Finding Time to Write: Guest Blog by Alisse Lee-Goldenberg

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The lovely Jackson Baer has asked me to write a guest blog for him on how I, as a writer, fight the urge to procrastinate and get to writing.

I am a very busy woman. I am a property manager, am active in the Toronto musical theatre scene as a props manager and occasional actress, and I raise triplets. I like to say that there are twenty-four usable hours in the day, but managing them so I can get everything done is not always easy. When my children were first born I became nocturnal for a while. Raising triplets is anything but easy. My husband helped care for them during the day and I took the night shift. It was easier to just stay up all night with them due to the constant feedings. I quickly learned that at night, no one calls the house, and there is absolutely nothing good on television. So for me, between bottles, diapers, and sterilizing, this was the perfect time to work on my stories. Within the first couple of months, I had my first book The Strings of the Violin edited, and a first draft of the sequel largely complete. It’s very easy to get things done when you have no distractions.

Now that the children are two and a half, things are very different. I wrote my next book Bath Salts a Zombie Novel in a very different way. I did this as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I have learned that if I don’t have large chunks of time, I need a deadline looming over my head in order to ensure I get done what I need to get done. (That, and very strong coffee.) Procrastinating is very easy to do. There are far too many distractions around. I have three very good, very loud, very messy ones running around every day between the hours of 8:00 and 7:30. When they’re asleep, there’s the television, Facebook, Candy Crush, and I still need to find time to see my husband, and not neglect our dog Sebastian. For me, I need to work on my time management. So, I try to pretend that every day is NaNoWriMo. I give myself deadlines and strive to meet them. I am very strict with this and work hard towards meeting them. It’s as if I give myself homework assignments: Chapter Five is due by Tuesday. Every few words count towards finishing the next book, the next outline. Even if you just pound out one sentence, that’s still one sentence closer to completing your next story, and that day is not a failure. For the most part, when my kids are awake, I’m a mother, not a writer. When they’re sleeping, that’s my time to shine with my computer, and research books, and my very strong coffee.

So far, this approach is working quite well for me. I have a book due out this October with Pandamoon Publishing. It’s a Young Adult Fantasy novel called Sitnalta. I have a fully outlined sequel for it planned out with the first 7,000 or so words typed. I have the second draft of the sequel to The Strings of the Violin finished and almost ready to be sent to the publisher, and my friend An Tran and I are at work on the sequel to Bath Salts. I have a million ideas always spinning around in my head for the next story. It’s just a matter of having the discipline to write them down. I think that so long as you can force yourself to spend at least a few minutes a day just jotting down ideas, or putting words to paper, everything will get finished eventually. Once this becomes habit, it’s a hard habit to break. This, and I’m counting down the days until preschool. Then I will have my mornings back to really spend some daylight hours on my craft!

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