Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Juggling Babies and Books - for Moms and Dads

with guest Preslaysa Williams

In my perfectly put together pre-parenting phase, I had an inkling to write fiction, but I couldn’t execute my dream.

 Enter parenthood.
Spending all day, every day, with an infant was grueling, tough work. Changing diapers, managing (or trying to manage) naps, and attempting to squeeze in that essential daily shower left me with a serious brain fry. I needed an outlet. Quick. So I powered up my computer and embarked on the long, winding journey to writing a novel.  

I once told another mom about my writing “hobby,” and she advised I put the writing on hold until my children were out of the house for good. I refused to put my dreams on hold, but the realities of writing with children had ballooned into a huge challenge I had to face. I needed a plan.

To successfully juggle books and babies, busy parents need to first conquer two mental barriers:

  •  Get Rid of the Guilt Over Not Writing Enough. Now. 
 I spent a couple of years complaining about all the writing I didn’t accomplish. I’d set large goals only to wind up frustrated. Looking back, my unrealistic writing goals were a subconscious way to sabotage my writing efforts. Could you be doing the same?
  •   See All Writing Progress as GOOD Writing Progress.
 I had to be real with myself. I may not be able to write one thousand words per day, but I could write one hundred words. Yes, one hundred words folks. We’re talking baby steps. I had to trust the process. If I kept up the pace of always writing, I would eventually end up with a completed book.

Writing with Babies: The Logistics

With those barriers out of the way, I devised strategy that suited my life. The method came through trial and error, so I’ve saved you a couple of years of angst!

  •  Have a dedicated writing space (or a dedicated writing bag!)
I’ve only recently created a dedicated writing space. While I love to go to that space, it’s usually only feasible to write there when my children are asleep. So I still use my dedicated writing bag for all the times in between. I hide this bag from the children. No one touches this bag. Period. 

My writing bag contains:

-A Flash Drive 

-Multi-colored highlighters and pens a-la Margie Lawson’s EDITS system

-My Netbook and charger

-A kitchen timer

-My small notebook (I use this notebook for writing practice.)

-My other small notebook (I use this for hand writing my current work in progress.)

-A folder with some hardcopy pages of my work in progress

-My planner

-A writing craft book

-A novel or non-fiction book

  • Write!
Let’s write. Screaming babies and poopy diapers will not stand in our way. We will write. We will not wait until the babies are grown and out the house. (They may never leave your house. Although, we hope they do.) We will write NOW. 

a.    Method #1: “The Catch Me When You Can Method” 

This method is good for parents with infants (or non-napping older children), family road trips or anytime you are off your normal routine. I came up with this technique when I had a newborn. The baby didn’t have a schedule in the beginning, and I certainly didn’t want to wait until he got one to start writing. 

I carried my writing bag around with me and wrote whenever I could. I set a realistic daily writing goal on an index card and placed it in my folder. For instance, I’d write on an index card: “I complete 250 words today.” Underneath, I’d have tick marks which I would check off whenever I reached a fifty word milestone. I loved the feeling of checking off those tick marks during the day. As I got better, I increased the daily goal. I also did this for editing pages after the first draft was done.

With this method, pre-planning will help a great deal. If you’re a seat-of-the-pants writer, quickly sketch out a scene. If you’re a plotter, you can delve into a more intricate plan. Either way, pre-planning and writing in those snatches of time will add up.

b.    Method #2: “Dedicated Time Method”

This method is best for when your children are on a regular nap/quiet time schedule, when your children attend school, or when you have a regular routine. It basically involves setting a writing appointment and sticking to it. 

There are some caveats to this method. First, make sure you are well rested the night before. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself sleeping when you should be writing. (This has happened to me!) 

Second, set a kitchen timer during your writing appointment so you won’t get distracted by other stuff. 

Third, have a goal for that writing session and do whatever it takes to meet your goal. There have been many times when I planned to write or edit a certain amount only to have half an hour left on my timer. Surprisingly, I’d become very prolific and creative during that last half hour. 

There you have it folks. You can juggle babies and books. Don’t put it off any longer. WRITE.

Question for You: If you’re a busy writer-parent, what changes do could you make to become a more efficient writer?

