Friday, July 25, 2014

Anita Hughes: Making Time For Writing

I have written five books and I have five children. These two things may not seem to have much in common but the latter dictates the former - My children's needs affect how I approach my writing. My debut novel, MONARCH BEACH, was released in June 2012 by St. Martin's Press, followed by MARKET STREET and LAKE COMO in 2013. FRENCH COAST and ROME IN LOVE will be released in 2015.

Before I started writing seriously, I imagined that I would set aside time on my computer - when the children were at school or tennis or swimming - and try to make a daily word count. While that is part of it - and I adore sitting at my computer and transporting myself to Rome or Cannes or Lake Como where my books are set - I have discovered one of the most important parts of writing is doing absolutely nothing - a hard feat to accomplish when you have children.

The majority of my writing is done when I just let my mind be still. I think up plot points, write dialogue in my head, visualize scenes and locations. None of this can be done at the computer and it is very difficult to accomplish if you have children asking where is there tennis racquet or to please sign something for school.

So I have developed a routine that works well. I walk forty minutes every day. I don't listen to music or talk on the phone, I just let my mind focus on the story and characters. I go to the grocery store daily - I find doing the same thing every day allows me to spend more time in my head. (As long as I don't have to purchase something from an aisle I don't usually visit). And I take the time driving to and from various school activities to immerse myself in my story. (My children are at the age that they spend most of our car trips plugged into headphones or on Instagram).

The last thing I do is try to stop writing whenever a child needs me. The story will always be there but the children will grow up (a few of them already have) and then I will miss the interruptions to look at a book report or make a school lunch.

I feel very lucky to have my children and my writing and making time for both is a wonderful challenge.  What kinds of challenges do you face to make time for the things you love to do?  Leave a comment for a chance to win one of my books!

***Anita's winner is Petite!  Please email with your mailing details!***


dstoutholcomb said...

I do most of the shuttling for our the kids because my husband's job is over an hour away.

traveler said...

Making time for my daily walks in the foothills is necessary and important since my recovery from breast cancer depends upon building up my strength and stamina. Having 4 grandchildren in two years requires my time and strength and when needed which is frequently I am available and gladly helping out.

Lil said...

My erratic work schedule makes it difficult to plan. I am on call as well as my regular work hours. Am still able to work in reading since books and ereaders are portable, thank goodness.

petite said...

Time is precious for me so I try to stay organized and help my friends and family as much as possible. In between dog sitting for my son and assisting with his girls life is busy but productive and rewarding.

erin said...

I've actually gotten better at managing my time and reserving time for myself :) It usually consists of me say and meaning no and turning off the phone. Congrats on the newest release and thanks for sharing!

Lory Lee said...

I'm working from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. that's Mon. - Fri. Two of the things I gave up for the first few months was reading and visiting your Blogsite. So now, I'm making sure that I can at least read a book every week and visit the site. I miss doing it so much. :(