Time to Write with Tammy & Lisa Mayer

Tammy Trail wrote her first story in sixth grade. It won a prize and she was hooked. After life slowed down a bit, she began to dabble with writing a full-fledged novel. A contributor to Inspired Prompts since 2014, the learning still continues.

So, how does she make time to write?

Working a full-time job left me little time to write. Then my hours changed. I now work a mid-shift from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. There’s very little time before I need to get out the door.

After work, there is dinner, household chores, and sometimes Grandma time with my two grandsons. It’s a dilemma that I have yet to overcome.

This next year will be different. I usually never set resolutions for the new year. However, I do set goals. My BIG goal for next year is to go to bed early in order to get up earlier to exercise and write. This will be a huge struggle for me, but I am determined!

Prayers for your efforts, Tammy. May 2019 be the year of your break through!


Lisa R. Mayer has anxiety and OCD and is a proud mental health warrior. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her husband, Rich, and her fur-baby, Scooby, catching up on her reading list, watching her favorite shows and movies, bike-riding, traveling, and going on adventures. You can learn more at www.lisarmayer.com, or follow her on Twitter @LisaRMayer2019, Instagram at author_lisa_r_mayer_2019, or on Facebook at Author-Lisa R Mayer.


Like many of you, when I look back on my life… I realize I’ve always been a writer. If I don’t write, it’s like part of me is missing. But it’s more than that. I would dare argue that making time for writing is akin to making time to becoming a better person.

Writing, just like being a better person, involves editing. We work to be a better person by editing our thoughts and actions, chipping away as a sculptor would marble until we find the best version of ourselves underneath. And we edit our writing in the same way until we find the story—our story—that is bursting out of our hearts.

All of us know why we write… because our story must be told. Not only the story of our characters, but the story of our lives, the things we’ve been through and learned. We pour a little bit of ourselves into our characters and hope that their best parts will become part of us, too. We hope that we’ll make the right decisions. We hope our books will touch lives.

I’ve learned the importance of editing as both a person and writer. I edit through my foot-in-mouth moments when all I can do is apologize. I edit when I was told the first chapters of my book were boring. I edit when I need to focus on my mental health. And I edit even when it means tearing my book apart for what feels like the hundredth time. In real life and writing… editing is hope that things can and will get better. We just can’t give up.

And that is why I never stop writing. But I also never stop editing.

Click to Tweet: All of us know why we write… because our story must be told. Not only the story of our characters, but the story of our lives, the things we’ve been through and learned. Lisa R. Mayer via @InspiredPrompt #amwriting #amediting #WritersLife

Writing Prompt: Imagine your best day. Write about it: where are you, and what are you doing? (Keep it G-rated, please!)

Time to Write with Lisa & Gail

Lisa Worthey Smith is a long time Bible teacher who ventured into writing inspirational stories a few years ago, and is now President of Word Weavers North Alabama.

She and her husband are empty nesting in northern Alabama where she spends time in her garden and writes stories of Faith*Hope*Love. Her first two books Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird and The Wisdom Tree are available on Amazon.com and she expects to release two books in 2019, Ground Kisser and COFFEE with God at Christmas.


Social media, daily chores, ideas for different stories, unexpected family needs all creep in and steal time that could have been used to crank out more words for the project of the moment. So, how do I manage my writing time?

Pray.

I ask God to give me direction for the day, deferring to His will rather than mine. If I get behind on my writing goals for the day because I spent time with someone who needed encouragement, I don’t count that as a lost day. I never want to be so headstrong on my goals, that I neglect His prompting.

Plan.

I work best with a plan to reach certain goals. I keep a small calendar on my desk to log in my deadlines and use that as a starting point.

Pare it down.

If I need to produce a 40,000 word story, I break that down into monthly, weekly and daily bites so I am not overwhelmed with a 5,000 word deficit a week before my deadline. There is great satisfaction in turning a page on the calendar, knowing those tasks are accomplished without panicking at the bigger picture of what is still before me.

Prioritize my time.

Work comes before leisure, so mornings are dedicated to writing. If something comes up, I still have time later in the day to reach my goal. If I have to give up something, I’ll give up leisure time to accomplish my goals and not deal with the stress of being behind.

Persist.

Of course, there are days when my computer remains unopened. Still, tomorrow I renew my prayer to follow His will, and adjust my goals to match His, and persist. The only thing stopping us from reaching our dreams is to give up. Persist instead.