 Step up and comment for a chance to receive a $10 Starbucks card. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

BIO: Preslaysa Williams (pronounced ‘press-lay-suh’) is a freelance writer, editor and an all-around expert multi-tasker…sometimes! She writes and edits fiction while her children nap and reads novels during her (almost) daily walks. When she’s not multi-tasking, you can find her rebooting a load of laundry or pondering whether to clear those dust bunnies under the couch. A 2013 ACFW Genesis finalist, Preslaysa writes inspirational romance and middle grade fiction of the happily ever after sort. You can find her online at where she blogs regularly about faith, family fiction and mommy-brain randomness.


Mary Connealy said...

HI PRESLAYSA! I admire so much all your YOUNGSTERS who are writing.

I wrote my first book the year my baby went to kindergarten. I didn't even READ a book when my kids were little, let alone write one.

YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Preslaysa Williams said...

Thanks, MARY! I can't believe I cranked 'em out. A lot of days it feels like writing through a sleep deprived fog. As you can see, I'm posting this at Midnight :-)

Andrea Strong said...

I have a seven year old, and one on the way this fall. I had no inkling to be a writer when my daughter was born. She was about two years old when I felt led in this direction. In the last five years, I've made precious little progress.

My husband is a teacher/coach, and my daughter will start 2nd grade in the fall. Every summer, I think how much writing I can get done once school starts again...but it never happens.

Folks around here have been hearing me bemoan my own laziness for years, and I'm sure they're all sick of it.

This post a good kick in the pants for me!

Marianne Barkman said...

Love your name Preslaysa! Welcome to Seekerville!

Loves To Read said...

I really enjoyed your post - especially the realistic goal setting. I tend to set mine too high and then feel like a failure.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome, Preslaysa, first time guest in Seekerville.

The coffee and tea carafes are ready to go.

I also have fresh bagels and fruit in the fridge for the am.

We are ready to talk.

Tina Radcliffe said...

I wish I had taken your advice when I was a young mommy. I would have had a lot more writing done.

Terri said...

Do four legged babies count? If not, I'm in trouble. I think I can apply a lot if these tips to writing around the mentally exhausting day job. Thanks for the advice! Love your beautiful name.

Preslaysa Williams said...

ANDREA, Glad this post was helpful to you. Five years later and you haven't given up. You have a lot of perseverence! One word at a time.

MARIANNE,thank you for the warm welcome. Seekerville is a great place to be.

LOVES TO READ, realistic goal setting is my weak spot. I always have to tell myself to scale it down.

TINA, thanks, for the lovely welcome. I could use some coffee now that it's 4:30 in the morning for me. The bagels and fruit are delish. You've written a lot so just think of the young mommy days as a practice run :-)

TERRI, four legged creatures and mentally exhausting day jobs count too. I'm glad the post was helpful to you!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Preslaysa, I was ULTIMATE FAIL!!!! trying to write when kids were home... but I was working a couple of jobs, too so that might have been the trump card. BUT....

How cool that you're doing this! I believe the Holy Spirit nudges us when the time is right and then we make the time "righter" by adjusting. You've got a plan and you're working it! Go, you!

I had 4 boys and 2 girls, I celebrated their birthdays from the optimal position that I kept them ALIVE!!!!! for another year.

(wipes sweat from brow)... And thinking of that, I need more trips to the E.R. or Urgent Care in my stories because they had my name carved into one of the benches!!!!

Great to see you here on the other side of the fence!

And you are just stinkin' gorgeous, btw.

(Frowns, stops frowning and RUNS FOR ANTI-WRINKLE CREAM!!!!)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Tina, I think of that time, the pre-writing crazy kids-and-jobs time as prep....

So now we have that wealth of experience (Laura Ingalls Wilder-style!!!) and we're putting it to the test!

When I look back and wonder about what if I'd started twenty years earlier and stuck with it....

I get a headache, so I just DON'T LOOK BACK!!!! I always grabbed the Lucy Maude Montgomery line then: "I'm writing living epistles now" (Anne of Green Gables)

But Pres, I'm so glad you're stepping out and doing this!!!! AWESOME!!!!

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

I love the ton of your post. So encouraging!

Something I hate about being a writing mommy is the "why don't you" comments.

"Why don't you wait until they kids are older? It would be so much easier."

