My experience with having kids, homeschooling and finding the time to write.
As a homeschooling mother of five, I grab any time I can to write. If I am not doing stuff for my kids, or my pets, or my husband (rare!) I am either writing or reading. So, it's hard to quantify how many hours I actually get to write but it could be as often as two-three hours a day to as little as two hours a week!
As a busy mom I feel it's important to carve out a small piece in my life for personal growth. To me being organized is the key. When life is a chaos it's hard to be organized, but it's possible, and in fact, needful to arrange our lives into manageable sizes to stay sane--at least for me. I'm not saying it's easy--my husband travels about 60% of the time, and it can be emotionally draining dealing with whiny kids--but if we can lay railroad tracks for our daily lives it'd be easier to function and that's what I try to do--and I stress on "try".
On a week to week basis I have my tracks laid down--I know which kid is doing what, when and what meals to be served throughout the entire week--this cuts down on unnecessary time making extra trips to the grocery store. I do most of my shopping on the internet--like books, supplies, clothes, and make-up, to save on time--and it's less expensive too, with free shipping and I can shop at 2am!
Also, on my site, I have some blogs on using free things to give the kids a great education (and I hope to input more of such things as time goes by) but still give us, moms, some time to gather ourselves before we fall apart at the seams. One example is using Netflix movies to help in the homeschooling--make movie nights a meaningful and educational experience. And a mom can take a break as the kids watch something that would benefit them. This is one of the tricks I use to give myself an hour here or there.
Also, I audit their time--find out when or which time block I spend my time on doing meaningless tasks--it's like budgeting with time as my currency.
Another advice I have, and this may seem unrelated, is I stay away from negative people as much as possible. There is something draining about being around negativity and this mental torture will translate to stress, illnesses (which will make me even busier and serves no purpose) and there is something about the lack of peace that even sucks out whatever little time and energy I have.
But having said that, about the homeschooling, it's good to have a schedule but if things fall apart and some kid really didn't finish up whatever task was given, I'd learned through almost 17 years of homeschooling that the best thing is to just move on and not fret. There will always be another day, and in every stormy cloud there truly is a silver lining.
So, there you go folks. No magic wand for me to find time. Wish I have something like this, but at the end of the day it's searching for any time I can find. If anyone out there have suggestions, please share, so I can write more!
How much of the author is there in the main character of any novel? And to what extent do authors write themselves into the stories they tell?
My characters and their human counterpart.
Where do main characters come from? All those personalities, like Daisy or Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby, or Anne of the Green Gables series, or Katniss from Hunger Games?
It really depends on the story. And I am sure each author has his or her own take on this.
When I wrote my first book, Keeper Of Reign, I extracted some of the traits my kids portrayed and quirks I thought were cute and endearing and included these in some of the conversations and personalities—it is after all a book for kids. But that is about where the similarities end. As the story developed and plots took shape the circumstances the characters in Reign faced helped formed their own personalities. So I can’t say that there was very much in me at all in the main characters of Keeper of Reign.
Having said that, things got a little different with my young adult psychological thriller, Dead Dreams. I see a lot of myself in Brie O’Mara, the main protagonist, and even in Sarah McIntyre, the anti-hero, even though both young ladies are very different people.
In some ways, I believe, the author always deposits a portion of herself into the characters—particularly the main ones. Think about it: as the plot falls into place, and as the writer faces the questions the characters are confronted with—what would she do faced with this or that—wouldn’t it be reasonable that the author would reflect her biases into how anything is played out?
Of course, the fictitious person would have a basic personality to start with, say, a moody, pouty girl, used to having the world offered to her on a silver platter and servants hovering around her, as in Sarah McIntyre, but when she is faced with a proposal, say to rid herself of a nagging, persistent boyfriend, how she thinks, is in some part a reflection of what the author thinks. That’s why I feel fiction is so powerful in influencing the thinking of its readers. And every fiction has a message no matter how subtly it has been woven into the story because at the end of the day, it is the author projecting her thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and world view into how the characters would act and react.
So, back to the question—how much of myself is in the two main characters of Dead Dream? I’d say a lot and yet, not so much, too. Because although some of the choices my characters make are things I could have done, but I probably won’t due to my moral choices and governing ethics. For instance, would I ever commit a crime? I could. (For that matter, even the President of the United States could commit a crime and shockingly some have!) But I won’t—it’s a matter of choice. I think as humans we are not all that different from each other, especially for those of us of a particular culture.
As authors we cannot run away from the fact that we do breathe some of who we are, or what we believe in, into our characters –for both the protagonist and the antagonist. Each facet of the people we populate our fiction with may not necessarily be who we are now, but it can be a glimpse of what the author could be, or even what the author once was.
Eighteen-year-old Brie O’Mara has so much going for her: a loving family in the sidelines, an heiress for a roommate, and dreams that might just come true. Big dreams--of going to acting school, finishing college and making a name for herself. She is about to be the envy of everyone she knew. What more could she hope for? Except her dreams are about to lead her down the road to nightmares. Nightmares that could turn into a deadly reality.
Dead Dreams, Book 1, a young contemporary adult psychological thriller and mystery.
Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast. Besides running a busy home, and looking after too many pets, she also enjoys reading aloud to her children and often has her nose in a book. Right was a copywriter for a major advertising agency during her B.C. years. B.C.meaning “Before Children,” which may as well have been in the B.C.era, as she always says. Please feel free to contact Emma. She’s always happy to hear from her readers.
Connect With Emma;