Welcome to Tick-Tock, Writer’s Block. We hope you will find this 10-week series informative as we dive into time management and that little annoyance that seems to plague all writers from time to time, writer’s block.
10 writers have teamed up to offer you tips, tricks, and general information about these issues. We hope this series provides insight and useful tools you can put into practice with your own writing habits!
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“You need to stop working,” said the six-year-old little boy with the big brown eyes and a woeful tone. “You have more important things to do…like taking care of me.”
Ouch! Talk about your arrow to the heart.
This time a year ago, my life was very different. I’d finally achieved my dream of becoming a published author and was under contract for more books. Both my sons had finally reached that magical age where they could care for themselves and not occupy my every waking moment. The oldest was twenty-seven and married and the younger, while still at home, was of self-sufficient college aged. I’d arranged my day job to where I went in early, got off early, and had the rest of the day to write. Yet, even with all that time on my hands, I managed to get very little done and complain all the while that I needed more time if I ever wanted to fulfill my dream of being a full-time writer.
I was so naïve.
Then, on an ordinary day in July, I received the phone call that turned my life upside down. It was my niece calling to say the police and case workers were at her home. “I need you to come get the boys,” she said.
The state of Mississippi Child Protective Services had stepped in and removed these two little ones from their ultra-dysfunctional family situation and if someone didn’t step up to take them in, they would end up in foster care. This wasn’t an out-of-the-blue situation. The issues in this home had been going on for a while and I, along with other family members, had been researching the legal steps needed to intervene. These kids were in a bad situation and bringing them home with me was a simple choice.
I’d already raised two kids on my own, but as I’d mentioned before, they were now grown and it had been nearly twenty years since I’d cared for children so young. I wasn’t as young as I used to be either and I confess I had no idea how my life would change with this decision. Now, I had not only a job that I had to go to, but kids that had to be fed and bathed and looked after. School meetings, doctor appointments, homework, court hearings, field trips, and a host of other things I hadn’t accounted for that come with raising two very troubled little boys were now my responsibility.
I laugh now at how I bemoaned not having time to write back then because now it has become a mission that must be accomplished (I am still under contract and have to get it done.) My life went through big changes that day and it’s taken me a long time to figure out how to work these changes into my life. My writing life took a hit, suddenly dropping to last on the list. I was flailing, reacting to issues and problems as they came up, waiting until the last possible moment to write proposals and marathon sessions to finish my already contracted manuscripts and dealing with kids who, when I need take time to write, gave me major guilt for not spending time with them. Something had to change.
Then a friend reminded me that life is all about priorities. I had to figure out what my priorities were and put them first no matter the cost. Figuring them out was easy. I knew in my heart that God had called me to write and, for this time anyway, he had called me to care for these children. Those were my priorities. Putting them first was much more difficult.
The main thing for me was that with every issue that arose, I had to make a decision – is this a priority for me? I always thought it seemed cliché to say the laundry could wait and the kitchen didn’t always need to be spotless. However, I’m not a neat freak and housekeeping has never been my big consumer of time. For me, it’s always been about my favorite TV shows, reading, movies, and spending time with friends and family. The DVR has become my best friend, recording all my favorite shows and I usually reward myself after meeting a deadline with a marathon session of catching up on them. An extra bonus is being able to fast-forward through the commercials! That is a huge time saver. I also love audio books because I’m able to read my favorite books while I working, driving, or even grocery shopping. While I miss holding a book in my hands, it’s much more satisfactory than simply cutting reading from my life. And spending time with family and friends has had to become much more intentional. My son and I make a date every couple of weeks to catch up on our favorite show, and I make sure my writing schedule allows for time off during holidays to spend with family. But most of my “free” time these days is spent coloring, pushing kids on the swings, or listening to every tidbit about Minecraft the eight-year-old wants to share. It’s not the plans I had for myself even one year ago, but I wouldn’t change one minute of it.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Virginia Vaughan was born and raised in Mississippi and has never strayed far beyond those borders. Blessed to come from a large, Southern family, her fondest memories include listening to stories recounted by family and friends around the large dinner table. She was a lover of books even from a young age and soon started writing them herself. Her current release Mistletoe Reunion Threat, is Book 4 in her Rangers Under Fire series. Look for Book 5, Mission Undercover, releasing August, 2017 and Book 6, Mission: Memory Recall in January, 2018.
Mistletoe Reunion Threat
Someone wants Mississippi prosecutor Ashlynn Morris dead…and they’ve taken her son to get to her. The only person she can trust to get him back is his father, a man who doesn’t even know about their secret child. When grief and survivor guilt pushed army ranger Garrett Lewis to run out on their wedding five years ago, he knew he was leaving behind the love of his life. But a son? Finding out he’s a father has him reeling, especially since his little boy is missing. But now the tormented ex-soldier has a new mission, one that can’t fail. Protect the woman he’s never stopped loving…and bring her son—their son—home for Christmas.
You can learn more about Virginia Vaughan by visiting
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Check out last week’s post, Fighting Words by Liz Johnson. Don’t miss our next post, published every Wednesday!
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