"Why don't you put them in school? It would be so much easier."

"Why don't you get a regular job? It would be so much simpler."

This post is wonderful for the mommies who DO write. We write because it's worth it. Those late nights and stolen moments are what keep us sane!

I love my (six) kids in all their stages but I was noticing a wonderful milestone today: we went to the park and I brought my laptop so I could write. My older kids push the younger ones on the swing or help them down the slide etc. I got a WHOLE HOUR in while they played! My youngest is three and he's starting to play for longer periods of time.

Now if I can just retrain my mommy brain to work longer stretches of time. I've spent 6 years writing in snatches of time, and my brain thinks it's NORMAL.

Again, wonderful post.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...


And I even re-read my comment. It's almost 3AM here so, that's my excuse.

I wanted to say I loved the TONE, not the ton. :)

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Ruthy, when I had 4 kids under 5 years old, I had NO DESIRE TO WRITE.

I think God was saving me from myself. Or saving them from me. Something like that.

Preslaysa Williams said...

RUTH, thank you for your encouragement and lovely compliments. My normal gear is yoga pants or sweatpants, a t-shirt and sneakers, lol. I think God is blessing your writing today because you put your family first.

VIRGINIA, those 'why don't you' comments are a trip, aren't they? I haven't reached that milestone where the older children are taking care of the younger children. When I'm at the park, I'm the referee. And I'm glad to know it's not just me who's trained to write in snatches of time. Guess we just have to accept our new normal.

Jackie said...

Hi Preslaysa! It's good to see you here. What great tips whether you've are still raising children or not.

I'm going to look up Margie's EDITS system.

My youngest son is home for the summer and this fall he's heading back for his senior year of college. So we're trying to squeeze in some fun times with him and his girlfriend between all of our jobs.
My oldest son and his wife often ask us to babysit. So I've had to learn to juggle my time on the days they ask.
Good for you to learn how to juggle while your children are young.
Thanks for sharing!

Andrea, you can do it!

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Preslaysa!
Your post gives wonderful advice for everyone with young children underfoot. I wish I'd gotten an earlier start on my dream. Still wherever we are in our writing journey, your points of setting reasonable goals then making sure we meet them pertain to all of us.

I'm impresses you're reading and walking and writing! Now please explain how you walk and read. You must be listening to books.


Glynna Kaye said...

Wonderful post, Preslaysa! I'm sure lots of mom's and pop's will draw inspiration from it as it's very practical. I love that you emphasize setting REALISTIC goals -- and that you make use of my beloved "friend" THE KITCHEN TIMER! I don't have little ones underfoot, but my writing time is extremely limited each day. So that timer is such a blessing as I can launch into my writing wholeheartedly, get into the zone, without thinking about time.

Piper Huguley said...

Hi Preslaysa!

I'm so glad that you wrote this column to encourage those to make a little time for their dreams while their children are small. I couldn't do it. I gave up on the idea altogether when DS was born, and it didn't occur to me until he was 10 that I might take it up again. Now that he's a teenager, he's less needy in that little kid way, but still needy in some other ways. The writing time comes a little easier, and I can still be there for him as a nosy and loving presence. I can't beat myself up about that those "lost" 10 years though. We do as we can.

I agree with Terri and Jackie--your tips work for other situations as well. For instance, it's not any easier when you have an outside job, but there are occasions on the job when you can bring that writing bag and still get something done. The opportunity may come during a lunch hour or a boring meeting, but you can still get in a few words or plot. Good luck in the Genesis, my dear and thank you so much for your wise and wonderful post today!

Dorothy Adamek said...

Great post, Preslaysa. I love your can-do attitude and the tricks you've mastered to make it work for you.
I've shared this link on the Australasian Christian Writers facebook page for all our Downunder mummy writers Bless you. xx

Audra Harders said...

Welcome, Preslaysa! OMG, you brought back memories of those days!! I began my writing career when my daughter was 4 and my son was 2. I was such a mean mom, I MADE them take a 2 hour nap every afternoon. I probably should have been cleaning the house, but the draw of the typewriters -- yes, TYPEWRITER -- was stronger.

Oh my goodness, the memories, LOL!

Now my kids are 23 and 21, home for the summer, and I hide out at the office after work for an hour so I can get some words in.

