How to Balance Motherhood and Writing

I’ve been a professional writer for the last decade, and for the last half of that decade, I’ve also been a mom. I deeply love being a writer, and I deeply love being a mom…but the two passions don’t always line up smoothly. Writing requires a certain amount of focus and quiet and time–three things that are often difficult (if not impossible!) to find as a mom. Kids don’t seem to appreciate the fine art of offering their parents uninterrupted blocks of quiet, focused time…

Still, I don’t think that writing and motherhood are mutually exclusive. In fact, I’ve found that the two can jive really well together–with some creativity and help. Over the years, I’ve talked with so many fellow moms who are struggling with how to stay connected to their passion as a writer while simultaneously holding down the fort at home (and also sometimes at work). And that’s why I’ve created The Writing Mom Course.

How to Balance Writing and Motherhood at The Writing Mom. www.thewritingmomcourse.com

This course covers the big questions and practical insights that women are looking for as they pursue writing in the season of motherhood, and I am SO EXCITED about it. We talk about issues of time, balance, writing voice, platform, and others–the list goes on! I’ve poured what I’ve learned as a writing mom into these six classes and worksheets, and I’d love for you to visit the new site, watch the video, and learn about how I want to encourage and equip you on your writing journey!

Also, this week only, I’ve knocked the price down to $39.95…which is cheaper than a family of four going out to eat! I’m hopeful that this can be a resource for you as you pursue your passion of writing as a mom!

Join me here, at The Writing Mom!

The Writing Mom Course at www.thewritingmomcourse.com

The 2016 Writer’s Gift Guide

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I’m starting to see “gift guides” pop up online, and I wanted to join in the fun! I offered a Writer’s Gift Guide in 2015, and it was really well received–I think almost all of us know people in our lives who love to write (or we are the ones who love to write!), and this is an easy post to share with others (wink!). Here are my top 10 gifts to give the writers in your life this year!

The 2016 Writers Gift Guide is live--perfect for the writer in your life, especially if that writer is you!… Click To Tweet
  1. How else could I possibly start? A book. Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies is one of my all-time favorite books for fellow writers, both for its meticulous prose and also for McEntyre’s vision for language. She is calling us to use words as people of faith and love–and the outcome of that calling is deeply meaningful. A powerful text for any word-lover in your life!Caring for Words in the Writers Gift Guide 2016 at www.annswindell.com
  2. A beautiful journal set. I love this one from Dayspring–it reminds me that words travel so much farther than I can, and includes a journal, pencil pouch, and set of postcards ready for sending! Get this for the word-lover in your life who you wish you could hug more often! And use the code: SHINEHISLIGHT to save $20 off of a $60 purchase + get free shipping! Yay!
  3. Journal set from DayspringA planner. Writers need clarity when it comes to scheduling their days and setting aside intentional time to write. The planner that I use is from Anchored Press, and I even had the privilege of contributing to their weekly planner this year. These planners are GORGEOUS, practical, and filled with the truth of Scripture–just what we all need to keep us on track!
    Anchored Press Weekly Planner. Writing Gift Guide at annswindell.com
  4. Personalized Writing Coaching. Oftentimes, writers have ideas and dreams and projects that they want to work on, but they don’t know how to strengthen and sharpen their writing–or what the next best step is to take in their calling as a writer. Through Writing with Grace, I offer individualized coaching for writers, and am now setting up calls starting in January. If you want to invest in your own calling as a writer–or if you want to show the writer in your life how deeply you believe in them, this would be the gift that keeps on giving! My coaching clients walk away with practical steps to take in their writing career, along with encouragement and vision for moving forward. Email WritingwithGraceCourse@gmail.com if you’re interested in setting this up and we can chat. I even have a gift card that you can give to your recipient so they have something to open on Christmas day!Writing with Grace Coaching. Email WritingwithGraceCourse@gmail.com

     

  5. A Goal-setting system, like Powersheets from the Cultivate What Matters Shop. I’ve written about these before, but most writers have a hard time juggling both their writing dreams and their everyday commitments; what happens is that usually the writing goes by the wayside. Powersheets have helped me to set priorities in my life around my calling and my gifts, all while keeping the Lord at the center. I am a huge fan of Powersheets and already pre-ordered my set for 2017!
    PowerSheets by Lara Casey
  6. A book pillow! I’m a sucker for quirky pillows, and being surrounded by books is always delightful, whether it’s a stack of books on my desk or a delightful throw pillow that represents books on my couch. This is a fun pick–clean, bright, and just cheeky enough to make even a curmudgeon smile!Book Pillow at the Writers Gift Guide 2016 from annswindell.com
  7. Business cards. Sometimes writers need the validation of owning the truth that they ARE writers; it can be hard to say that you’re a writer if it’s never out in the open with others. Consider buying your favorite writer a pack of business cards as a way of encouraging her in her dream of writing–and make it stylish while you’re at it! I love these from Moo, which is where I purchase my business cards; the quality is extremely high. Click here and then search for “writer” in the upper right-hand corder to bring up a fun array of business cards related to writing!Writer business cards in the Writers Gift Guide 2016 at www.annswindell.com

