How To Make 'No Time' Work For You: Working Mum Writes Bestseller On Her Phone
Life is SO FULL sometimes. No matter how many responsibilities or commitments you have, it can be really hard to make time for the things you really want to do when the to-do list is so long you just want to block it out and switch to 'hibernate', and ignore the world.
Author Colleen Coleman found it was only when had the extra responsibility of raising twins that she actually forced herself to make more use of the pockets of free time she had. Here's how she did it...
How To Make 'No Time' Work For You:
Working Mum Writes Bestseller On Her Phone
by SWS guest writer, Colleen Coleman
I’d love a butt like Jennifer Lopez. I’d love to laugh over morning lattes whilst the kids are at school. I’d like to have a Tupperware tub and lid regime that works.
But I don’t and I know I never will because I’ve chosen other stuff. I’m a mum to my primary-age twins, I work full time and I’m an author. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Let me explain. I scribbled in coffee shops and bought a lot of stationary before I had my daughters, dreaming of writing but not spilling a lot of ink. Like most people, I look back on those ambling days in awe at how much time I took just farting around wistfully. I was in charge of my own time, I had my evenings, holidays and weekends to myself but rather than get down to business, I never really held myself accountable. Result? I didn’t get much done and I didn’t get very far.
Then family and full-time work took over my life. And I thought to myself, well that’s it. I’ll never have the time to write now! My chance is gone, over; I blew it… but guess what?
The opposite came to be true.
Even though I clearly have a lot less time than before, I faff a lot less. I’m ruthlessly faff-free. In between the demands on me to meet all sorts of needs outside of writing, I appreciate how much I want this. How important it is that I find a way to fit it in to my life.
So I got a slow-cooker, I got the kids to sort their own laundry, I cut-out mid-week wine and tv, I listened to audiobooks during my commute, I kept my notebook under my pillow…. I started clawing back time and it was working.
Some pretty creative multi-tasking kicked in, I started to prioritise and as I took more on, I also let a lot of stuff go. I said no more which was hard at first but, people forgive and forget quickly. My mind-set shifted, between family, work and writing I needed to be accountable. I stopped caring so much if things weren’t perfect, they just needed to be progressing, good enough was good enough. I wanted to tick my tasks off my lists and get them done!
Unbelievably, this did not lead to shoddy work. It was a breakthrough for me. I found my flow, I was too busy being busy to tend to my ego or self-consciousness or over-think or look sideways and compare myself with others. I sat down, set the clock and wrote until my time was up.
At the busiest, most hectic time of my life, the extraordinary happened. I found my voice, I pressed send and I got the call. Turns out that turning up the pressure helped me kick myself in the ass.
I’m not saying I don’t have melt-downs and there are times that I feel completely overwhelmed, but I’ve got a good support system and I’m not ashamed to ask for help now if things are getting a bit much. I’m becoming better at taking mini-breaks when I can completely shut down. Time to reset, eat and drink too much and ignore all emails. And it’s worth it, because when I come back refuelled, I’m rearing to go.
So if you have just had a baby, or you’ve had to return to work or just got promoted in your day job and you’re thinking it means shelving that next book… think again. It might be the perfect little hothouse for you to produce your best work yet.
Colleen Coleman is an Irish-Canadian novelist. She is the winner of the much-coveted Novelicious Undiscovered People’s Choice Award launched to find the next ‘chick-lit star’. She spent over ten years working as a teacher of English and Philosophy before finally taking a deep breath, scrunching her eyes shut, putting her pen to paper and vowing not to lift it again until she wrote the words The End. As a result, her first novel was born. Colleen lives between London, Ireland and Cyprus with her very patient husband and very chatty twin daughters. Don’t Stop Me Now, her first book was released in March 2017 and reached bestseller status world-wide. I'm Still Standing was released in September 2017 to great acclaim and is set to be another smash hit. Two new books for 2018 in the pipeline.