Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Crazy-Busy Advice from Sarah Lynn Scheerger

It's Wednesday!

The first Wednesday in a couple of weeks that we've posted something!  (It's almost like we planned this particular article for this particularly busy time of year...)

Anyway, as we (Miranda) struggle to dole out and return your slush-pile submissions (which are fabulous, by the way), it seems that the only word to describe things right now is "crazy-busy." And when things are crazy-busy, we don't get things done, do we?

Maybe for us.  But today's guest poster does!  She's crazier-busier than most of us, because her new book came out TODAY.  And she still managed to pull off an awesome guest post.  How??  Read on, my friends. 

Please welcome the  talented author / calendar-juggler,

Sarah Lynn Scheerger!

Sarah's First Book, Published by Marshall Cavendish

Sarah's new book - that came out TODAY!  (And she still got her RYS post submitted in time).

Making time for creativity in a crazy-busy world

By Sarah Lynn Scheerger

    People ask me, how do you have time to write?
At first, I sort of laugh. Because time? What’s that?
I have no time. I’ve got three kids, a nearly full-time career, a husband, and a mountain of laundry that never seems to get any smaller.
Writing is just my hobby.
    But as my hobby, it’s my “me” time. It’s one of the things that actually nourishes me, similar to taking a yoga class, eating frozen yogurt, or having a date night with my husband. I can actually feel my mood lift when I’ve had time to do some productive writing. So I know I have to make time for it.
    I find little pockets of time after my kids are in bed. I bring notes on scrap papers to soccer practices and type in story ideas on the notes page of my iphone. Occasionally I’m able to escape to Starbucks for a couple hours with my laptop in hand.
    To be honest, though, the issue is more complicated than just finding time to write. There’s always laundry to avoid or the possibility of going to bed one hour later. The real issue is finding time when my mind is clear. Time when I can actually sit and create. When I’m not in the right frame of mind I just wind up surfing the internet or eating a snack.
A clear mind means I can’t have the stresses of the work day on my mind. I can’t be worrying about what homework project my son’s been assigned, or whether I’m giving my kids the most nutritious foods to eat. I can’t be fretting about whether my best friend is irritated with me or whether I remembered to call someone back.
I have to have a blank mind. A fresh mind. An alert mind.
    That is truly the most difficult thing.
    And, I must confess, one I have not entirely mastered.
    What I have discovered is that different tasks require different levels of creativity, alertness, and concentration. I need to be at my best for the initial writing of a story. Brainstorming and revising can be done in chunks. Social media-based marketing can easily be done at night and when I’m more fatigued. Other evening tasks, like returning emails, housework, and mindless paperwork, can definitely be saved for when I’m not in the writing mood. I informally triage my projects, and try to schedule them in the pockets of my life when I’m most likely to be productive.
    Another key component of a writer’s life, her critique group, can easily be held online rather than in real time. I have found this is the only way for me. An on-line critique group means the writing and the critiquing can happen on your own time, in bits and pieces, or all at once, whatever works.
    It’s all about figuring out what works for you. What works for me may not work for anyone else.
    A first step is to analyze yourself and your working habits. What kind of environment is conducive to your fresh-alert-creative mind? Think of physical setting, time of day, sound level, etc. How can you achieve that? Triage your tasks, and identify how and when to carve out a bit of writing time.
    When life is so busy and so emotionally laden that you can’t find that fresh-clear-creative mind, take a walk. If nothing else, you’ll feel better.

Sarah Lynn Scheerger, writing as Sarah Lynn, is the author of
1-2-3 Va-Va-Vroom and Tip-Tap-Pop1-2-3 Va-Va-Vroom, released today, has a book trailer you can watch online.  Learn more at

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