Author / Mom: how to find time to write your *dang* novel

I said it before, knowing our own writer’s rhythm is crucial to be able to find good quality time to write.

Oh did I do some extensive research on the topic!
In today’s post, I share ALL the tested tips I found and now use to find time to write.
All the tips. In one post. WootWoot!

So, yes, all that time spent on research, it was worth it, but if I took the time to write instead, darn… I would have three books ready to query right now.
I’m being a little overdramatic here. And lying. Yeah.
I most certainly would have used that time to play video games.

Thing is, and you certainly heard that one before, writing novel was a hobby for me. Having a novel traditionally published was beautiful, unattainable, dream I would sporadically try to make come true.

I should have thought about what I really wanted to do with all those drafts waiting to happen before trying to find time to write.
When I got very darn, turning my life upside down serious about it, finding time to write was a little less hard.
After working on it for a while, trying different methods those super Mom bloggers were all talking about, failing, trying again, I finally succeeded, at getting my sh*t together and find time to write.

Author / Mom: know thyself, writer!

I said it before, knowing our own writer’s rhythm is crucial to be able to find time to write.
What works for one writer can be a horrible pain in the bottom for another.
Also, I would recommend doing something I find really, really hard to do: stop the comparison game.
That author writes way faster than you. That author published ten books before its 25th birthday. That author has 255K followers on YouTube.
Enough with that sh*t!
Focus on finding time to work on your novel and follow your own rhythm.

Therefore, all the tips down below come with a warning: don’t use it if it doesn’t fit your writer’s rhythm.

Tested by an author mom Tips&Tricks to find time to write

  • Get organized, Mama
    I hate this one. Often, it feels so hard or impossible. Plus, young kids are demanding and things may change fast.
    Still, I :
    – Cook meals ahead of time.
    – Divided house chores between family members (my kiddo is now old enough to play « pick up your toys »; I know, it won’t last).
    Oh, and important message to the significant others, male, female, non-binary: if you live in the house, you help taking care of the house chores, even if you are the sole provider of money. Understood? This beautiful new mama with whom you’re lucky to share your life with ain’t your mama. Got it? Moving on.
    – Divided playtime time after supper between hubby-to-be and me, so I can (try to) get an hour of solid writing time between supper and bath time.
  • Ask for help
    This one, I barely use, but I wish I could use more (both our family lives far away and everything). But when a big house chore lies ahead, we call for backups. That way, I can manage to keep the writing session schedule up and running all week instead of trying to do ten things at once.
  • Don’t obsess over the small house things
    Like finding your living room floor underneath a sea of toys (grandma is giver).
    That one, I just can’t live with. I need a minimum of tidiness to function. On the other end, I’ve learned to leave the grown-up’s dishes aside for the night; as long as kiddo stuff is clean and ready-to-go, I am too… now.
  • Create a writing space
    We both work from home. Hubby-to-be works every weekday night, which means the bed is transformed into my writing space.
    I do have a proper desk now, after years of working on the kitchen table. And it did make all the difference in the world. I have a dedicated space for my craft books, my dictionaries, my office supplies.
    Since I’ve been working full-time from home, I use the writing space less for creative writing.
  • Create a (flexible) writing routine
    Flexibility. With young kids around, that word can be used in a lot of different ways.
    Up until 24 months, a kid’ play-eat-sleep may change every week, every two weeks, every two months. In short, the routine is to adapt to fast-growing kiddo.
    A flexible writing routine is a must.
    Now, to the brand new mama’s out there, to successfully create a writing routine, and by writing routine I mean a solid two to three hours of solo, you have to involve a third party.
    The significant other, even if he/she worked all week, poor-tired-provider-blah-blah-blah (indeed yes, there was a debate in this house about it, yes, yes, yes), has to take care of his/her kid while you write.

That is it for my mama specific tips on how to find time to write a novel.
I am curious to know your tips to find time for writing, so please comment down below.

Thank you so much for reading. Find me on twitter or take a look at my Pinterest Writing Boards, or keep in touch and subscribe to this blog.

