TIME-SAVING TIPS FOR PARENTS WHO WRITE

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Submitted Date 08/14/2019
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I would gather that there's likely no such thing as a parent who isn't busy. As a particularly active and energetic person, I've found that caring for my daughter has given me a deeper understanding of many virtues – including detachment, patience, and creativity. Some tasks I've had to put on hold while I enjoy the greatest pleasure of being a parent to an infant, and others I've had to revise to fit a diaper-changing, mess-managing, story-reading schedule. I've found poetry to be a creative outlet necessary for my health and well-being, and I'd like to share some time-savers that have been a blessing as I balance being a parent, a writer, and a freelance editor.

Explore Audio

A big part of writing is reading. Whether that's reading other work from other authors for inspiration or researching a specific topic for an upcoming book. Unfortunately, during the rare breaks when I've had time to read a book or scholarly article, I just haven't had the focus. Thankfully, these days you can find a podcast or audio book about almost any topic. There are websites that offer monthly subscriptions to listen to a variety of audio books and podcasts are usually free (though many accept donations). I listen in order to stay up-to-date on current events, become inspired, and to learn something new. You can see my view my post on Podcasts for Every Type of Writer here: https://www.writespike.com/story/DdD4LRyoFfJG/podcasts-for-every-type-of-writer/

Text-to-Speech

Sometimes there is documentation that just can't be found in audio form. This could be guidelines for submitting your work to a publication, email correspondence between you and your editor, or a time-sensitive article. Again, we're presented with the issue of time and focus. My soluton - I copy and paste the content into a text-to-speech application and listen while feeding my daughter or rocking her to sleep. Sometimes I may need to listen a few times to catch all of the information but it's a lot quicker than reading and rereading. Many of these sites even let you choose from different voices with a range of English accents.

Further, you can also use text-to-speech for your own work. This would be in cases when you're not doing line-by-line editing but want to hear how your poem or a chapter of your book is coming along. Sometimes when we read out loud ourselves, we subconsiously fill in the missing pieces so text-to-speech can really help you hear your work exactly as you've written it.

Optimize Your "Me" Time

The less personal time I have, the more I feel anxious about wasting it thinking about what do or habitually scrolling through news feeds. Hence, I've made a list of my top priorities so that when I do have time, I can easily and quickly decide how to use it. My current list includes some health and faith-based priorities as well as writing and editing poetry and children's literature. Actively, it means taking advantage of naptime or a visit with grandma to look for editing work or work on my personal projects. If I need a bit of passive time, instead of randomly browsing videos or podcasts, I'll search for something that aligns with my priorities (like advice from established children's book authors) or at the very least something that gives me a good giggle (I consider that healthy!)

Titles and Tags

If you share articles, blog posts, poems or excerpts from your books online, a lot of time can be used thinking of appropriate titles and tags for your social media presence. Of course Google is a great help, as you can search keywords to find the top titles used in content related to your work. Instagram also has a feature where related hashtags automatically come up when you search one popular hashtag. For example, I searched #writingtips and also found #writingadvice #writingofinstagram #authorscommunity and etc. To save time, I keep a list of 30 hashtags or keywords per topic based on the type of content I post most frequently. Currently, I have lists for poetry, prompts, writing tips, and children's poetry. When it's time to post, I only need to swtich out a few words to include tags that are subject specific. For example, I added #nasa and #stem for my poem When Your Daughter Tells You She Wants to Be an Astronaut and #realisticfiction for my post 15 Realistic Fiction Writing Prompts.

I'd love to know your practical time-saving tips!

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