6 Ways to Make More Time for Blogging & Writing While Homeschooling

The following is a guest post written by Jody Hedlund.

As a homeschooling mom of five children, I pour my heart and soul into my children each day.

After teaching at home for close to ten years, I’ve gradually realized it’s not healthy for me or even good for my children if I continually focus all my time and energy completely on them.

The fact is when we give of ourselves day-in and day-out, always pouring out but never filling up, we eventually find ourselves drained, going through the motions, and maybe even ready to give up homeschooling. Yes, the role of motherhood entails sacrifice at the very core. We would gladly and willingly lay down our lives for our children.

However, we need to find ways to fill ourselves back up. We can’t keep on giving when there’s nothing left. Our children and husbands can see when we’re frazzled and empty. They feel the effects of it. Not only do we suffer for our burnout, they do too.

We need to take some time to rejuvenate, recharge, and refresh so that we have what it takes to keep on going for the long haul. Of course there are countless ways to fill ourselves back up (exercising, gardening, baking, sewing, etc.). But over the years, I’ve learned that for me, writing is one of the best ways I can refuel.

In fact, over the past five years I’ve completed four full-length novels. The first book The Preacher’s Bride released last fall (through Bethany House Publishers). Another book, The Doctor’s Lady is releasing in September. I also have a blog where I teach and encourage other aspiring writers.

One of the questions I’m asked the most is, “How do you find time to write AND homeschool five children? How do you balance everything?”

I have to admit, it’s not easy to juggle the growing responsibilities of published author life and homeschooling. But writing and blogging help fill up my tank. The creative process of writing brings me renewed energy for homeschooling and motherhood.

Writing is a gift, an outlet, a way to connect with others in a similar situation, a way to pull thoughts together, an opportunity to minister to others, encourage, and uplift. Ultimately, writing and blogging can be so much more than a public journal—they can be a way to bless others.

But how do we make time to write and blog with all of the other demands on our time?

Here are six techniques I use to juggle writing/blogging and all my other responsibilities:

1. Schedule writing time.

We need to pencil into our daily planner our writing time the same way we schedule subjects into the school day.

I block out a little bit of time in the morning before my family awakens. I also carve out time in the afternoons when I’m done with all my teaching.

2. Prioritize our activities.

Photo by Richard Summers

We can’t do everything, even the really worthwhile activities. When we fill our lives so full of going here and there, we risk losing the creativity that comes from “down time.”

We need those hours, even days, when we have the freedom to be home and just create. (And quite frankly, our kids need to be “bored” too, because boredom breeds creativity.)

3. Don’t wait for the perfect moment.

Otherwise we won’t ever write. My afternoon writing time begins after my kids are done with school, when they’re noisy, energetic, and just being kids.

That means my writing time is often full of interruptions and chaos. But I write anyway! (And use headphones!)

4. Plan alone, extended and uninterrupted writing for once a week, if possible.

Because of the less than ideal writing conditions the rest of the week, I make a point of taking extended writing time on the weekends or during an evening.

Extended time allows us critical focused alone time.

5. Get your family behind your writing.

My sweet kids!

Even though my afternoons are less-than-ideal for writing, I still try to teach my children to respect my writing time.

When I take it seriously, they’re more apt to follow suit. If we explain to our husbands the importance of refueling ourselves, we can enlist their support as well.

6. Eradicate the guilt.

Realize that when we’re pursuing something we love, we’re modeling to our children that they too can pursue their passions, and that learning, being creative, and expressing ourselves never ends.

What about you? Are you taking the time to refuel and refresh yourself on a regular basis? Do you ever feel guilty for spending time doing things you love?

Comments

  1. This was so timely for me. I just came back from getting a glass of water in a completely silent household. I heard myself say out loud, “Thank you Lord for a quiet house!” I live in China (loud), homeschool (loud) 5 kids (loud) and my husband works at home (not so loud, but adds an element of awareness in my day). I sat down to write this afternoon because all of my children are at someone else’s house. I am writing and feeling so refreshed. I’ve let my writing time slip recently and I can see it in my reactions to my kids. Thanks for the reminder to carve out writing time.

