In 2006 and 2007, she caught a break for all her hard work. She was a finalist with two manuscripts in the RWA Golden Heart in 2006. In 2007 she won the golden Heart. It was bought by Harlequin Superromance and published as Not Without Her Family.
Today she talks about lessons learned and how she juggles family life and her writing.
I’ve never considered myself a particularly disciplined person but all of that changed when I decided to become a writer. Believe me, sitting at your computer each day producing pages takes what I call the Three Big Ds: Dedication, Determination and a boatload of Discipline.
Now, the first two I had covered. It’s easy for me to be dedicated to writing because honestly, I love writing. I love the entire process of writing from taking the initial idea and fleshing out into a full story, I love getting to know my characters, coming up with scene ideas and writing that first draft. I also love polishing those first pages into a final draft and using the revisions from my editor to make the story the best it can be.
Determination? Yep, I’ve got that too. From the time I decided I wanted to be a romance author I was determined to be published. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but that was okay because the end result was worth the years of honing my craft, submissions and yes, even those heart-breaking rejections.
But discipline? Ugh. Even just typing the word gives me the heebie jeebies. It goes against my very, laid-back, see-what-happens, there’s-plenty-of-time-to-get-things-done nature. Yet I knew that to be successful, to accomplish my writing goals, I’d need to suck it up and put my bordering-on-chaotic life into some sort of order. Here are a few tricks and tips I’ve learned over the years:
Smaller Is Better. This tip is from a NYT Bestselling author. When I asked her for some time management tips, she told me how she uses a regular Post-It note for her To-Do List. This works because it forces you to prioritize your goals and narrow them down into a manageable list. At the beginning of each month I write my goals for that month in a notebook. Sometimes this takes up two pages! Looking at the long list can be totally overwhelming but by taking this advice, I’ve accomplished more in the last three months then I ever thought possible. I simply look through my Master List, take the top 3-5 (depending on how small I write *g*) items and put them on a Post-It note. Then I work down the list and when the day is over, I simply toss the Post-It and start a new list tomorrow. (This can also be done on your computer. Just remember the key is to keep the list small and manageable.)
First Thing’s First. This is advice I’ve known and was reiterated to me by another NYT Bestselling author. Prioritize your To-Do List and take the first thing, the ONE thing you want to get done that day and get it done first. This advice works for full time writers and those who have full time jobs as well. If you’ve set aside an hour in the evening and the first thing on your list is to write 3 pages, do that first. An average day for me consists of getting my pages done first then my exercise and only after both of those have been accomplished do I allow myself to check e-mail and blogs (unless I’m the one blogging *g*) I’ve found that if I push back either of those items until ‘later’, I never get them done.
Chunk It. I discovered a while back that although I loved to multi-task, I wasn’t getting anything done. Oh, I was working on lots of projects and was busier than ever but nothing was ever finished. I knew I needed a change so I started Chunking. All that means is I concentrate on one thing at a time and I set aside certain times of the day or week to get them done. For example, I’ve now set aside Saturday mornings for writing blogs, updating my website and sending out mailings. Knowing I have an entire morning I can dedicate to these tasks makes it a lot easier to set them aside during the week and concentrate on my writing.
So, even though I still shudder at the word, I’m slowly learning how to become disciplined and I’m always on the lookout for more tips and tricks for making the most of my time. What about you? Anyone have any time management tips to share?
Which of the Three Big Ds is easiest for you? The hardest?
As a stay-at-home mother of three children, Beth Andrews decided to put pen to paper (or, in her case, fingers to keyboard) and pursue her dream of becoming a published author. After much trial and error, Beth discovered her writing process—daydreaming, mumbling to herself, playing Spider Solitaire…and writing, of course.
Beth’s stories have netted her three Golden Heart finals and in 2007—a coveted win. Her winning manuscript, Not Without Her Family, sold to Harlequin Superromance—marking the achievement of her original dream and the beginning of what she hopes is a long career writing the stories she loves.
When Beth’s not writing (or daydreaming, mumbling to herself or playing Spider Solitaire) she can be found making some of the many recipes she collects, redecorating her home or stringing beads together. She has been honored by her kids as “The Only Mom in Town Who Makes Her Children Do Chores” and “The Meanest Mom in the World”—as if there’s something wrong with counting down the remaining days of summer vacation until school starts again. To learn more about Beth, her books or to get her latest favorite recipe, check out her Web site.
Beth's website: http://www.bethandrews.net/
Blogs: Romance Bandits - http://romancebandits.blogspot.com/
Writers At Play - http://www.writersatplay.com/wordpress/
A NOT-SO-PERFECT PAST ~ April '09 Harlequin Superromance
HIS SECRET AGENDA ~ October '09 Harlequin Superromance
Beth is offering a copy of her latest book to one lucky commenter. We'll let you know who you are a bit later.