Thanks for the very entertaining post, Preslaysa!!!

Janet Dean said...

Preslaysa, I've been thinking about why I didn't write when I had small kids. It wasn't that I decided NOT to write. It just never occurred to me. I had time. I sometimes watched soap operas when my babies napped. Afterall running the sweeper might wake them. LOL

I may be giving myself excuses, but I knew no writers. Hadn't heard writing groups existed. There was no Internet to share the journey and learn craft. Yes, I'm that old. :-)

Once I did write, I was blessed with a word processor, far better than a typewriter. Except for the 1980s, I think today is the best time to be a writer. We have options. And wonderful devices and social media.


Audra Harders said...

Virginia, yay for your kids! Don't you just love it when things finally click and the family begins to help each other.

Oh so happy!!

Give each of your SIX children a hug and a kiss : )

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Preslaysa!!! I met you at the last ACFW conference! This is really wonderful, spot-on advice! I started writing when my second (and last) child was a year old. At first I was just happy to write when she was taking naps. Then I was happy to write two mornings a week when she was in Mothers Morning Out and the older child was in Kindergarten. When they were both finally in school, I think I kind of missed that desperation to get as much writing done as I could in the set-aside times! So I would advise moms not to feel resentful if you only have certain times that you are able to write. You CAN do both--be a good mom AND a good writer. You just might not be as prolific as Nora Roberts! But then, who is?

Audra Harders said...

Janet, I so agree with you. I love the gadgets of the age! And no one better mess with my computer.

BTW, our typewriter is still in use as my husband's method of writing invoices. We're a very small painting company and he types out his own invoices.

On the typewriter.

Do you know how difficult it is to find new tape cartridges???

Preslaysa Williams said...

JACKIE, Margie's EDITS system is great. It changed the way I look at fiction. That and Dwight Swain's 'Techniques of the Selling Writer' and Jack Bickham's 'Scene and Structure' Also, I need some babysitters. Maybe your son and daughter in law can stop over...

JANET, thank you for the welcome! How do I walk and read? Hmm, never thought about it. I have my children in a double stroller. I push with one hand and have a book in the other. (Can you tell that I'm a left brained, spell everything out type of gal?) Don't worry, I stop at all cross walks and I always walk on the sidewalk. Reading while walking is usually the only time I get to read. (I also read late at night.) It's another way for me to get a 'break.'

Preslaysa Williams said...

GLYNNA, when I discovered the kitchen timer it CHANGED.MY.LIFE. I do a lot with the kitchen timer: scrub the dreaded toilet, incite myself to exercise, etc. I have one upstairs and one downstairs so it's always within reach.

PIPER, You're right we do what we can, when we can. I'm glad the post can be applied to different lifestyles. I know you have a lot on your plate too. And thanks for the well wishes. Good luck to you in the Golden Heart!

DOTTI, I'm glad you stopped by all the way from Australia! Wow. And I appreciate you sharing this post.

Connie Queen said...

I didn't write much when my kids were younger. I'm sure I did, I just don't remember. Many of those years were a blur.

You make good points. Even though my youngest is 13 now, these still work for me. There are just times you have to work in what you can.

Mary Hicks said...

I have to admire anyone who manages it all! I was never that organized or determined! :-)

I can't imagine writing with a day job to contend with, much less a child or two!!

Good luck and continue the great balancing job!.

Preslaysa Williams said...

AUDRA, my children are now 4 and 2. They keep me on my toes. And typewriters?! The last time I saw one of those objects was when I was a kid in the early eighties

JANET, you're right. We do live in a better time for writers to connect. Writer's groups and blogs like Seekerville keep me going. I don't feel like that lone 'fiction writer' in a room full of normals anymore. And to connect with other writers who have children is icing on the cake.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Preslaysa, Thank you for your wonderful post and welcome to Seekerville. No matter if its children, pets, elderly parents, other jobs, demanding husbands, etc. life happens and you gave us some great tools to make the writing happen. Great going.

Have fun today.

Preslaysa Williams said...

MELANIE, I remember you! I like that word you used: 'desperation' There is a desperation to get the writing done with children underfoot. I had to battle with feeling resentful and guilt ridden over not producing as fast as others. Once I realized I'm only one person, then the writing got easier. The only person who can stop me from putting pen to paper is me.

