How I write

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and is currently traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

Right now, I’m at a coffee shop writing. I’ve replied to some emails, checked Twitter and Facebook (probably a bit too much), worked on an outline for my next book, planned the blog’s editorial calendar for May, and chatted via Skype with my husband at home about dinner tonight.

I’m about to head home to pick up our new kitten, because Tate wants to present Pepper to her class for show and tell. I’ll bring Tate and the cat home (she goes to a half-day kindergarten), the five of us will have lunch together (Kyle, the kids and me), the three younger ones will have their naps or quiet times. and then Kyle and I will meet briefly.

After this, it’s Kyle’s turn to work. He’ll work from the desk with his headphones on while I fold laundry, get dinner started, change diapers, probably break up a few fights, and hopefully read a few stories (Harry Potter; The Polar Express for the millionth time).

This is our life. This is how we both work from home. And in the next few weeks, I’ll be talking about the reality behind it.


Lots of you have been asking me lately how I write and work from home while parenting three little kids and running a home. So for the next few weeks, I’m going to answer some of your questions. I’m not going to pretend that I have the definitive answer for everybody’s situation or business; I don’t. I only know what I do, and I’m happy to share some of it.

We’ve had several Facebook conversations about this, and you’ve asked good stuff. The most common questions seem to be:

• Can you really make decent money blogging?

• How do you juggle parenting with writing, and not feel guilty about being on the computer?

• What does it take to convince your husband you’re not just playing on the computer?

• Do you have outside help?

• How do you get enough sleep?

• What do you do to keep yourself from getting distracted?

• What does my work schedule look like?

• Balance, balance, balance — how do I get it all done?

I can’t promise to tackle all of your questions, but you’ve definitely brought up some great topics. I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll share my thoughts.

I’ll give you a small glimpse into my daily life, what it really means to work from home, to blog as a business, and how I earn money. I don’t set the standard, and there’s definitely more than one way to work from home. But I’ll share what I do. I’ll also share thoughts from others who work similarly from home, including a new ebook written by a good friend that will give you inspiration to do your thing.

There’s probably not enough space to share it all, but I’d love to know your most pressing questions about working from home, developing a writing career, or balancing parenting with pursuing an outside passion.

What other questions do you have?

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Comments

  1. Looking forward to this series!

  2. I would love to know how you pursue your writing. I work two jobs, volunteer, raise kids, take them everywhere, and really, writing is the only life I feel like I have. I would love to write things that help others and manage to make money at it to help my family. But I really don’t even know where to start. I am looking forward to your story.

  3. I’m very much looking forward to reading what you have to say about all this. I think all the questions above are excellent. The only other question I can think of is how do you keep going when you are feeling uninspired? Or perhaps, what do you do to find inspiration and new ideas?

  4. So looking forward to this series. As a full-time mom and part-time writer I am seriously interested in how others do it. I have been enjoying your blog network for almost a year now and credit you with many changes in my household.
    Thanks for all you do!

  5. Can’t wait for this series. My question is at what point did you start to see your blog as having real income potential? How long had you been doing it? And, did you start out with that goal in mind?

    • I agree Erin! I have the same question too. I am spending all this effort on something I love but will it create income? If it never will, then I feel the need to rethink the time that I currently am spending.

  6. Hello Tsh!

    I stumbled upon your site today, and I’m really looking forward to this series! I’m hoping you can answer my questions too about not feeling guilty for being on the computer and trying to convince your husband you’re not just playing! ha ha!

    I remembered talking to you by phone once when we were in Austin last year, and hearing about your site and book from Katie. I look forward to exploring your site a bit more. I’m juggling writing with cp and homeschooling here in Izmir, so your ideas will be great.

  7. Amazing questions all those are that have always crossed my mind when I see your blog or couple of other blogs that are in the same league and managed by work-from-home-moms. Infact, I was talking about this the other day with my friend and cited the example of your blog and you. :)
    I myself own two blogs, almost home school my kid, do photography and DIY crafts, learn music etc etc. All right, I am able to juggle quite a bit, BUT with time constraint always being the overriding factor, haven’t quite figured out how to take it to the next big level.

    Really looking forward to how YOU do it.

  8. Looking forward to the series! Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your work at home life.

  9. this series could not be more perfectly timed. looking forward to it.

  10. Oh I love this! I love your transparency. I would like to know in what areas you “cheat” (Inspired from Andy Stanley’s choosing to cheat). Maybe you don’t have a perfectly clean home or you don’t bake from scratch, or you don’t waste hours on the computer like me LOL

  11. I can’t wait!

  12. Tsh,
    So looking forward to this series. Working from home with children is indeed doable – over the years I’ve developed many strategies. My kids are older now. But they once were young. And I had to squeeze query letters and articles in during naptime and moments of calm. And even now that they are older, I can never get enough good insights on how to do things better and smarter in the context of a whole life.

    The best thing is: If you can learn to strategize and manage this now when your kids are young – everything afterwards becomes so much easier. (Believe me!) One of my first bosses told me when I was pregnant with my first that she always likes to hire moms because she knows the skills it takes to take care of all your jobs properly.