Diary of a new writing project. Day 23: falling behind

This week, it’s just hard to work on the new novel.

This week word count goal: 25 000 words
Word count so far: 14 314 words

This week, it’s just hard to work on the new novel.
When I started working on the novel tonight, day job was still stressing me out, end of the month bills were still stressing me out, heck, my mother’s upcoming birthday was stressing me (thank the big G upstairs, we bought her present already!).
Or nothing happens, or everything happens at the same time, as we say in my little North-American francophone bubble.

I still managed to get the story out of a complicated knot of P.O.V., and put it back on its funny track.
It is more of a comedy almost-contemporary YA novel than a paranormal YA novel after all… Or so it is how it looks like now!

I quit while I started having fun writing it again. A fun writing tip I got from raising my kiddo. Stop the fun game while it still fun, or the game will cease to be fun.
The trick is working well. I feel much more positive about all the stress-y stress stuff.

I’m wrapping it up for today. Thanks for reading! Find me on twitter or take a look at my Pinterest Writing Boards.

Until next time, dear fellow writers!

Writing a novel: How to know if your novel idea is working?

A publisher said to me once, in a rejection letter, that the characters in my novel were clichés. Another publisher, in yet another rejection letter, said my novel was too classic, not original.

Since then, whenever I start a new writing project, you bet your sweet bottom I wanna make sure my novel idea is working.

A publisher said to me once, in a rejection letter, that the characters in my novel were clichés. Another publisher, in yet another rejection letter, said my novel was too classic, not original.

Since then, whenever I start a new writing project, you bet your sweet bottom I wanna make sure my novel idea is working. And working well too.

How to know your novel idea stands out for the best?
It depends.
Like you didn’t know that already! But, the thing is, it does depend.

I consider two main factors to begin with:

  • novel genres
  • type of novel (retelling, original fiction, autofiction)

What to research:

  • The targeted readership (age, country)
  • The editorial bottom-line of the publishers in the chosen genres
  • The published books in your genres, from now up to as far as you are willing to go in the past.

Even if I pretty much write for readers from age 9 to 109 (everybody is a Young Adult this days), I still keep in touch, read a ton, follow the news, check out the best-selling list every month on big and small bookstores websites and newspaper.
What is hot and new now won’t work anymore in 18 months or so. Beware, the book world is a business…

Ok, basic knowledge gathered. Next level please!

What to do next?

Read as many books as you can in your genre of choices.
While reading the most recent novels is critical – in order for us to see what is « working » right now, I also lean towards old titles.
And, I also make a point to go back several books decades sometimes. It is a good learning experience, I find, to see how literature for youngster readers, for example, evolved in the past twenty years or so.
I recently read a Middle-Grade commercial ghost-written book from 1984 and boy, oh boy, am I glad women and LGBTQ+ rights are being taken more into account these days.

And then… I write a resume of the story and I also try to sell it in one line or two, as if it was a movie.
That way, I can see the tropes I’m gonna use and make sure I used them in a fun, original, stand-out way.
I don’t mean something mind-blowing over the top crazy. I just mean, you know, what if an orphan wizard was to meet the daughter of a famous presidential couple during a strike for climate, and they discover they are both there to protect the leader of the strike from a terrible prophecy/treat.
Suuure, it hasn’t been written before.
But, the characters are a bit cliché, plus the set-up is really, really in the right-now, which might not translate well in 18 months from now. Hell, in two months from now.

Writing a resume (synopsis works too, but I hate synopsis) helps me figure out the rough shapes of the bones of the story. I can then see if I’m right into cliché town and I can figure out how to get out of there BEFORE it’s 60 000 words too late.
Like I did.

Also, very, very important: a critique partner (two max) should help work on your manuscript and beta-readers should read the manuscript. Unlike author Bridgid Gallagher in her post on CP’s and beta-readers, family doesn’t count as beta-readers; plus, if they don’t like the manuscript, it will create a weird situation (just trust me on this one).

Thanks for reading. I hope this post helped you.
To all my fellow crazy writers on a quest, a bid thy farewell.
Until next time!

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