From Gail Johnson—So, you’ve read the latest on carving out time for writing, but no matter how hard you try, the bullet list doesn’t seem to be working as promised. Oh, what’s a writer to do?

The best thing that you will ever do for your peace of mind is realize that writing isn’t a one size fits all profession. It’s a personal journey for each author. For me, it’s trusting myself, and God, to know what is best. I can’t sit in a chair and stare at a blank screen. It would be easier to lay an egg than writing my rough draft this way.

My goal each day isn’t so much about getting a set number of typed words on paper but staying in my head and listening to my characters. I can do this anytime and anywhere I’m able to pen words to paper, napkin, or shoe sole. 😊

When driving, I dictate to my sweet daughter who is glad to help in my time of need. My entire rough draft is hand-written conversations between my characters. That’s it. No settings. No internal thoughts. Just conversations. They reveal the plot. When I feel I have the gist of the scene, I sit and write the chapters adding the necessary components.

Remember, this is my process. It may not be your cup of tea. Learn what’s best for you. Trust your quirkiness; it’s what makes you, you. Finding your own process will make the words flow like warm honey across hot biscuits.


Gail Johnson enjoys sharing her passion for life and Christ through the power of the written word. Whether it’s through stories, articles, or songs, she invites her reader and listener to “taste and see” the hope she has found in a faithful God and loving Savior.

She is the author of Treasures of Hope, Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past, a memoir. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she writes fiction, non-fiction, and songs. Her Southern Gospel song “Less of Me and More of You” came in the top 5 runners-up in the 2010 Singing News/Solid Gospel Songwriters Search. Born and raised in Georgia, she is a wife and mother of two adult children. She enjoys lots of family time, good music, maple pecan ice cream, and southern living. In the past, she has published articles and interviews on the web, in the local newspaper, and in church magazines.


Click to Tweet: My goal each day isn’t so much about getting a set number of typed words on paper but staying in my head and listening to my characters.  Via @InspiredPrompt from @GailJohnson87 #amwriting #inspiration

Writing Prompt: It’s morning, the sun is shining. You open the curtains to find something you never expected to see in your front yard. Using NO adverbs or adjectives, describe what you see.

Time to Write with Shirley & Harriet

Shirley Crowder, how do you fit writing into your daily schedule?

With all my work, ministry, family, and other responsibilities it can be difficult to carve out time for writing—even though I don’t require a lot of sleep!

I find making a schedule helpful in safeguarding my writing time and I must be disciplined to guard that time.

I schedule early mornings before work and after midnight for writing. Devotional writing works well in these time slots, whether for a blog, newspaper article, or devotional for a book.

I block out four hours of each Friday (when I’m off from my job), sometimes morning and sometimes afternoon, to focus on devotionals for books.

I turn off the TV and the sound on my phone, sit at my desk, and start writing. I keep a sticky note handy to jot down things that come to mind that are not related to my writing.

All my writing deadlines go on my calendar, including my study and research, time to put it aside (a few days for a blog, article, or single devotional; and a couple of weeks for a book manuscript), time for someone else to read the manuscript, and time to do final edits/rewrites.

Admittedly, sometimes it is difficult to carve out time when I need to be at the hospital with a friend, or doing laundry, or any one of a gazillion other things that come along.

Please understand that all of this is the way things SHOULD work!

If my schedule gets interrupted for any reason, I reschedule that time as soon as possible.

I have to remind myself that my time is not my own—it is God’s! It is extremely important that I seek the Lord’s guidance in scheduling my writing time. [Click to Tweet]

Harriet Michael, what’s your secret?

I work three days a week as a substitute middle or high school teacher at a nearby Christian school. This school has block scheduling, so they have only four classes a day with each class an hour and a half long. One of these four blocks for each teacher is a planning period. As a sub, I have no planning to do, nor do I have to grade tests or papers. So, how do I fill this hour and a half three days a week?

You guessed it, I write.

With the school’s permission, I bring my computer with me and use the planning periods to get some writing done. It works out great for me. I can’t leave the school anyway, so I am stuck in a classroom with nothing else to do for ninety minutes. I might as well take advantage of the time.

I am blessed to have this carved-out scheduled time every week and I realize it is a unique situation. But the point remains—set aside some specific time every week to write. Make it part of your routine. I actually find I get more done in the school year when I am working than I do in the summer when I am off. There are so many distractions pulling at me when I am home. Being forced to sit in a chair, with nothing else to do but write works well for me.

