"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!
2018 Goals Met (and Not)
I fell short on a few goals in 2018. I did not submit 20 queries. I did not publish 18 blog posts. I did not write 12 drafts – that’s the one that hurts the most. Here's what I accomplished:
read 350 new picture books
reviewed 52 books on Amazon
participated in 15 webinars
submitted 15 queries
drafted 11 manuscripts
wrote 9 blog posts
entered 2 writing contests
read 2 craft books
attended 1 writing retreat – Big Sur!!!
2019 Goals Made
I struggled with goals this year. I want them. I need them. But, I also want to give myself the flexibility to adjust my goals throughout the year based on what I need. I don’t want to specify a number of picture books to read, webinars to attend, queries to submit, or reviews to write. My priority is establishing new writing routines so I can get back to the writing, specifically, new drafts that excite me, rewrites to breakthrough revision slumps, and exercises and prompts to spark creativity.
My 2019 goals include:
It's Time for Susanna Leonard Hill's 8th Annual Halloweensie Contest!
This contest has special significance for me. After posting last year's entry about a new sibling surprise, I went into labor and delivered my son! I look forward to actually reading other entries this year. Thank you Susanna for a wonderful tradition!
2018 Prompt: Write a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for children 12 and under using the words shiver, cauldron, and howl.
When we moved on Halloween, nobody warned us about the house on the hill with blue shutters and a white picket fence.
Purple lights blinked and pumpkin grins glowed. The doorbell howled like a wolf. A witch with a cauldron opened the door.
“Trick or treat!”
We reached into the cauldron for a treat, but got a trick instead. We shrieked and shivered at the horror in our hands as we sprinted home.
“Did you get any candy?” Mom asked.
We shook our heads and opened our hands. Instead of sweets, the house on the hill gave out…carrots.
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