I am very excited to have author Wendy Tyson here today to do a guest post about making time for writing. Wendy is doing a tour with Great Escapes Virtual Tours to promote her book KILLER IMAGE. You can read my review of the book below and find Wendy’s links and links to her other tour stops as well. Wendy Tyson wrote her first story at age eight and it’s been love ever since. When not writing, Wendy enjoys reading other people’s novels, traveling, hiking, and playing hooky at the beach – and if she can combine all four, even better. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives there again with her husband, three kids and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs. She and her husband are passionate organic gardeners and have turned their small urban lot into a micro farm. KILLER IMAGE is Wendy’s first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series. Welcome Wendy…
I Want to Write, But . . .
“How do you find time to write?” is probably the question I’m asked most often. And it’s a fair one. As the mother of three kids (ten-year-old twin boys and an eighteen-year-old son), I work full-time, have an hour-long commute and, up until about nine months ago, I had a husband who traveled overseas a week or more each month. (I still have the husband – but, thankfully, he’s done traveling!) The truth is, I never find time to write – I make it. And frankly, some days it’s really hard.
I remember a few years ago when I left my law firm job for a corporate position. I thought it would leave me more time to write. I was wrong. Frustrated and overwhelmed, I was complaining to my husband one night about my lack of time and he very sagely (read: infuriatingly) responded with, “Wendy, if you want to write, write.”
If you want to write, write. In other words, give up the excuses.
Easier said than done. But he had a point. If I really wanted to watch a television show, I found the time to do it. If I really wanted to take a vacation, I made it happen. There wasn’t always time for the kids’ soccer games, lacrosse tournaments and birthday celebrations, but these things were important and so they were never missed. And exercise? Well, clearly I didn’t want that very much.
Bottom line: if writing was important, I needed to make time to do it.
After a lot of trial and error, I came up with a few things that have worked for me – maybe they will work for you, too.
- Schedule writing sessions – and keep them. They say to do this for exercise; it works for anything you need to fit into your day on a regular basis. At the time I started, I had two toddlers at home. Once they were awake, our house was not a bastion of peace, and I could barely hear myself think much less produce a coherent sentence on the page. To counter that, and to deal with the fact that I’m useless mentally after nine p.m., I decided to write early in the morning. I began to get up at 4:45 a.m. It was hard in the beginning, but eventually I learned to enjoy, and then crave, the early morning solitude. An added benefit? My outspoken internal critic is still asleep that early in the morning, so I could write uninterrupted by her constant nagging. I still maintain this routine today, although the clock is now set for 5:15 a.m. Sleeping in!
- Identify other writing-related tasks and schedule time for them, too. Unfortunately, there are a lot of activities that writers must do that take them away from writing. There’s research, editing and proofreading. Before publication, there are agent query letters to write and send, writers’ groups to attend and writing samples to prepare. And after a deal is made, there are blog posts to write, promotional materials to create, marketing campaigns to organize, and the all-important social media to master. If you already have a day that’s full of other important tasks, where do these jobs fit it? For me, these tasks were best left for evening, when I would typically be sacked out in front of re-runs of The Big Bang Theory or The Walking Dead. I’m not writing the Great American Novel at that hour, but I can easily do research, etc. while the kids are asleep or finishing homework.
- Engage your family. I explained to my husband and the kids the importance of my writing time. I asked for their support and encouragement, and I received it. By making this something they were “in on,” they became a part of it. The kids love that I write, and they are constantly writing stories and plays themselves now. And once my husband understood that this was important to me and that I was serious about it, he helped me by taking other tasks off my plate.
- Understand there will be sacrifices. Whenever we love something enough to make it a priority, we are faced with choices. And this may mean choosing writing over something else that, at the time, seems more enjoyable. Once KILLER IMAGE was picked up by Henery Press, and I agreed to write books two and three in that series, I knew I would have to give up other things if I wanted to develop a writing career while maintaining my job. Despite the cape I keep tucked away in my drawer (come on, you know you have one, too), I am not Superwoman. Too many deadlines and obligations can be incredibly stressful, which can, in turn, impact health and family life. I had to set my priorities. Family, writing, job needed to be the top three for a while. Television, movies, long shopping excursions, two-hour Internet surfing sprees . . . they had to be held to a minimum. Like an athlete training for a race, it was important to stay focused.
- Make time for fun. All that said, most writers write because they love it. When it begins to feel too much like a chore, I know it’s time to set it aside and do something else. For me, that something else can be a bike ride or hike with the kids, a family movie night, a weekend away with friends – anything that appeals to me at the moment. It’s important to keep the joy in writing – and in life. And knowing when to take a break (and even put your manuscript aside for a bit) can mean fresher writing and a sharper eye.
Very good advice. Thank you so much for being here today Wendy, and good luck with the book.
Philadelphia image consultant Allison Campbell is not your typical detective. She’s more familiar with the rules of etiquette than the rules of evidence, prefers three-inch Manolos to comfy flats and relates to Dear Abby, not Judge Judy.
When Allison’s latest Main Line client, the fifteen-year-old Goth daughter of a White House hopeful, is accused of the ritualistic murder of a local divorce attorney, Allison fights to prove her client’s innocence when no one else will. But in a place where image is everything, the ability to distinguish the truth from the facade may be the only thing that keeps Allison alive.
Can you judge a book by its cover? Not in this case – at least at first. The original cover (and the promotion) of KILLER IMAGE had me expecting a very cozy mystery. NOT cozy but very, very good. Fortunately, changes were made as this is a psychological thriller more than a cozy – although it will appeal to fans of both genres. I find it hard to believe this is a first novel. Allison with her troubled childhood. Vaughn caring for his twin, crippled by a bullet meant for him. Mia who became a recluse after the death of her daughter. So many other shattered lives. Allison Campbell is an image consultant. Interior and exterior. She believes in improving the exterior and working inward. The old if you look good, you will feel good philosophy. When your exterior image improves, your self esteem will improve. But a murder of a well known divorce lawyer with satanic overtones throws her perfectly crafted world off its axis. When her client, Maggie, the daughter of a presidential hopeful is the number one suspect of the police, Allison and Vaughn set out to find the real killer. Allison is hiding secrets from her past from Vaughn and Vaughn is hiding his past from her. It all comes out over the course of the investigation and Allison also begins rebuilding the broken relationship with her ex-mother-in-law and former mentor, Mia, as well as rebuilding the relationship with her ex-husband. But the danger escalates as the book progresses, even with the additional allies in Allison’s corner. And Maggie is bringing back memories of the client Allison lost a decade ago, Violet. Making Allison more vulnerable and taking bigger risks as she is determined not to lose another young girl. This is one of the best mysteries I have read so far this year. If you are fans of writers like Sara Paretsky, Particia Cornwall or Sue Grafton, you are going to love new author Wendy Tyson. I can’t wait for her next book. ♥♥♥♥♥+ + +
September 30 – According to Squenn Review & Guest Post
October 1 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri Review & Giveaway
October 2 – Lily Pond Reads Review
October 3 – Rantin’ Ravin’ and Reading Review & Guest Post
October 4 – Mommasez… Review & Giveaway
October 7 – Brooke Blogs Review & Guest Post
October 8 – Queen of All She Reads Review & Guest Post
October 9 – readalot blog Review
October 10 – Melina’s Book Blog Review & Giveaway
October 11 – The Self-Taught Cook Review & Giveaway