  13. I am looking forward to following this series! I am hoping to glean some knowledge, all I seem to be able to do these days is read library books, sleep and swim, much to the chagrin of my patient husband. I am hoping to shape up in the next five months before our family grows in October!

  14. This series is going to be amazing and it came at the perfect time in my life and business. I was just talking to a Life Coach and she helped me to gain a new perspective on my own perception of how a blogging/mentoring business can be run efficiently and prosperously from home, with two kids, with a full time job, and more. I have spent time looking at how many bloggers are successful in marketing and social media marketing. I have had a tendency to compare myself to others who are most likely not even remotely close to the life I live. This post came at the right time, as I am looking to learn and watch and listen to someone who has a life like mine, a mom, a blogger, and much more.. trying to balance it all while finding joy in what I do.

  15. Can’t wait to read! I’m also working on a post OF you to share w/ my readers. I wanted to start a series of my fave blogs…very little time to read blogs but some (like yours) are just too good to pass up and your book…AMAZING! can’t wait to hear about book #2!

  16. These are all questions that a lot of us moms want to the answers to! I look forward to this series. Very interesting to see how other people get things done!
    Bernice

  17. My question is more philosophical as in, How do you balance profit from sharing?

  18. Oh Tsh! I, too, am looking forward to this one! I seem to be organized in so many similar ways as you suggest…but really feel there’s so much more I can do to streamline the running of a small creative business with retail websites and a blog. Can’t wait to hear what you say on this topic and what others have to share!

  19. Very excited about this!

  20. I am so looking forward to this! But I’m really hoping you don’t say you get up at 3am or something! Lol :)

  21. Tsh,
    I love simplifying and organizing and looking for ways to streamline life. As a designer, the sole webmaster, the bookkeeper, the blogger, the advertising and marketing gal, etc… – it’s a challenge to keep it all moving forward. Looking forward to helpful advice in the small creative blogging business arena!

    Grace & Peace,
    Sharon

  22. ooooohhhh. Can’t wait! I work from home (as a pharmacist) and have just 1 little one (14 months) and would love any hints to “get it all done”! My poor blog has been neglected, despite the best of intentions, and my house–well just don’t look under the couches, ok? But, my little man seems happy, my employer seems happy and somehow, we will figure it all out! :)

  23. I’m looking forward to this series! The thing that I often wonder while reading my favorite blogs is, did you start blogging meaning for it to be profitable? I have a fairly new blog, and while making money is not my primary goal at all, writing has always been a passion of mine, and of course extra money would be very helpful to our family. Just curious about other moms’ journeys in the blogosphere :)

  24. Oh, I’m very excited about this series! Our dream is to both be able to work from home. Right now he’s in school and I’m working full-time to support him. But one day he’ll graduate and I’m eager to have some ideas in mind of how we can do the at-home parenting/working thing, and do it well!

  25. I’m really looking forward to this because I work from home as a writer, blogger, and coach, and my husband works from home, and we’ll soon become parents. Your lived experience will no doubt be helpful as we prepare for life to get crazier.

  26. My writing has looked different over the years as I’ve taught, been home with my boys, and now write with my children in school. When my boys were young, I’d aim for three days of writing a week — some of those sessions lasting ten minutes — anything more was icing on the cake. While teaching, my creative energy was so drained by the end of the day I’d revise during the school year and draft in the summer.

    It took me almost twelve years to sell a book this way — a long time, yes, but I spent that time learning my craft, reading, submitting manuscripts, gathering rejections, while mothering, teaching, growing as a person. I can honestly say the wait has been worth it.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about how you run your days.

  27. Oh yea! I’m so excited you are going to be discussing this. I’ve wondered all those questions you mentioned about and can’t wait to read your view on it all.

  28. I am excited to hear your thoughts on this since my husband and I also work from home! My questions would be- as a Mom, how do you carve out larger chunks of time to work? And how do you stay connected with your husband and not just act like “co-workers?” =)

  29. Two questions:
    1. How do you get yourself fully engaged to get quality work done in short chunks? I find it takes me so long to mentally shift from”mom” to “work mode” that I can’t get anything done unless I’ve dedicated several hours.
    2. How far ahead do you plan & write your posts? I just imagine you HAVE to have a backlog of posts built up for those weeks when inspiration is lacking.

  30. I can only echo what everyone else is saying. lol! I can’t wait to hear about your tips on writing for income and how you find time to write. I am in the middle of deciding exactly where I want to take my life – if I could blog full-time I would, but I am currently making close to nothing with my site. Will try to wait patiently for these posts!

  31. Really looking forward to this series and appreciate any advice. Thanks.

  32. Can’t wait, Tsh, sounds like a great series!

  33. My husband and I are both academics; he’s wrapping up his second year in a tenure-track job, and I’m finishing up the coursework for my PhD. We’re both writing book manuscripts at the moment (my goal is to have one book published before defending my dissertation!) and we work from home whenever possible because the offices at our respective campuses just aren’t the nice.

