To What Degree?

There are many potential writers out there, and published writers, too, for that matter, who feel you must have a degree in English or English Literature in order to become a writer. I wholeheartedly disagree. My own background is in film, where I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Cinema. Other writers I know studied a variety of different subjects in college or didn’t graduate at all. Even some very famous authors studied medicine or anthropology or science.

Why the emphasis on the degree in English? Perhaps because some people feel that you must have a command of the English language in order to write. There is some truth to that, but that doesn’t mean you have to be degreed in that subject. If you lack good grammar, take some classes to improve your skills. But a naturally gifted storyteller will know how to string words and sentences and paragraphs together to make a coherent story from beginning to end. The classes will hone your skills, but you must have those God-given gifts inside in the first place for you to work with.

So if you want to be a writer, but don’t have a degree in English with an emphasis on writing, don’t worry. Study those things that interest you, take a few classes to sharpen your writing skills, then write about things you know and love.

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Routine Time

My kids started back to school this week. They all have new routines to get used to. Instead of sleeping in, they have to get up early. During the school day, they have to get used to different classes and different teachers. Instead of having leisure afternoons, they have homework. Drop off and pick up times have changed. It’s zoom here and zoom there.

My own routine has changed as well. Not only am I back in the driver seat as head chauffeur to the various school we have to go to, but I have to get back to fitting all my errands into the early morning hours so I can have time to write before my chauffeuring time starts all over again in the afternoon.

It’s nice to be able to sit and write without the extra noise and distractions. Yes, I love it when my kids are around, but I do enjoy the quiet moments when I can let the creative juices flow nonstop.

It’s good to get back into a routine. Sometimes we need that bit of organization to force us to get certain things done. Maybe in a few days my kids will be thinking that, too.

Working Around Summer Deadlines

With my kids home for the summer, and my deadlines still looming, I’ve been trying to juggle between being an attentive mother and a serious writer. It’s  not easy. I don’t want to miss time with my children while they’re home, and I don’t want to blow my reputation of keeping ahead of my deadlines by falling behind, especially since these are paid opportunities. So what do I do?

First, I try to work when the kids are busy. When they’re watching a favorite TV show, or playing one of their video games, or even playing outside, I can work on a rewrite or jot notes for a story. Then I look for opportunities when we have appointments. All my kids had dental appointments this summer, so that added up to 30 minutes of work per child. That could be a whole story, or at least a good outline. Finally, my kids love sleeping in. I love getting up early. That gives me precious minutes where I can research or write.

Of course, there are times when I need to work while they’re not busy. I’m blessed with pretty understanding kids, so as long as I devote some time throughout my day to them, they are a bit forgiving with an hour or two (or sometimes three) where they know I must get something down on paper (a.k.a. word-processor).

When summer comes to a close, I will note all those deadlines I was able to make (ahead of time!) while still spending valuable and quality time with my kids. It just takes creativity in making those spare minutes work.