At a writers’ conference once I heard an instructor, whose name I cannot remember, tease that what writers need to do sounds like a dirty word. He called it BICFOK, which he said stands for “butt in chair, fingers on keys”. That truly is the key to getting some much-needed writing accomplished. Just sit down and do it!


Shirley Crowder was born in Nigeria, West Africa, where her parents served as missionaries, Shirley is passionate about disciple-making, which is manifested through a myriad of ministry opportunities that include biblical counseling, teaching Bible studies, speaking at conferences, writing, and serving on the national advisory team for The Addiction Connection.

She is a biblical counselor and is commissioned by and serves on the national Advisory Team for The Addiction Connection. Her articles, devotions have appeared in “Paper Pulpit” in The Gadsden Times’ Faith section and Seek magazine—a David C. Cook publication. She has also written articles for Life Bible Study and Woman’s Missionary Union. Six published books were contributed to, authored, or co-authored by Shirley. Four contracted devotional books are due out over the next two years.

Shirley has spiritual children and grandchildren serving the Lord in various ways throughout the world.


Harriet E. Michael is a multi-published author and freelance writer. She has authored five books, with two more coming out this year. Over 200 articles, devotions, and stories penned by her have appeared in various publications by Focus on the Family, Lifeway, David C. Cook, Standard Publishing, Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Upper Room, Judson Press, and more. Harriet has been married for nearly forty years. She is the proud mother of four grown children and “Lala” to two adorable grandchildren.


Click to Tweet: The key to getting some much-needed writing accomplished: just sit down and do it! – Harriet Michael via @InspiredPrompt #amwriting #time

Writing Prompt: Map out a quick, doable writing schedule for tomorrow. Then post it where you will see it. If it worked for you, try it the next day, too. Make changes if necessary. Keep at it until you’ve found a system that works for you. Don’t give up! Even five minutes between daily tasks can add word count to your work-in-progress.

Do you have a question for Shirley, or Harriet? Please feel free to ask in the comments section. We’re here to help.

Time to Write

Welcome to January, 2019 at Inspired Prompt. I’m Betty Thomason Owens, one of the blog’s founders, and I’m so glad you’re here. We’re starting the year with a topic all writers need, whether you’re just starting out or multi-published. In our busy, busy world, how do we make time to write?

Finding time in a compromised world can seem almost impossible. I’ve learned to grab time where I can, be it five minutes, fifteen, or five hours. Grab it and make the most of it. That may mean keeping a notebook and pen handy. I use a note app on my phone. That way, I can even dictate a scene for my work in progress while walking. The best ideas pop into my mind in the midst of my daily exercise.

Plan ahead: It’s a simple idea, but many times our schedules and plans get preempted by…well…life. If you have a family, you’re all too familiar with interruptions. Some moms get up early or stay up late for a few minutes of writing time. I’ve always been an early riser. I’m an empty nester now, but I still have a couple of part-time jobs, household chores, and a husband to factor in. Those things are like the bread of a sandwich. Writing time is the filling. Sometimes it’s thick and juicy. Other times, it’s thin and kind of tasteless. But it’s always there.

It’s there because I create it. I make space and time for the things I care about. I care about finishing what I’ve started. The show must go on.

January is a time of new beginnings. Inspired Prompt’s contributors are all going to chime in as the month goes forward. We’ll be sharing ideas, encouraging thoughts, and a few helpful hints. We’ll share what works for us, doesn’t work for us, and maybe a funny story or two. We’ll dig deep, ask questions, and I hope you will, too.

Help us get to the heart of this timely question: How do you find time to write?

[Click to Tweet] January is a time of new beginnings. Inspired Prompt’s contributors will share ideas, encouraging thoughts, and a few helpful hints to help writers find Time to Write. #NewYear #amwriting

About the author: My friends say I’m creative, loyal, thoughtful and funny. I’m a storyteller. A word-weaver, writing stories that touch the heart. If I was an artist working with oils, I’d want to paint scenes so real, you’d think you were looking at a photograph. They’d include minute details that grab your attention and pull you into the picture. My characters could be your next-door neighbors. They’re open and friendly. They include you in their conversations. My themes include the grace of God, forgiveness, restoration, and redemption, but most of all, love. For years, my tagline has been Love is the Legacy. That’s my desire, to leave a legacy of love. Betty Thomason Owens

I find a lot of my answers in scripture. We can pattern our daily lives after the teachings we find there. Apply a simple principle of living to your writing life. Take what you’re given and live in it.

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it!–Colossians 2:6-7 MSG