Today I'm handing the reins over to P.R. Newton.
Tips For Parents Writing With Young Ones Around
P.R. Newton is an author of both a non-fiction work and a fiction novel, Shattered Embrace. She has two young boys with special needs, one who is still too young for school, making writing a daily challenge.
1 –There is never going to be a perfect time. The kids are going to get sick. They may be napping one week, then not napping the next. School schedules change. Sports and school demand a lot of parents. Appointments and errands can seem never ending. There will simply never be the perfect time to write, but if you want it badly enough you will carve out moments.
2 – When you get time to write, focus and have a game plan. Are you editing? Working on a tricky scene? Outlining? Whatever you are doing, if you have some precious childfree time to write, focus and make the most of those moments. The best way to do this is to have a plan, know what you are going to work on during that time, and do only that. Oh and turn off the internet!
3 –Figure out your strengths and weaknesses. What comes easy that you can do quickly and efficiently? Save those tasks for moments you can carve out of your day, those five minute windows that can really add up. For tough tasks, save those for when you have more time and can focus. For myself, that’s editing. I need time to get into the right mindset and to focus for extended periods while editing, so I save that work for when I have a sitter.
4 – Emotions will spill over. Try and compartmentalize. Shattered Embrace is a very emotional story and while writing many of the scenes I would take on those emotions, sadness, fear, stress, anxiety, grief. It can be extremely hard to change gears. I find a great way to shed the emotions so I can be present for my family, is to end those really emotional writing sessions ten minutes early and go for a walk or shower. The goal is to clear my mind, so I don’t bring those emotions to my family.
5 – Become an organization machine. I create calendars that I get printed and laminated. The calendars have all of our schedules (including school, sports, work and my writing promos and deadlines) and because they are laminated I can use erasable markers to update them. I hang them near our kitchen so the whole family knows what is coming up. I have a separate schedule for meal planning and grocery shopping.
6 – Give up the idea of perfection. I fretted over Shattered Embrace for two years after it was essentially finished. I wanted it perfect. And with every look I found new things to change. It would still be sitting on a hard drive if I hadn’t finally decided to let it go and send it into the world.
7 – Write. It sounds kind of silly, but I meet so many people who tell me they have stories they want to write. They look at me as if I should offer some great insight, some astounding secret that will help them achieve their dream. There isn’t one except write. I wrote the first chapter of Shattered on the back of check out receipts at my local library while my kids played in the kids section. I kept checking out more and more books just to get more paper. A number of other scenes were written on my phone (I use a Galaxy Note, which I LOVE as a writer), as I waited in the car to pick up my son from school. If you want to write, write. Excuses won’t get the story finished and your dream achieved.
8 – Know you can’t do it all. Don’t compare your output to those with no children in the home. Family is so important, your kids need you and they will only be little once. Family always needs to come first.
9 – Dream big but remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. Life is going to get in the way. As a parent you have so many things pulling you in different directions. If it doesn’t get done today, let it go, don’t carry any guilt about it, just give it another try tomorrow.
10 – And finally, don’t give up. This is your dream. Your desire. It will take time and lots of work, but it can happen.
P.R. (Piper) Newton is a proud geek mom of two little boys, one through birth, one through adoption. She has a background in psychology and continues to take post-grad courses in childhood trauma and development. In her writings she loves to explore the human mind, putting her characters through unthinkable things, just to see how they react. She is a full-time author, who believes in the magical, creative inducing powers of arm warmers and stripy socks.
Bethlehem took her first breath as her mother took her last.
Left to survive in overcrowded Ethiopian orphanages, she developed survival skills rivaling a warrior - a fierce, independent fighter before she could walk or talk. As she approached her second birthday, Bethlehem lived her days guided by two rules: everyone leaves and trust no one.
A world away in Canada, Tory Witcraft is trying to adopt from Ethiopia with her husband, Matt, when her adoption agency goes bankrupt, threatening her dreams of becoming a mother. Against the advice of many, including government officials threatening to revoke the adoption, she goes to Ethiopia, and her new daughter, Bethlehem.
When they finally meet, both mother and daughter struggle to connect, each trapped by their own fears and demons. Emotions and tempers run hot. Hearts and dreams collide, shattering a family before it could fully form.
The adoption journey was difficult, but no one expected the hardest part of the journey would begin once they met.