The week between Christmas and New Year's Day is a great time to contemplate the goals and dreams for the year ahead. This week I chatted with Tricia Goyer, a very busy mum and prolific writer, who shares her top tips on how to 'get it all done.'
Tricia's written more than forty books, including both novels that delight and entertain readers and non-fiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as Guideposts, Thriving Family, Proverbs 31, and HomeLife Magazine.
Her fiction and non-fiction books have won awards from the American Christian Fiction Writers and Mt. Hermon Writers’ Conference. She is also a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee.
Her contemporary and historical novels feature strong women overcoming great challenges. She recreates historic wartime eras with precise detail through perseverant and comprehensive research. Tricia speaks to groups interested in these eras, with the intention of preserving and honoring the memory of the men and women who served.
She is a beloved author of Amish fiction, as well, writing the Big Sky and Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors Series. Tricia's newest projects include The One Year Book of Amish Peace: Hearing God’s Voice in the Simple Things and Plain Faith: a true Amish story co-written with Ora Jay and Irene Eash.
December 2013 release by Tricia Goyer, Balanced: Working at home while raising kids and juggling a career and family responsibilities is no easy feat. Author and homeschooling mom Tricia Goyer shares her tips for finding balance among all your many hats as a mom.
I know you're a mom of six children of various ages, as well as a grandmother. What inspires a grandmother to adopt 3 young children?
That is a great question! I first became interested in adoption about fourteen years ago, when my youngest was only five-years-old. I knew our home could be a blessing to a child who doesn't have a mom and a dad. I mentioned it to my husband and he wasn't interested. I trusted that if/when the timing was right that God would put us both on the same page. About seven years after I first brought up the conversation, John asked me if I was still interested in adopting. God had been working on his heart! We first attempted to adopt from China, but by the time we had finished all our paperwork they had basically shut their doors. After a year of hoping that the situation would change in China I heard the news that IF an adoption would happen it would be 4-5 years. I was crushed! It seemed as if I'd been praying about it forever. After many tears I finally relinquished my hopes and desires to God. I told Him that I trusted that He would bring the right child at the right time. THAT VERY DAY we got a call from a friend. She knew a birthmom who was looking for a family ... were we interested? Yes!
Alyssa Catherine joined our family March 2010. She is a wonderful gift! John and I didn't talk about adopting more kids for a while, but it was in the back of our minds. January 2012 I went to a MomLifeToday retreat. On the flight there I read Kisses for Katie, and I felt God speaking to my heart. I thought of the kids in the foster care system, and deep down I knew that's what He was calling us to next. But ... I didn't know how to bring it up to John! That first day I asked the other women to pray for me. They did. That night when I called John I was still worried about bringing the conversation up. When he answered the first thing out of John's mouth was, "Have you ever thought about adopting from the foster care system?" That day he'd gone out to lunch with another family and that was their topic of conversation. That day started the path to adopting Bella and Casey. They came to our home January 10, 2013.
So basically our adoptions have happened as we've sought to have the same heart as God ... and in unity as a couple we've trusted in the right time and right reasons to open our home. Wow, what a beautiful story of God moving you both you and your husband toward the same dream.
Tricia, you're a great ambassador for Teen MOPs. How does it work and why are you so passionate about it?
Teen MOPS is a part of MOPS Internationals (www.mops.org). It's a weekly support group for teen moms. We host a weekly meeting here in Little Rock. We provide hope, encouragement, education, diapers, baby clothes, friendship, and the good news of Jesus!
I'm passionate about it because I was once a teen mom. A group of women reached out to me and it made all the difference!!
As a fiction AND non-fiction writer, I imagine you've got several projects on your mind at the one time. Do you have any tips on balancing writing deadlines and family and other commitments?
Currently I'm under two VERY TIGHT deadlines. One is fiction. One in non-fiction. Thankfully, I'm able to jump between the two fairly easy.
I have a new self-published book out:
Balanced: Finding Center As a Work At Home Mom
This book gives a lot of tips on finding balance, but here are a few:
1. Give yourself time slots for certain projects. For example, I'll give myself 1 hour for emails. 2 hours for my non-fiction project, and then 2 hours for my fiction project in one day. I'll actually set a timer on my phone and I'll ONLY work on one thing at a time. I'll do my best to ignore everything else.
2. When I'm with my family I'm 100% with them. We have family dinner almost every night. Phones are not allowed at the table--it's a time to focus on each other. We also have a bedtime/storytime routine with our kids too.
3. I hire a babysitter/nanny a few times a week. She plays with the little kids and I work like crazy! I don't want to spend all day telling my kids, "Not now, I'm working." The kids love playing with Holly, and I love having dedicated time to concentrate.
4.I rarely sign up for other commitments. I write, take care of my family, and lead the Teen MOPS support group ... that's enough! I do attend church and a weekly Bible Study, but that's the only "outside" commitments I have. A person can only do so much.
5. I have a great team at home. My husband takes the kids on an "adventure" most Saturday mornings so I can work. He does most of the grocery shopping, too. I have a housecleaner who comes once a week, and I already mentioned my nanny. "Many hands make light work!"
Do you follow any particular writing process for your fiction and is the process the same for non-fiction?
For fiction I write a long summary of what's going to happen in the book. I start with Chapter One, and then I jump around. I write whatever scene is most prevalent in my mind. After I have big chunks done I go back and weave everything together. I do the same with non-fiction. I don't write in a straight path ... but I make sure the most important scenes/messages get the most attention.
I imagine you're a ball of energy. What's the secret to all that energy?
LOL. I seem like a ball of energy, but I'm more like the Little Engine That Could. I focus on God and my family. I focus on caring for others in life and in writing and God gives me strength. Most days I take a nap, even for 20 minutes, because I need the rest. But the main key is depending on God for my strength. I think you've nailed it. Focusing on God and family is the springboard for everything else we do in His name. Thanks so much for sharing your heart and writer's routine with us, Tricia. I appreciate you taking the time to visit with us during such a busy week, and look forward to reading Balanced.
I hope all in our ACW friends are enjoying the slower pace this last Friday for 2013.
Have you been inspired by Tricia's balanced approach to the writing life? What are you hoping to tweak in your routine for 2014?
Many blessings as you prayerfully approach the new year,
She's the winner of the 2013 FHL ~ Touched By Love Competition. Enamoured by all things 19th century, she writes The Heartbeat of Yesteryear, Historical Romance - Aussie style. Come say G'day at her blog, Ink Dots.