How can a single mom start a writing career while working full time and raising kids?
As a person with a lifelong love of writing, I always dreamed of being a writer as a career choice. As I became an adult, life and circumstances have gotten in the way of my writing (i.e., having to keep a full time job to support my kids). As I’ve gotten older, I’m determined to start a side career of writing. Even though my children are older now, that does not make finding time to write any easier! I am going to look at different ways that someone in my situation can find the time to pursue their dream of writing for a living.
If your children are old enough to understand, have a discussion with them about your dream of becoming a writer. Discuss why you want to pursue the project and what you hope to accomplish. Explain what kind of cooperation you need from the children in the process. Encourage your children to discuss their dreams. If your children have any interest in writing themselves, encourage them to write at the same time as you are writing. Compare notes.
Track your schedule. In order to find the time to write, it helps to document how you spend your day. Spend a couple of days tracking everything you do. Identify time wasters, such as watching television. Work with your family to streamline chores. Cutting a few minutes wasted here and there may not seem like much, but if you can arrange your time right, you can put those spare minutes together and give yourself a chunk of time that can be used for writing.
Make writing part of your daily routine. They say it takes around a month of repetition to form a habit. Make writing a habit. Make your writing time a habit for your children as well. Let them know that, during this specific timeframe that you determine, you are not to be disturbed unless absolutely necessary. It will take time and practice, as well as lots of reminders for your children to remember this habit. It takes work on everyone’s part to get into the routine, but once things fall into place, it will be worth it.
Always have a tablet and pen handy. The worst feeling is when inspiration comes out of the blue and you can’t find a scrap of paper to write it on. Carry tablets and pens with you everywhere you go – in your purse, in your car, in the diaper bag or laptop bag.
Use smart phone tools. Sometimes, inspiration hits you out of nowhere. For a busy, working mom, there are many smart phone apps to help you when you have ideas on the run. Apps such as Catch.com or Evernote.com can take text, email, photo, and voice notes on the go, which can later be accessed by your phone or on the web. Another handy app I’ve found is ListNote, which is a voice-to-text app. This comes in handy when you are on the go – simply speak into the microphone and it translates your voice into text, which can later be transferred to a document.
When leveraging your time to pursue your writing dream, don’t forget to schedule yourself some down time – both with and without the children. The biggest struggle in being a single parent is in finding balance between all of the things that matter to you. In your quest to become a writer, just be sure not to burn yourself out.