If you are anything like me, you struggle to find hours in your day to do important tasks that don't revolve around writing. Kids. Husband. Dinner. Laundry. Pets. Home improvements. And I could go on. It seems I'm forever trying to find more time to deal with all of these while still maintaining a somewhat regular writing schedule.
One thing that used to fall by the wayside, more often than not, was dinner. I would look up from my manuscript, and it would be dinner time. Yet dinner wasn't anywhere near finished and maybe not even considered. "Yes, do you think you could pick up pizza on your way home?"
For me, this whole "Let's order out" thing had to be thrown out the window due to some recently diagnosed allergies. So obviously that meant I was now cooking and not writing through the dinner hour... right? Ha! I just got creative with the carry-out ideas. But then our budget objected, and I had to find another way around the fact that I needed to write and not think about dinner while still providing dinner for the four other people who believed they needed to eat more than the characters of my novels.
Fine. I'll figure something out.
And I did. It's what is being referred to these days as Once a Month Cooking. I spend all day once a month planning, shopping, prepping, bagging, and freezing all my meals for the whole month. No really. THE WHOLE MONTH. Then, each morning after I stumble to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee, I put whatever I've defrosted (taken from the freezer the night before at dinner or earlier) in the crockpot and head back to my office. Sometimes the item doesn't need to be defrosted (love those) and sometimes it takes my third cup of coffee before I wrap my head around someone else's needs besides the characters of my book. Luckily, all the recipes I've been using have both high and low directions for those who commonly forget everything else all day long. Then, when I hear the footfalls of my husband coming through the door at just about dinner time, I don't have to panic anymore. I'm ready, and we can all sit together and discuss our day (and the plots roaming through my head).
Not only has this made dinner much tastier (you can't beat home cooked!), but it has made me much less stressed. I'm able to really focus on my projects for the day, knowing my family will be fed when the time comes (Forget lunch. You're on your own, kids.).
If this sounds like something you want to try, you can get more information on Once a Month Cooking at the Freezer Friendly Meals blog intro to OAMC. There are also a lot of great freezer friendly blogs and websites to get recipes from: Martha Stewart,Food Network, Food.com, Rachel Ray. Or just Google "Freezer Friendly Recipes", and you will get oodles. I will say most of your current family favorites are probably freezable, which means you can make them ahead, then defrost and throw them in the oven, crockpot, or in a skillet on the stove top.
Now if I could just find a time shortcut for all the laundry... minions? House elves? Any ideas?
Do you struggle with managing your time for writing and all your "chores"? What are some of your tips or tricks that have shaved minutes off your to-do list and added them to your write time?
Eisley Jacobs lives in Shingle Springs, California with her three children and husband.
Eisley actively writes the characters that stroll through her head. The first YA Novel she completed was in high school, but somehow got lost in the shuffle into real life. While studying at college, stories began to plague her mind and she tried her best to keep them at bay while she did more important things like... like... Who are we kidding? Her grades suffered because the voices wouldn't stop. So instead of going insane, she wrote.
In 2010, a blue dragon named Deglan interfered in her attempts to finish the final book in the YA series and thus the series starter for DRAGONS FOREVER, BORN TO BE A DRAGON, was hatched and has found a home in the hearts of many children.
Eisley's first YA Sci-Fantasy, PIECES OF ME, is due out early spring 2013. To learn more about Eisley and her novels click here.