Today’s article is written by Suzannah Windsor Freeman, founding editor.
They say two hands are better than one, but what happens when you only have one available?
As most of you will know, I have four children, including a set of 16-week-old twins. The next oldest is only 2.5 years old. My little angels keep me extremely busy…so busy that I often don’t sit down with my hands free until all the children are in bed.
But, as someone who loves to write, I make due with the time and resources I have. I may not get to engage in a full-on writing session every day, but I don’t let being busy stop me from achieving my writing goals.
Engaging Your Write Hand
Your write hand (be it your right or left) is good for many things, even when your other hand is occupied.
It can help you:
- Hold a book or eBook reader. When I can’t be writing, I’m reading. I still make frequent use of the public library,and read digital books on my Kindle. Sometimes I even read stories straight off my computer.
- Write with a pencil. Although I’m most accustomed to writing on my computer, and though my penmanship leaves a lot to be desired, a pencil and notepad are a close second when you only have the use of one hand.
- Type (albeit, slowly). I’m still working on my stories-in-progress, little by little, and a lot of the time that involves typing with just one hand. If I don’t feel like writing an entire paragraph one key at a time, I’ll just jot down keywords to help me remember what I want to write, then fill in the gaps later.
- Research. Browsing the internet really only involves one hand, which means I can research for one of my stories.
- Navigate an mp3 player. Audiobooks and writing podcasts are an awesome way to keep learning and stay inspired while you use your hands for other things.
- Proofread a story. Dig out a completed story or section of your book, and give it a careful proofread, correcting for spelling, grammar, and style as you go along.
- Take an inspiring picture. Many writers, including me, are inspired by the visual (no wonder Pinterest is so popular these days). Use your free hand to snap a photo of something beautiful or interesting, which will act as a visual springboard for your writing.
- Draw a picture or graph of a story idea. Who says story planning has to involve words? A story concept can be just as easily sketched out in scenes or graphs with minimal wording.
- Hold a remote control. I’m not saying you should sit on the couch watching TV all day, but times when my babies both want to be cuddled or fed, I can put on a movie and mentally analyse its story structure.
- Find and share helpful writing resources. Twitter and Facebook are great places to find new writing resources, as well as share them with other writers. It’s better to engage in social media when you’re not actively writing, so you don’t risk interrupting your train of thought in the midst of penning your magnum opus.
Finding time to write isn’t easy when you’re a busy parent, and there will always be days when you feel you’re fighting a losing battle. But when you’re tempted to say, “I have no time for writing because my hands are never my own,” ask yourself whether you’re being completely honest.
Is your write hand free? What could you be doing with it write now?
Join the discussion
Ashley Prince says
I really like this post. I never thought about all the things I could to further my writing with just one hand.
Great tips, Suzannah. 😀
Lisa Ahn says
I love these tips — quick, easy, and practical. I used to read while I was nursing.
I’m still learning how to balance motherhood, homeschooling, and writing — it’s a work in progress. One trick that helps me is to have pens and paper all over the house, in my purse, and the car, so that I can quickly write down a story idea whenever it arrives (usually in the middle of something else).
Having pens and paper in many different places is a great way to never forget a good story idea!
Julia Rossen says
Thanks for your inspiration. I’m a busy grandmother of 6 little ones, aged 2 months – 4 years, whom I care for (not all at once) 4 or more days a week, and I appreciate your example of someone who writes with little children under her care.
That’s great that you’re able to help out with your grandchildren, Julia! Good luck with finding some balance to your day.
Lisa Frideborg Lloyd says
Great tips Suzannah and very timely for me over the summer as I have my big kids over from Sweden. I decided to cut right down on social media – I even left FB! – and will use these tips to squeeze as much writing in as possible… Thanks for sharing! 🙂
I’ve been very tempted to delete my Facebook account a few times, just temporarily. Haven’t done it yet, but I might in the future!