     

  8. A meaningful magazine subscription. The best writers are thoughtful readers, and one of my all-time favorite publications is Deeply Rooted Magazine. This is a beautiful, theologically rich publication that is deeply encouraging and aesthetically stunning, all at the same time. I’ve written for them for years (and hope to do so forever)! Order the writer in your life a yearly subscription and keep the gift going for the next twelve months!Deeply Rooted Magazine Subscription in the Writers Gift Guide 2016 at annswindell.com

     

  9. A nice pen. Yes, most of us do our writing on screens nowadays, but there’s nothing like writing with a smooth pen on fresh paper. If you’re already getting the writer in your life a journal set (see #2), something like this would be a great stocking stuffer!Fringe Pen for the 2016 Writer Gift Guide at www.annswindell.com
  10. One more book. I couldn’t help myself–if you’re looking to encourage the writer in your life with spiritual truth (from a fellow writer!), you can pre-order my book, Still Waiting. It comes out April 4th, and I’ve been praying for the readers of this book for over a year. You can read more about the book here, but I think this is a great gift for the writer–and reader–in your life. I’ve poured my heart into it, and my prayer is that this book will be an encouragement to each and every person who reads it.

Still Waiting: Hope for When God Doesn't Give You What You Want www.annswindell.com

Well, there you have it: these are my top 10 gifts for the writer in your life–even if that writer is yourself! What else would you add to this list? Is there anything you can’t live without in your writing life? Share what you love with me!

May this holiday season be full of transformative words, conversations, and gifts that lead us to truth and beauty in Christ!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links,
all for products that I love and believe in–and use–myself!

The 2016 Writer's Gift Guide at annswindell.com

Yes, the World Needs Your Story

The World Needs Your Story www.annswindell.comThis is the start of my newest piece for Darling Magazine.
You can read the whole article here!

For those of us who find ourselves drawn to the written word, the pull toward pen and paper is more than just a hobby. It’s a lifeline. Many of us flourish when there are words flowing from our soul onto the page — we’re able to make sense of things better when we’re writing, and we think our thoughts most clearly when we write them down on paper.

For those of us drawn to the written word, writing is more than a hobby--it's a lifeline. #amwriting Click To Tweet

As unique as the personal writing experience is for each of us, research is starting to reveal a universal reality that many of us have inherently known for a long time: writing about our lives is healing. Several studies point to the fact that when we honestly write about our own lives, working through our questions and challenges on the page, we can experience emotional breakthrough. That’s because when we take time to write about what’s bothering us, the act of writing enables us to see our lives in a new way and release past burdens. Writing can help us reframe our experiences and see ourselves as active participants in our lives, rather than as victims or observers.

Additional research has found that people who take time to intentionally write about their emotional state “were able to create the distance between the thinker and the thought, the feeler and the feeling, that allowed them to gain a new perspective, unhook, and move forward.” When we write about what’s happening internally, it enables us to parse experience from emotion — and then decide how to change.

Writing is a powerful tool.

If you’ve never taken the time to write your story down, maybe this is the nudge that you need. While writing about our journey and the emotions that we’ve experienced may feel initially overwhelming, the work that it can do in our hearts and our minds might actually change the course of our lives. It can help us to really see how we’ve been living and what it might look like to flip the script in our current story.

Read the rest of the article here, at Darling Magazine!

And if you want to write your story, check out my online writing course, Writing with Grace: Memoir. Registration is open until October 6th, and I’m offering a discount to blog readers: save 10% with the code: MEMOIR10. I can’t wait to join you there!

Image via Maddie Greer

Don’t Write to Get Published

I have a deep respect for The Gospel Coalition and the work that they are doing online and in the “real” world as an organization that unabashedly proclaims the truth of the Bible. I was able to attend The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference in June, and just this week I had the opportunity to write for their blog. It was an honor to write for TGC about one of my favorite topics! You can link to the full article here.