    The thing is: we have a four month old. Our first. It’s been a bit overwhelming at times, and I’d love any advice for (a) managing two work at home schedules with little ones that don’t just add up to “write when she naps”, and (b) transitioning through life phases as she grows up.

    many thanks!
    Sarah

    • I hope it’s okay to mention other author’s books here. I read your comment Sarah and immediately thought of a book I read a few months back “168 hours: You Have More Time Than You Think” by Laura Vanderkam. I’ve read so many time management books over the years. This one really shifted the way I think about my time. Your situation reminded me of this because Laura was expecting and then beginning to parent her first as she wrote the book.

      I’m looking forward to this series very much. Tsh, do you ever have to just plain fight against inertia and procrastination? I believe that these are my biggest enemies in accomplishing my daily priorities. My goal is to school the children 4 hours a day (one daughter is graduating this year, then I’ll have 5 homeschool students ages 15 down to 2.5) and work on my painting 4 hours a day. On paper, my schedule works beautifully, but in real life NOT. I’m definitely my own worst problem making everything balance.

  34. Hi Tsh! I have been loving your blog since I discovered it a year ago. I am very excited for this series. I am currently going through something that makes me want to follow my dream of writing and am wondering how you got started. You are so talented and helpful, I really enjoy your writing. I write a blog more directed toward memories and my family but I want to entertain and help people as well. How did you begin this journey?

  35. I will be closely reading it all…especially about husbands thinking you’re playing on the computer…and, can you make a living blogging?

    Coffee shop writing…I like that idea!

  36. Awesome! Writing from home is my dream job – I think! ;) I’m looking forward to this series.

  37. Working from home takes time to figure out and you quickly learn that what used to be important (like a perfectly organized home) can easily take a back seat to quality time with the family.

    I’m always looking for new ways to make it all work and excited for this series!

  38. I’m also looking forward to this series! I guess one question I have is, what does it take financially for the two of you to make it work this way? What expenditures remain priorities, which take a back seat, and although this feels like an intrusive question to ask (I’ll totally understand!) I am so curious to know how much money it takes for a family to live well and work independently. I know every family would have a slightly different answer to that question, but I’d love to learn about How Much Is Enough. Thanks, Tsh!

  39. Thank you! I am really anticipating your next Blog series!

  40. Can’t wait to hear more about this. My question would be – when you are starting from scratch with freelance writing, where do you begin? I have been studying writing on and off for a while now and developing my craft, but don’t really know where to begin in terms of bringing some money home!

    Thanks Tsh, this series sounds fab.

  41. Oh, I can’t wait to read about this! I work from home and have two small boys ages 2 and 4. My husband has his own business. He has an office, but often works from home too – so we could use some advice!

    I would love to know more about how you keep your thoughts organized – if you get a writing idea while you are “on” with the kids, do you have a special place to write it down or do you just let it go and think about it later?

  42. I’m on the edge of my seat Tsh. These are all questions I’ve had brewing in my head for you and other “Super Mom Bloggers”. I just got back into blogging a few months ago with a clear mission this time instead of just for family updates and such and have been struggling with a few of these. Really looking forward to it. Thanks for the great job you do!

  43. I am really looking forward to this series! I am trying to balance being wife, mama, homeschool teacher and writer. Not an easy thing.

  44. I am so looking forward to this series!! I used to love to write, still do, actually, but between two part time jobs, a husband and two active boys, I feel like I am so scatterbrained all the time that there is no time to concentrate or focus!!

  45. Looking forward to this. I am pretty new to working and trying to balance it with my family. New ideas always help!

  46. sounds great!
    many thanks for thinking of us and wanting to share!
    xx

  47. I try to incorporate the tips above into my life and have had great success in achieving happiness

  48. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the posts in this series! I’m not sure I’ll ever get to the point of earning money with my writing or blogging but a girl can dream, right? I’m sure it all starts with a dream. And some hope.

  49. Hi Tsh, This series is an answer to my current prayers and questions about being a mom while pursing a writing as a profession! I like to joke that I am an “accidental” SAHM! I didn’t think I would be the stay at home full-time type…my girls are now 4 and 2 and I’m realizing that while I can’t imagine NOT being at home with them, I also become a BEAR when I’m not doing something creative or working on an a piece of writing of some sort…I want to take it all to a more professional level (feel like I’ve been playing for a farm team and ready to enter at least the minor league as far as writing goes!!) and I’m not sure how. What I’ve read so far has been SO helpful! Thank you!

    Not sure what you’re next book is about, but you should pull all of this Work From Home stuff into a book!!!

    By the way, I found your site through Jennifer Ford Barry (author of “Organize This Life”)– she has been helping me get my act together from an organizational standpoint and suggested I check out your blog! She has been so persuasive that I made my husband build me a home office! I guess we’re on the right track!

  50. Your schedule sounds similar to ours! Tim & I “trade” working time…and then also try to leave time for all of us to be together. It can be crazy at times. It’s an imperfect system, for sure. But I wouldn’t trade it for a 9-5 world.

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