Monday, August 12, 2013

Writing Interrupted

Karla Akins- Pastor's wife, Writer, Biker
My life is not a quiet one. That doesn’t mean I don’t yearn for the solace of a nunnery. I do. But God has not allowed that to be my reality yet. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever lead what one would call a quiet life.

My life is out loud, extra-cow-bells-all-the-time, out-of-control chaos. It’s not because I’m irresponsible. I just happen to live with twins with autism, a son with bipolar, a mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s and I’m a pastor’s wife and full-time college student. My husband himself has ADD--Attention Deficit Disorder—so that means I have to help him remember details of his schedule as well as mine.

How do I write in all of this?

I just do.

Writing doesn’t happen because I suddenly get the muse. As a Christian, I don’t have a muse. I have the Creator of all things Who inspires me. Here are some things I incorporate into my writing life to enabled me to keep the dream alive.

1.     I write when everyone else is asleep. I’ve learned how to take 20-minute naps during the day to make up for any sleep I lose either early in the morning or late at night. 20-minute naps are more restoring to me than hours of sleep as long as I take one about every 4 hours or so. I can sleep sitting up!

2.     I wear ear phones and listen to either music on Pandora, or Rainy Mood, or Coffitivity.

3.     I go to my office and shut the door. This doesn’t always work because I’m often needed, but if I’m on a deadline I shoot them all some stink eye and they’ve learned when I’m serious about being left alone.

4.     If I’m on a super-serious deadline and absolutely can’t be interrupted I leave the house and go to the library or church office, depending on my mood and how comfy I want to be.

5.     In between tasks I stop and switch laundry, make a meal, or perform some other chore. Chores still have to be done even though I’m supposedly writing “full-time.”

6.     I use my iPhone’s timer to keep track of how long I’m doing a task. I time myself a lot for chores and race against the clock. Seems silly, but it motivates me to get things done instead of procrastinating.

7.     I use FlyLady to help me keep my house organized. I’ve used her from the very beginning of her mailing list—at least 14 years!

8.     If my day doesn’t start with Bible reading and prayer, I waste time. For some reason if I start my days with time with the Lord, He stretches the time and makes things happen so much easier!

9.     I’ve had to learn to write interrupted. I write in 15 minute increments if I have to. Every little bit of writing counts and adds up. I don’t have the luxury of hours and hours of pondering and dreaming, so I take what I can get. Did you know that Agatha Christie wrote that way? She wrote on her breaks while she worked as a nurse.

10.  When I’m in waiting rooms, in the car, anywhere, I write in a notebook. I have learned to use every spare minute I can to keep the dream moving forward. You’ll be surprised how many extra minutes you can find when you really look for them.


Karla Akins is a pastor's wife, mother of five, and grandma to five beautiful little girls. Her debut novel, ThePastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots was released on August 9.  She also writes narrative biographies for middle grades such as Sacagawea and JacquesCartier.

Q4U: How do you write in the midst of your busy life? I’d love to know your secrets!


Caroline said...

Loved the post! How organized you must be, and what a world you live in! Enjoyed the post.

Sharon Recher Hoover said...

I so appreciated your encouraging words...especially the reminder that even 15 minutes of writing is better than no writing at all! :-)
One tool that I use to capture ideas and to stay organized is "Evernote". When an inspiration floats through my mind, I need to write it down or I'll definitely forget it! So, whether I'm at work, my daughter's game, in the store, or cooking dinner, I can reach for my smartphone or laptop and add it to my lists. It'll be waiting for me when I have my 15-minutes to write further! Blessings, Sharon

Shelley Wilburn said...

Good bunch of info, Karla! See, these are the things I'm going to pick your brain about... very soon! ;-]

Jessica Dotta said...

I'm so glad I found your article today! It was very encouraging! I needed to hear how someone else managed it all :-)