And, if you’re a fellow writer, make sure to read all the way to the end of the article at TGC, where I offer a discount code for my Writing with Grace course–registration is open until the 17th of August (and don’t forget to check out the site and the brand-new video I released)!

Don't Write Just to Get Published www.annswindell.com

Here’s the start of the article for The Gospel Coalition:

For those of us who love words, we’re drawn to the clack of the keyboard and the parsing of meaning on the page. We feel alive as we wrangle words into sentences; some of us even feel closer to God as we work out our faith by writing about it. Time spent writing feels important, even holy.

For those of us who love words, we’re drawn to the clack of the keyboard. We feel alive as we wrangle words into… Click To Tweet

But for many of us, running parallel with our love of writing is the desire to get published. This desire can be fueled by the culture at large, which says our writing only matters if our readership is huge and our byline well known. Publication is commonly assumed to be the goal of the writing life, and seeing our words in print the truest form of validation for our work.

As an author and teacher of writing, I often have conversations with other writers fixated on publication. They’re desperate to see their work published somewhere. They want to know how to start a writing career, or how to get the inside scoop on writing for a top magazine.

In response to their questions, I have to ask: Do you want to be published? Or do you want to write?

Do you want to be published? Or do you want to write? Click To Tweet

These aren’t the same question, although many of us confuse one for the other. For as much as writing is tethered to publishing, getting published doesn’t make a writer. Writing makes a writer.

Read the rest of the article over at The Gospel Coalition, and don’t miss out on open registration for Writing with Grace!

Writing with Grace course www.writingwithgrace.com

How to Grow as a Writer: 5 Ways

Perhaps one of the questions that gets tossed around the most in writing circles the question of how to grow as a writer. It can feel elusive and unclear–how does one grow in a skill that can’t be quantified, like math? How does one get better as a writer when the skill can’t be taught like teaching someone to ride a bike? There’s no ten-step process to becoming an exquisite writer (although many of us wish there was).

From Hemingway to Dickens, from Voskamp to Niequist, there is a wide and maddening range of what readers love and what any particular reader might consider “good.” That’s why much of writing revolves around the discovery of a writer’s voice and strengths. We have to learn to strengthen our weaknesses and capitalize on our natural abilities. Most of us also need a good editor.

However, I do know that there are things all of us can do to offer ourselves opportunities to grow. There are disciplines that we can adhere to, practices that we can participate in. This is part of the reason why I offer Writing with Grace, the live, online, six-week course that I teach for writers who want to grow in their writing voice, craft, and ability. We tackle a lot of the nitty-gritty of writing well in that class, and I offer a lot of tools that good writers rely on to bolster their work. Head over to www.writingwithgrace.com to check it out–this post will still be right here when you come back.

I thought it might be helpful to create an infographic of some of the ways that all of us can grow as writers. Check it out below, and hang out with me over at Writing with Grace!

How to Grow as a Writer www.writingwithgrace.com

Writing for Christ’s Glory

Writing for Christ's glory.

Image via Deeply Rooted Magazine

This is the start of my newest article for Deeply Rooted Magazine.
Read the full article here!

For those of us who are word lovers, who enjoy the feeling of pens in our hands and keys clacking under our fingertips, writing often feels like second nature, like coming home. We love the ways that words help us make sense of our lives and help us encounter God.

This, I believe, is a good and holy thing.

After all, God spoke the universe into existence with a word. The first five verses of the book of John remind us of the beautiful and timeless declaration that Jesus is, himself, the Word—and so we see that who God is and how he is are bound up in the power of words.

To be those who love and use words is a high and sacred calling—and not one that we can take lightly. This is because words hold great power; they name us, shape us, and ultimately point us (and our readers) to the Truth of Christ or to lies and death.

Words hold great power; they name us, shape us, and point us to truth--or lies. Click To Tweet

But how do we seek to be women who are writing for Christ’s glory? While there’s no one definitive answer, my own journey as a writer has shown me several ways that we can focus our hearts and our words on Jesus in this work of writing.

First, I believe that writing for Christ’s glory means that we lay down our right to renown. In the world’s eyes, a writer garners praise for her byline, for her status, for her fame. But to write in the Kingdom may mean something else entirely. It means that our heart’s aim is not to secure our own fame, but the fame of our King. If we have opportunities to write that further his Kingdom and his work in the world, then we can pursue those without concern for our own name.

Read the rest of the article here, at Deeply Rooted!

And if you’re a writer, head over to Writing with Grace to learn about the six week writing course that I teach. Registration is open now, but only for a little while longer!