  2. I totally agree that we should enrich our selves. we are the Source of our children and we need to take care to our selves. thanks for great tips :)
    Anna’s latest post: How to attract the right man?

  3. When I saw this on the editorial calendar I was very excited. You wrote The Preacher’s Bride – wow. It’s on my library hold list right now.

    Thank you Jody for sharing here. I’m actually using the very same steps you describe to pursue my own writing. Except weekends are definitely family time and I can’t carve out large chunks of time right now.

    But having my husband on board I think is more important than just an afterthought. It’s crucial. We are a team and highly value each other’s creative pursuits. And are willing to sacrifice other things to support each other in that. I think that matters a lot, at least to me.

  4. Hello, ladies! Great to hear from each of you! And Renee, I agree. Not everyone has the blessing of a supportive partner. But for those of us who do, we really can help each other in our pursuits as well as shared responsibilities with homeschooling. This past school year, my husband began teaching our children two mornings a week. Not only did this give me a break in the school week and give our children some more daddy-time. But I was able to use that time to close myself away in my office and write.

  5. Great post! It’s great to hear that others out there are homeschooling and writing too. Although I don’t write novels, I do write pages on my website for other homeschoolers. I have found that the mornings before everyone is up are the most productive for me.
    Heidi’s latest post: Cheap Homeschool

  6. Thank you for this – I needed the push, especially this week!! :) Congrats on all your writing achievements, I’m going to have to check out your books.
    Cassandra
    http://www.spiritedhomeschool.blogspot.com
    Cassandra’s latest post: GREAT Series from Bruxy Cavey on Technology – "Rage Against the Machine"

  7. Thanks for the advice. I spend a lot of my time with my children during the day. Things can be tricky with scheduling because we unschool, but I try to get in at least an hour of writing a day. My husband also gives me three hours one evening a week, too. It definitely has taught be to be very focused with my time.
    Christina Pilkington’s latest post: Unstructured Play & The Structured Child

  8. Monica @ paper bridges says:

    Thanks for the great advice, Jody. It helps me to know there are homeschooling moms out there who write without sacrificing a commitment to educating their kids. I can do it!
    Monica @ paper bridges’s latest post: What I learned about myself at VBS this year

  9. Hi Jody!
    One of my favorite things about you is the no-nonsense way you show your work to your children: you push for excellence in your writing and constantly model consistent commitment (how’s that for alliteration?). This is a huge gift to them. And to me. xo
    Caroline Starr Rose’s latest post: Illustrator C. S. Neal on Designing MAY B.’s Cover

  10. I homeschool my daughter and have a little one due this September. I’ve spent the last several months devoting myself to a budding writing/speaking career, while continuing homeschool, moving to a new state and dealing with the ups and downs that come with being pregnant. Intuitively, I know what I’m doing is my right path. But it helps to hear it from someone with a lot more experience – and more kids! Eradicating the guilt has been the best thing I’ve done so far on this journey. It’s especially helpful in navigating my well-meaning but naysaying family and friends.

    Thank you for posting this. It made my morning.
    Brandy’s latest post: The night I spent in jail

  11. I’m really loving hearing from everyone today! (And a special wave to Caroline a long-time blogging friend!) Brandy, I agree about eradicating the guilt in the face of well-meaning but naysaying friends. There will always be those who don’t understand or accept homeschooling. And there will also be those who won’t understand the gift of writing (or whatever it is we pursue). I’ve gotten plenty of raised eyebrows over the years for having a large family, homeschooling, and now writing. I’ve learned to largely ignore what other people think and do what is best for my family and our situation!