CONNIE, I'm glad you could apply this post to your life with older children. I think we all have similar struggles, they just look different.

MARY, glad you could stop by! I'm not very organized myself. You should see the pile of papers I have to sort through right now :-) One day I'll be determined enough to sort through that pile.

SANDRA, thank you for the warm welcome! I'm glad to be here, and I'm happy to know the tools can help.

Myra Johnson said...

Preslaysa! What an inspiration! When I first got serious about writing for publication, my daughters were around 10 and 11. It was hard, even while they were in school most of the day. Once they got home--forget it! Too many extracurricular activities to keep up with, and my brain doesn't multitask well. (Does anyone's, really???)

But your advice about taking advantage of every potential writing moment? Right on! (Or should I say, "Write on!")

Thanks for being our guest today!

CatMom said...

Welcome Preslaysa!
I enjoyed your post, and Congrats on your writing.
I only dreamed about writing when my kiddos were younger--of course many of those years I was also teaching first grade & Kdg. in public schools, so the only books I indulged in were childrens' books, LOL.
Now they're grown (sniff) and I find myself wishing they were little again. BUT I do get lots of writing done now!
I admire you ladies who can multi-task so well...Hmmmm, when I was younger I could, but now not so much. ;)
Thanks again for sharing.
Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

Wilani Wahl said...

I enjoyed this post. I need to learn to set realistic goals.

Wilani Wahl said...

I enjoyed this post. I need to learn to set realistic goals.

S. Trietsch said...

Hi Preslaysa!

I really enjoyed your message today! I don't have any advice to share as I am a pantser with a 30 hour/week job. I need to get a routine going so those last 10 hours don't go to waste (or laundry, or TV, or...).

I am finding that I write well at Starbucks. I guess because there are few distractions and lots of caffeine ;-) . I do need to start writing down my goals and your idea of ticking them off would work as I always say, "My hobby is marking things off my To-Do list!!"

Thanks! Stephanie

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

Hi Preslaysa! Great to see this post! As my 12 year old gets older and more independent it is easier to fit in writing time. When he was little and dealing with autism, I found my writing to be an escape. PTL he is doing so much better. Unfortunately I still haven't set up a designated space--I tried to by buying a new computer and setting it up in our daughter's old bedroom. Guess what 12-year-old hops in there all the time (because it runs better games!) Blessings!

Meghan Carver said...

Preach it, Preslaysa! We will write! I had that undeniable Holy Spirit-nudge to write when I was within a few months of delivering my sixth child (now 3yo). Seriously, Lord? :-) But I had an idea that just needed to be a novel. It took many months to get it written and then stashed in a drawer, but there were some days where I would sit at the computer and nurse the baby and type with my free hand. :-) I have two callings/ministries, homeschooling and writing. Some days the balance is a little off, but isn't that just life? Thanks for the great tips. I need to get a kitchen timer!

Tina Pinson said...

Wise decision to make a bag and carry a notebook, Preslaysa. I snatched napkins at restaurants too many times.

I was one who sat the brunt of writing (I still accomplished some) aside till my kids got a touch older.and I wasn't babysitting three other children 5and under.
Then I wrote like the wind.
Then I started helping raise my granddaughter, while babysitting again.

I got granddaughter in school and took off writing again.

Now three more grandchildren 6 and under are back in the house. So i'm back to patches. Of writing time. Only now I use a notebook

Preslaysa Williams said...

MYRA, write on it is! I too notice that on days when I'm driving the kids around town, it's more challenging to settle down and write. But snatches of time work just as well.

CAT MOM, I'm a children's book junkie myself. My faves are classics by Robert McCloskey, Virginia Lee Burton and Dr. Seuss (of course!) I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

WILANI, glad you stopped by. Realistic goals are key :-)

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Preslaysa,

I feel like such a slacker. I only had one child and was so busy building my career in the business world, I felt like I should spend every spare moment with her. It wasn't until my daughter went off to college that I thought I should write down those stories floating around in my brain.

But God made us all different and He'll let us know when the time is right for us. The important thing is to make every minute count and you certainly do.

Chill N said...

>> Ruth Logan Herne said...

When I look back and wonder about what if I'd started twenty years earlier and stuck with it....

