When the entire world went to shit in March and we were all put under house arrest, my work and life as I knew it crumbled before my eyes. For the last eight years I’ve worked solidly as a Makeup artist in the wedding industry and have cultivated a lovely little business. It was a great way to do a job I loved around my family as well and it helps that I also love it! A week before lock down kicked in, emails began to slip into my inbox, cancellations, brides panicking about their big day and postponements. Slowly I watched my incredibly busy diary dwindle into a blank void. Suddenly I had something I had not had since my eldest daughter was born. Time. And permission to be idol.
When has that ever happened before? In a fast paced world, living life to its fullest, we were all given the gift of time. And massive anxiety. I wont forget about that. Its been, basically horrendous. Parted from our families, people dying, holidays lost, weddings cancelled and schools closed. All of a sudden I became a home schooler, something I’d never imagined I’d ever do.
So with my life on hold, I had my ‘Ah ha’ moment. Now was the time to write that novel I’ve been meaning to get to for years. Yes now was MY time! But how to begin…
Now I’m not going to lie, I write quite fast. I don’t know how exactly, I don’t have a secret formula but its just something I can do. I’m also not saying that what I write is pure gold, but getting a first draft complete and getting my head down seems to be a talent I have. I have a lot of editing to do, I’m under no illusions that what I have written doesn’t need perfecting and I’m here for that. If you are a slower writer, there is no shame in that at all, speed doesn’t equal quality. I’m just lucky in this way and I wanted to blog about how I time managed writing a 80,000 novel in a few weeks, with children at home.
Please note this isn’t a ‘How To’, its just some ideas and things that I did!
I hope you might find some of these tips useful. Firstly I’m probably what you’d consider to be a panster, I start writing and the plot unfolds as I go, but I always know how I will end the book, or at least I know the direction its headed. Once I’ve gotten so far I pause and have a break and I start planning. I delve a little deeper into my characters’ and really sketch out their history, their families, physical attributes etc. I also had a look into the setting of the story, picking out little details to make the story more realistic and tangible. I create a map of how I will reach that ending, so even if ideas do pop up along the way, my endgame is clear. My ending can change, my brain does often throw in curve balls, but generally that is how it goes.
For me, with children at home I got up every day at six am and tried to get a good solid hour in before they woke up. This was great as the house was quiet. I know this doesn’t always work for everyone but even if I only met half my word count it still mattered. I aimed to do this every day and then at the weekend I would take myself off for two hours everyday and work through solidly (thanks husband).
I did allow myself to have down days, its important. If you feel you cannot face that keyboard, then don’t. Having a rest is really worth it.
Something I also did was have little writing sprints when I could fit them in. Mostly when home school was done for the day, I’d take myself off for half and hour and write as much as I could muster in that time. When you have children or other responsibilities in the house, writing a novel can feel incredibly indulgent. But when I reached about 50,000 I realised that I was in love with the whole process and I could see me doing this forever. It was hard to ask for help or to pass the responsibilities over to my husband, but he could see how hooked I was and he understood, which was amazing. So really what I’m saying is seek support when you can.
I never usually went into the wee hours. I would have written garbage at that point, but for you that might be your best time if you are a night owl. If you have a young baby at home, then take it even slower. They do say nap when baby naps but that never panned out for me either. It might be that you can do a quick sprint while your little one sleeps. But usually I’d have been knocked out on the sofa! Whatever works for you.
Take some inspiration from authortube. When it clicked for me that I wanted to do this for reals, I followed some amazing authors. There is so much information out there, you cant fail to find someone you love. I’ve linked some amazing ladies I follow below.
The biggest thing I think which really should go without saying, is enjoy it. This is your story and your life and you should love every bit of it. Its ok to have moments where you tear your hair out about a plot hole you’ve fallen into head first, but you will dig your way out of it!
I hope you find some of these hints useful. It was what worked for me. My debut novel ‘The Tail of Win Adler’ a Young adult, paranormal fantasy will be coming out later this year. Please do like and subscribe for more news on when this is happening or if you want to hear more from me.
Meanwhile, follow these goddesses, they rock!
Meg Latorre of I writerly https://iwriterly.com/
Sacha Black https://sachablack.co.uk/
Jena Moreci https://www.jennamoreci.com/