  12. Hi Jody.

    You insights are really beautiful. I can really feel your words. Like you’ve said that “always pouring out but never filling up” really hit me. Being a selfless person is a good thing but I think having time for ourselves is also as important. I wish you good luck on your endeavors. Stay happy.
    PrinFil’s latest post: How To Start Saving Money

  13. I REALLY needed to read this today. I am organizing our homeschooling for this year all this week. With 7kids I am wondering how I am going to manage the schooling and the blogging (this year being my first serious/public year of blogging).
    God Bless the moms with 2 kids…but if I read one more about balancing the two kids with the blogging I was going to give up…I have a tribe and I needed to read about another larger family and the balance.
    I would love to know which writing program you use with your children? I fumble every year with which program to use. I have yet to find a good fit. Any ideas are helpful!
    Thanks again for taking the time to write this. Really encouraging!
    T
    T @aseedinspired’s latest post: How to handle the small Drought….

    • I haven’t found the perfect fit yet either. Unfortunately! And I’ve tried several different programs. For creative writing, I’ve finally settled upon the idea of letting my children make up their own stories and just have fun with them. That’s what I did as a child and having the freedom to fill notebooks with stories was one of the best and most helpful things I ever did to foster my love of writing. I don’t worry about correcting my children’s stories at this point. I do focus on teaching them Grammar mechanics and how to write essays (and non-fiction) through the Grammar curriculum that I use. But for fiction (at least for now), I’m fostering their creativity through free writing (and lots of reading!).

      • T @aseedinspired says:

        Maybe it’s time someone came up with a good one!…. If only their was a creative writer who was versed in how to publish a book and knew the ins and outs of balancing writing and a largish family….. Hmmm? If only we knew someone so talented….lol.
        What grammar curriculum or curriculums do find to be a good fit?
        T

        • Lol! Would be really fun to develop a fiction-writing curriculum for children someday! I’ll have to keep that in mind! As far as grammar, I’ve really liked Shurley English. They incorporate writing into each week’s lesson plans. Each of my children so far have had no problems learning to write expository, persausive, or descriptive essays as a result of the curriculum. Of course no curriculum will be perfect, but I’m not planning to switch from Shurley English anytime soon!

  14. Perfect timing! I’ve been feeling more and more overwhelmed the last few weeks and your post really helped.
    Virginia’s latest post: Potty training Giveaway

  15. Hi Jody! Caroline sent me over today. This was such a wonderful post. I feel like I’m constantly reminding myself that it’s okay to take a little time for me. If I want to be a happy mommy refueling is crucial.

  16. Thanks for the great tips, Jody. I’d like to add that they can be applied to whatever cottage industry a mama has going. I’ve been homeschooling for 17 years (six children) and just 4 years ago began a writing career on the side. Afternoon rest time was my “solemn hour.” Now, everyone is old enough to know not to come into mommy’s office between 2-6 p.m.
    Carol J. Alexander’s latest post: IMPORTANT *** I’ve Moved *** IMPORTANT

  17. Hello ladies! Glad Caroline sent you over, Natalie! Caroline is a such a sweetheart!

    And Carol, great point. The tips I’ve listed can certainly be applied to any type of passion that we pursue. Each of us have different giftings (not everyone will find that writing fills their tank!). It’s important to find out what refuels us so that we have the energy to pour back into our families.

  18. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here, Jody! I think the key for me has been to “not wait for the perfect moment.” My kids are having rest time right now, and I’ve already been interrupted 3 or 4 times! But every little minute helps and they add up to something much bigger.
    Jamie ~ Simple Homeschool’s latest post: 6 Ways to Make More Time for Blogging & Writing While Homeschooling

  19. I’m an early morning writer too – I get up at 5 and get about 2 hours before DH goes to work. The key to those morning hours is knowing exactly what I need to accomplish each day. For me, it’s not enough to just say “I’ll write every day” because at 4:45 when the alarm goes off, it’s SOOOO tempting to decide I really need more sleep. But if I know that I have X, Y, and Z that need to get done, I can’t tempt myself out of my writing time.