I get a headache, so I just DON'T LOOK BACK!!!! <<

I'm with you, Ruthy.

Cheering on all of you who juggle so many challenges/roles while you pursue your writing!

Nancy C

Mary Connealy said...

Piper I've brainstormed whole series during boring meetings. LOL

Jeanne T said...

Preslaysa, I loved this! My kids were out of the toddler stage when I began writing, but it's still tricky to find time. With summer upon us, I am "bribing" my boys. If they give me 2 hours a day Mon-Fri, we do something extra fun that weekend. They get a say in what we do, and we get family time together. It's worked well so far.

Now, to get back into my writing groove and be productive. :)

Jeanne T said...

Preslaysa, I loved this! My kids were out of the toddler stage when I began writing, but it's still tricky to find time. With summer upon us, I am "bribing" my boys. If they give me 2 hours a day Mon-Fri, we do something extra fun that weekend. They get a say in what we do, and we get family time together. It's worked well so far.

Now, to get back into my writing groove and be productive. :)

Jeanne T said...

Preslaysa, I loved this! My kids were out of the toddler stage when I began writing, but it's still tricky to find time. With summer upon us, I am "bribing" my boys. If they give me 2 hours a day Mon-Fri, we do something extra fun that weekend. They get a say in what we do, and we get family time together. It's worked well so far.

Now, to get back into my writing groove and be productive. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Preslaysa, you've captured my heart! Such a great blog that applies whether little ones are underfoot or not!

Love the way you've worked your own needs into your children's schedule.

Love your persistence.

Love your determination.

Love your optimism.

Love your success.

Debby Giusti said...

BTW, I use a timer too. That ticking clock keeps me focused with my fingers pounding out the words and the story moving forward.

Preslaysa Williams said...

S. TRIETSCH, I love writing at Starbucks and bookstores. I also found this online website called Coffitivity. It plays the ambient noise similar to that in a coffee shop. They say it's supposed to increase your creativity. I found that it helps me to focus, and when I hear the sound it's like telling my brain that it's time to write.

CARRIE, thanks for stopping by! I'm glad to hear that your son is doing better with autism. He is a handsome young man. My children invade my writing space too...but they don't touch the writing bag, lol.

MEGHAN, another Mama with six children! You and VIRGINIA are amazing. I used to type while nursing too. (Great, multi-tasking minds think alike.) I plan to homeschool my kiddos. I enrolled my 4 year old in a homeschool coop for the fall and have the Abeka K4 curriculum ready to go. And yes, get thee a kitchen timer.

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Preslaysa!

I love the way you organize your time! No wonder you're able to write, even with your sweet distractions :)

I think God calls each of us to write at the right time.

When my children were young and when we were in the midst of homeschooling, I would try to write - and God would say, "Not yet."

I tried several times - but I was growing "living epistles" as Ruthy said.

But when my youngest boys reached high school, God said "Now".

And I haven't looked back.

We all have to listen - He'll let us know when it's the right time to use the gifts He's given us.

I'm looking forward to reading your first book when it's published!

Preslaysa Williams said...

TINA PINSON, I'm with you on the notebook. Sometimes it's not feasible for me to sit at a computer with little ones. The small notebook keeps me mobile. (Funny that a notepad keeps me "mobile" LOL)

ELAINE, thank you for the encouraging words. I definitely don't think you're a slacker. Building a career while spending quality time with your daughter is worthy work. You are right. We do what we can, when we can, and how we can. For me, that looks different from day to day. God has different paths for us to follow. We just need to keep our ears tuned to Him.

Julie Lessman said...


WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, my friend, and what a wonderful (and MUCH needed) blog this is!

LOVED what you said here:

"I had to be real with myself. I may not be able to write one thousand words per day, but I could write one hundred words. Yes, one hundred words folks. We’re talking baby steps."

Those are some of the wisest words I've heard, whether one is an aspiring writer with six babies or an old post-menopausal gal like me battling the anality of having all one's ducks in a row before I write.

Thanks for the kick in the butt ... I can definitely write a 100 words today and maybe, just maybe, parley it into a 1,000. :)


Preslaysa Williams said...

NANCY C, thanks for the cheers! I'm cheering you on too.

