Editor Central

Weekly Inspiration for Writers

Q & A - What’s the best way to start writing when I have toddlers and preschoolers?

changing seasons q&a Oct 29, 2019

On the fifth week of the month I answer reader questions. Feel free to send them via social media or email.

What’s the best way to start writing when I have toddlers and preschoolers?

Two words: stolen moments.

When you have young children, life can be crazy without even trying. If you work full time or homeschool, your schedule can be overloaded and overwhelming. The best way to accomplish anything during these busy times is to look for pockets of calm, set a timer, and write for ten to fifteen minutes each day.

Writers often overlook the benefits of shorts bursts of creativity. If you outline your topic on Monday, then write for 15 minutes each day, many women can complete a thousand words or more a week. If you are able to sneak in a thousand words a week that can add up to a 50,000-word in a year. Fifty-thousand words is the length of an average book!

Use the time during mundane tasks, like folding clothes or washing dishes, to consider and think through what you want to...

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4 Tips to Keep Readers Reading Even When You're Not Inspired to Write

Life is usually feast or famine.  There will be some seasons as writers where the only thing we do is write. The ideas flow and words become an endless stream. We can’t be sidetracked and it’s wonderful! We astonish ourselves by all the content. Other times, nary a word will flow from our pens.

As writers, our job is to learn to leverage and channel our creativity to keep us writing when things aren’t so inspired. That way our readers still get the best of us, even when the blank page mocks us. Implementing a few tips can make all the difference between delivering new content and disappointing readers.

Create a publishing schedule. Faithful readers deserve consistent content. They come to count on you. If you know you want to write one email newsletter a month, a blog post each week, and share two Instagram photos, you get a better sense of how much content you need to create. Delivering something for publication by 3pm becomes much easier.

Choose a weekly...

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Five Tips to Keep You From Looking Like a New Writer

I could tell stories about my fifteen-year-old writing self, but honestly, I’m too embarrassed. Whether it was the topics I picked or the arrogance in which they were written, I have no idea who I thought would read them. Oh. Never mind. I didn't think about it. I just wrote. Oops.

It’s common for younger, fledging writers to forge ahead and write what they want, how they want to write it. If done well, in a fresh way, it can ripple changes in the writing industry. If the pieces read like every other inexperienced writer, editors and readers will take note. Those submissions end up on the rejection pile. I can’t offer enough encouragement to be honest about how much experience you have as a writer, and to take constructive criticism seriously when it comes from a trusted source.

I’ve worked with a lot of new writers. I’ve noticed several patterns in their work. In the early years of writing, focusing on these elements will help with your success:

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Living Our Dreams in Each Season of Life

I’m pretty sure wishing for something, that can’t happen at this time in our life, is a hallmark of human existence. Twelve-year-olds want to be in college. Empty nesters long for the days their children were babies. And there’s always a pinch of “what-if” in every situation. Each stage and season of life has its own challenges and rewards.

For me, I spent eight months building my website, creating content, working with two of my daughters on their novels, and wishing the gnomes would pitch in a bit more with meal prep. (Sadly, they refused.) As I pushed through learning curves, long hours, and finally launched, there is a deep satisfaction that comes when the right things happen at the right time.

As much as I longed to coach fifteen years ago, I’m not sure when I would have found the time or energy. I was homeschooling two elementary age boys with a preschooler and newborn in tow. Sanity was at a premium during those years. Despite all my...

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