play. My daughter always selects a few toys and asks which I would like to be. Just like the characters in Bernstein's clever, debut book, my daughter always wants whichever toy I choose. After hearing my selection, she says, “that’s my favorite” and gives me a different toy! We also relate to the book’s disclaimer that it is not about sharing as my daughter reclaims all her old baby toys brought out for the new little one. In addition to being relatable on multiple levels, I love the strong character voices that are developed through dialogue only and the illustrations that are perfect for this humorous book.
Troubleshooting bedtime drama!
Go Sleep in Your Own Bed! (2017)
by Candace Fleming, art by Lori Nichols
If only our bedtime woes were as easily solved as those in Fleming’s book! I love the illustrations (those end pages!), onomatopoeia, repetition, energy, and read-aloudability of this guessing game book.
Things To Do (2017) by Elaine Magliaro, art by Catia Chien
Beautiful, concrete imagery explores unique perspectives of various objects a girl encounters throughout her day. This wonderful collection of poetry begs readers to personify everyday objects and consider what things they might do, which is a great activity to spark any writer’s imagination! With very little time to get BIC (butt in chair) these days, I’m grasping on to any form of “writing” I can – including collecting ideas from everyday experiences and studying the craft by reading as many picture books as I can with my little ones.
A Look Back on 2017
Despite the political and social climate, 2017 was a great year for me both personally and professionally. My most significant accomplishment was born October 28 and my other turned 3 in December! On the professional front, achievements include:
read 465 picture books
participated in 31 webinars
submitted 24 queries
drafted 15 manuscripts
wrote 12 blog posts
entered 5 writing contests
read 3 craft books
awarded 1 amazing mentorship
Here are the steps I took in 2017 that most supported my writing career.
Steps Forward for 2018
This year I have created a vision board to support my writing goals, wishes, and intentions. I have begun bullet journaling to stay organized and focused. And while my word of 2017 was “creativity,” I have set 2018’s word as “quality.” Here are specific career goals for 2018.
Let’s go 2018!
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