  20. Such a great post! Thank you for this. As someone who is equally passionate about both homeschooling and writing, I’ve often struggled with how to reconcile the two. I appreciate your practical suggestions for how to make it work.
    Scooper’s latest post: Eternity in Our Hearts…

  21. I am not a writer, but one thing that has helped me in figuring out how to be the best mom/wife/friend/homeschool teacher/cook/ME…… is a change of wording, which alters my perspective. I try not to think of it as juggling (which feels chaotic) or balancing these things in my life, but integrating these things in my life. Somehow that word change makes a big difference to me. Just a thought to add.

    I really like this post, and it definitely applies to non-writers as well! Thanks for sharing your passion.

  22. Oh how I needed this today! Your words are gold to my heart! I’ve been facing this struggle since finally sitting down to start taking my writing seriously a little over two months ago. I was really struggling to get in all my commitments and we are only on homeschool “lite” for summer so I was getting really worried about how to integrate all the new scheduling challenges so everything gets done. I happened to have just sat down to not only schedule my writing time in-but develop a better routine for our family that includes both my writing and my running. I cringe when I have friends tell me I’ll have to choose when we hit September and are full tilt to homeschooling again. I keep thinking I can do this! I just need to find my way. And here you are today-encouraging me along. Bless you for that!
    Tara@riceandbeanslife’s latest post: This Little Piggy Went to Market-The Farmer’s Market, That Is!

  23. So glad that my post could encourage many of you to see the value in pursuing your passions and gifts! If we make time (I like “integrate” Carlyn!), I believe we’ll be able to recharge ourselves so that we have more to give our families in the long run! I know my family has benefitted from my writing in so many unexpected ways!

  24. I am glad to have read this. As we begin to plan for another year of homeschooling our middle-school-aged kids, I wonder how we’re going to be able to SANELY accomplish it all. And sometimes I’ve wondered if it even makes sense for me to try to squeeze writing my blog into the mix.
    I’m thankful for the encouragement from this post, and all the comments, too.
    Root and Twig’s latest post: Turning our Front Lawn into a Vegetable Garden (Pt 1): Rationale

  25. Great tips! I think I like don’t wait for the perfect moment to come along! It never will! You just have to take what time you can carve out of your life at whatever point you are.
    Going to go check out your book!
    Bernice
    Living the Balanced Life’s latest post: Taking care of me

  26. I am adamant about taking the time to write….perhaps not every day, but almost. Even if it means staying up until 1 a.m., I’m willing to do it because it’s my connection to the world. I explore relationships and emotions and motivation through the act of writing and when I neglect it for too long, the world starts seeming pretty flat.

    Hopefully I can keep it up when the school year starts!

    Thank you for the great post :)
    dweej @ HouseUnseen’s latest post: Homeschool Prep 101

  27. This post was so timely for me. As single mom homeschooling 3 boys, I have found it difficult lately to focus on my writing. It’s time to move from the TO DO list to the laptop. Thanks again and congratulations on your upcoming book.

  28. I just started homeschooling and blogging, thanks for the tips!
    Melissa Larson’s latest post: Reasons I Decided To Homeschool

  29. Such encouraging words. I’ve often wondered how you managed your writing and homeschooling. I have much the same schedule. Aren’t earplugs great? And when I don’t make the time for writing . . . I’m sort of a bear to live with.
    V.V. Denman’s latest post: Interview & Book Give-away – Mary DeMuth

  30. LOL!! Yes, earplugs are essential! ;-)

  31. What a great article! But I wanted to just say that this goes far beyond writing! Women are creative & need to crave out time to be creative! Writing, Sewing, Cooking, Scrapbooking. It’s beautful to see mothers modeling how to be creative in day to day life.

  32. Just what I needed to read today — thank you. :D
    Meg’s latest post: Au revoir…

  33. I love this post…Thank you for sharing it to us!!It is not easy to blog and at the same time, schooling…
    Robin’s latest post: Bringing your new arowanas home …

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