This week my guest is author Louise Walters, who shares how she finds time to write, edit and publish while looking after her 5(!!) children. Hats off to Louise. I am impressed, and vow to stop watching any more addictive TV crime dramas or twisty thrillers. Soon.
Given this is a subject close to my heart, I may have a few more authors on this later on.
Guest Post by Louise Walters
When Jennie asked me to appear on her blog and sent me a list of topics I could choose from to write about, this is the one that leapt out at me. It’s an ever-present concern of mine as a writer, editor and publisher. How the hell do I find the time to work? I have five kids, three of whom are under 12… and only one of them attends school! The other two are home educated, which, as you can imagine, takes up a lot of my time.
I’ll start with the obvious stuff. I don’t watch much TV, and I certainly don’t get bogged down in watching regular stuff like soap operas. I don’t have Netflix either, as that does seem to be a time drain for an awful lot of people. I’m a casual TV viewer and rarely make a point of watching anything.
I’ve also learned not to procrastinate (much). My writing time is precious and one of the best ways to guard it is to make the most of every minute. So I try to do this. Sometimes it is literally a matter of minutes. It goes a bit like this: Kids have a swimming lesson, so that’s 30 minutes to work. Kids have done their maths this morning – great, they can now play/read/watch TV/draw, and I will work for an hour. (My kids are all now old enough to understand I need my work time, and that makes a huge difference. It was much harder with babies and toddlers!)
If we are out and about, which we frequently are as home educators, I can take work with me. Their gymnastics class is one hour. One hour to myself to work. If I can’t fit in any work during the day, I work when I get home. Often that means doing a couple of hours in the evenings. It’s really no different to having a full time job, and I count myself very fortunate that I can fit all my work around my family commitments, and I have no childcare issues or expenses.
It just never seems to occur to us that writing men have these concerns, and I reckon that’s because… well, most of the time, they probably don’t!
I also make use of weekends, and I often work on both Saturdays and Sundays. Yes, some family time is sacrificed, but as we home educate we do spend a lot of time together, and none of us are truly missing out. It’s really all about developing a life style that works for you as a writer and for your family. A supportive partner helps, and mine is fantastic. He takes on more than his fair share of the housework (despite working long hours himself) which makes a huge difference.
I do think this “time to write” issue is more often than not applied to women. Not many men get asked, “How do you juggle writing and family life?” It just never seems to occur to us that writing men have these concerns, and I reckon that’s because… well, most of the time, they probably don’t! But I don’t like to dwell on that. My life is how it is, I’ve made my decisions, I have a large family. Now it’s up to me to manage my writing career and my family life. It’s a balancing act, but it can be done. Good luck with yours (and turn off that TV)!
Author bio: Louise Walters
Author of Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase (Hodder 2014), now published in 15 languages, and A Life Between Us (Matador/Louise Walters Books 2017). My third novel The Road to California will be published in 2018 under my imprint, Louise Walters Books.
Info & links
A Life Between Us on Amazon UK
So, do male writers in general have the same issues about combining writing and family life? And is it really that hard managing to combine the two? Comments welcome!