MARY, my friend wants to write a book too. I keep saying utilize the time during those boring meetings ;-)

JEANNE, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Maybe I should try bribing too...

DEBBY, thank you! Some days are hard as I'm sure you know. But we have only one life, why not go for it? Glad to have found another kitchen timer buddy.

JAN, thank you for the kudos. I agree. God wired us all differently so He knows what we can and cannot do. So I have to work hard not to compare my journey to someone else's. When I let go of the comparisons, I find things open up in my life. But I can easily slip back into comparison if I'm not careful.

Tina Radcliffe said...

That's the secret! Don't get so overwhelmed you don't even take that first baby step.

Which reminds me. Breakfast tray is empty.

Time to bring out the white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.

Lyndee H said...

Nice to meet you, Preslaysa! Congrats on your many successes.

All I can say is 'been there, done that!' My kids are grown and gone. But some of your tips might be applied to dealing with spouse and dogs! I'll keep you posted, ;)

Karen Collier said...

Preslaysa, thank you for a wonderful post! What you've described is pretty much what I'm living right now. My kids are 5 and 2, and it's been almost a year now that I've been seriously pursuing my writing dreams. So happy to say I've got my first complete manuscript to show for it. :) It's definitely a juggling act at times! I've been known to write a scene on the Google Docs app on my cell phone while chasing children at the park, but naptime is sooo much easier! I love your idea of a writing bag for keeping everything handy. Will have to look for a good bag... maybe with a childproof lock? ;)

Sherida Stewart said...

Preslaysa, your name is lovely! Is there a story to go with it?

You writers who have children at home and STILL make progress are AMAZING!

Thank you for your post! Your advice to "get rid of guilt" and to "see all writing as GOOD progress" is very appreciated as I slowly creep along with my word count. I'm learning to use the Catch Writing Time Method as my writing mode of choice. Good items in your writing bag! Have bag will travel...and WRITE! Yes!

Congratulations on being a Genesis finalist...and your pretty website!

Sherida Stewart said...

Preslaysa, your name is lovely! Is there a story to go with it?

You writers who have children at home and STILL make progress are AMAZING!

Thank you for your post! Your advice to "get rid of guilt" and to "see all writing as GOOD progress" is very appreciated as I slowly creep along with my word count. I'm learning to use the Catch Writing Time Method as my writing mode of choice. Good items in your writing bag! Have bag will travel...and WRITE! Yes!

Congratulations on being a Genesis finalist...and your pretty website!

Preslaysa Williams said...

JULIE, You made me laugh. You certainly don't look like an "old post-menopausal gal...battling the anality of having all one's ducks in a row before (you) write." You're beautiful.

TINA RADCLIFFE, I ate breakfast. Ate lunch. And now I'm snacking :-/ Those cookies are good. (My Weight Watchers leader lives around the corner from me, so mum's the word.)

S. Trietsch said...

OMGoodness!! Coffitivity is fantastic!!! No visual like TV and no loud talking like family (heehee!)!



P.S. The teacher in me 'wants to know' which syllable in your name is stressed when it's pronounced? Kinda driving me crazy!

Preslaysa Williams said...

LYNDEE! Keep me posted. I'd like to know if my tips work with a spouse and dogs :-)

KAREN, Congrats on finishing that manuscript. Nap time is so much easier to write. I just put my kiddos down for their nap. Today it felt like I was herding cats. And yes, I think a bag with a childproof lock would work. Let me know if you found one!

SHERIDA, thanks for the compliments. I grew up wishing I had a name that was pre-made on a key chain, but such is not my fate. I'm good with that :-) My name is a combination of my parent's names. My father's name is Laysander. He was named after "Lysander" in a Midsummer Night's Dream. And my mother's name is Presentacion. Her name is of Spanish origin, but my mom is from the Philippines.

Preslaysa Williams said...

S. TRIETSCH, I'm glad to hear that you like Coffitivity. It's awesome! Which syllable is stressed in my name? Hmm...I'm not a syllable person. If you pronounce it phonetically, you've got it :-)

Piper Huguley said...

Thanks for telling the story about your name, Preslaysa! And I think I said on FB to you, I wish I had a key chain name too! :)

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Bravo to you, Preslaysa.

