Thursday, April 13, 2017

Making Moments Matter by Angela K. Couch

During a workshop I took on training horses (Parelli Natural Horsemanship), our instructor explained that a horse reacts “in the moment” and there were about four “moments” in each and every second. If you go with this assertion, a moment really isn’t a very long amount of time. Often that’s about how long I feel I have to write at any given time. You see, I’m a stay at home mom with three kids aged 6, 4, 2 and -6 months. (Yep, number 4 is on his or her way!). And we homeschool.

I often get questioned how I get any writing done at all, never mind meeting deadlines left and right. For example, in March I had galleys from my publisher for the second book in my Hearts at War series, then edits back from the editor for book 3…all while trying to finish the last half of book 4’s rough draft…writing a little over 35,000 words in the month. All while making sure my kids were fed and happy. We had books to read and a couple trips to the zoo. Cuddles, crafts… and so forth. 

So how did I find the time?

In the moments.

Don’t underestimate the power of ten minutes spent writing. Or that two hundred words you pounded out in a hurry. They are small by themselves, but put many of those together and you will be amazed what you can accomplish!

Is it easy?

Not in the beginning.

I stopped writing for four years when I started my family. Honestly, I was too busy living. When I felt the need to pick up my pen again, I was intimidated by the prospects. Before getting married, I was used to having full days to sit by myself in the room I rented, with nothing to do but write. Usually it takes a good twenty minutes just to get to the flow of the words again. Now, I didn’t have time for that. I had to train myself not to need it.

Here are some tips that I have found helpful:
  • Listen to music that fits the mood of your book. While doing dishes, playing with kids, or whatever else needs to be done, stay in the mood of your story.
  • Daydream. First, you have to give yourself permission. Put aside the cares and worries of the day for a little while so you can picture the next scene you want to write. Spend time with your characters - chatting with them, putting them in different situations - so that when you have a couple of minutes to sit down at the keyboard, you already have the words.
  • Collect appropriate visuals. I find this a good way to jolt myself back into the story. I have a Pinterest board and glance at it when I first sit down to write…while listening to one of my mood songs for the story. Remember, just a glance to ground yourself. Don’t get caught in the Pinterest trap. ;)
  • Don’t waste your “moments” on social media. Make note that I didn’t say “don’t go there,” but only go there when you have a real reason. Do you have a promotion to run? A post to get up?  Something useful?  Or do you just feel like “checking it quickly” to see what everyone else is doing? I fall into that trap too often and then wonder where all my time went!
  • Don’t forget your priorities. God, family…and then whatever comes next. When everything is in its order, life falls into place.
What tricks or suggestions do you have for making the most of the moments?

Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home—not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain—so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.

Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won't grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope—if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes…

Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded…and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.

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Bio: To keep from freezing in the Great White North, Angela K Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and warm) by chasing after three munchkins.