I know if I had written when the kids were little, I would have had gotten through those early years much easier.

Thanks for your post.

Peace, Julie

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Bravo to you, Preslaysa.

I know if I had written when the kids were little, I would have had gotten through those early years much easier.

Thanks for your post.

Peace, Julie

Preslaysa Williams said...

PIPER, you're welcome!

JULIE, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. You've done great for starting. It's the starting that matters :-)

suzannewesley said...

Hi Preslaysa!

Along with needing to set more realistic goals for myself I've been hearing a lot about these kitchen-timer schemes lately and will have to try it. Now that my kids are older I think that will work, but when they were little they were my own personal time-suckers ... err, I mean timers. ("Mom, I need a drink!" "Mom, I need to go potty!" was way more frequent than 25 minute timers. LOL) Though the creative in me resists it, I know that I need to schedule my day more, and also limit when I get on my e-mail and social media. If I followed through on those two things I would make my writing goals happen. I just need to do it! I hope we get to visit again this year at conference. :) A great post! - Suzanne

Donna said...

Preslaysa, this is a very helpful post, even if we don't have little ones. Time management!

Your website is lovely and looks very professional!

Lindsey Davis said...

I'm not a parent yet, but I have a very demanding job and very little down time. The post really make me feel good about the small writing goals I set for myself. Love it!

Preslaysa Williams said...

SUZANNE, glad to have you stop by! Giving you a virtual hug. You only need 30 minutes of writing a day and in time, you'll see progress. We can do 30 minutes, right? I got the 30 minutes idea from my mother. She is very disciplined but she doesn't seem to "try hard" to be disciplined. After watching her closely, I discovered that her secret is that she simply does the basics (walking, drinking water, prayer, etc.) for a short time, every day, over and over again...for like, all my life! ;-) I would love to catch up with you again!

DONNA- I'm glad that you enjoyed the post! Time management is key!

Preslaysa Williams said...

LINDSEY, small goals work. They are an integral part of the big goals!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Well that really is cool that you derived such a unique name from two uniquely named parents!

Preslaysa Williams said...

Thanks, TINA! It was fun being on Seekerville today. I have a new level of appreciation for your hard work. And to think of how many years of effort has gone into Seekerville. Amazing.

Missy Tippens said...

Preslaysa, welcome!! What a great post! I wish I had read this ten years ago! :) You've made such great suggestions. I love how you're hanging in there and getting the writing done.

Gosh, I remember those days with little ones. One of my main memories is of having my toddler crawl over to my computer and push the power button! A big scare. LOL

Preslaysa Williams said...

MISSY, thanks for the warm welcome! My two year old has pressed many a computer power button on me :-) I don't understand how they manage to push the one button that will turn everything off.

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...


Terrific wisdom and, dare we say, ENCOURAGEMENT, here on so many levels.

Thank you for making time for real priorities and following the Lord's calling too.

Looking forward to finding out more!

(Gorgeous photo of you by the way. Wawzah!)

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Hi Preslaysa! Love your name, BTW!

I do not have children yet, but hubby and I are planning on expanding the family soon, which has us both thinking about our writing goals. I know it won't be easy, but I'll keep your advice in mind when the little ones come along!

Have a wonderful day!

Preslaysa Williams said...

MAY the K9 SPY, you're welcome! I'm happy to hear you enjoyed the post.

Preslaysa Williams said...

STEPHANIE QUEEN LUDWIG, excited to hear that you and your husband plan to expand your family. I hope these tips will come in handy when you have little ones. said...

This is great! I'm not even a parent yet, but I still struggle with guilt over not writing enough-even when I'm putting tonnes of effort in. Life just gets in the way! Then I wake up and I've written 34,000 words in 3-4 months and think, 'Hey, that's nothing to be ashamed of, why did I stress?' Then ten mins later I stress again.
Thanks for sharing your journey with me!

Preslaysa Williams said...

You're welcome, JESSICA. I like this Bible verse in Zech 4:10a which says "Do not despise small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see these things begin.." He rejoices in our small efforts and blesses them.

shawnshawn81 said...

I am not a writer. But I could use these techniques for journaling. The biggest obstacle is not my children, but being distracted by various technological devices.

Preslaysa Williams said...

Glad you could stop by, SHAWNSHAWN81!