I think the greatest challenge for me as a writer is making time to write. Because there is no such thing as finding time, especially when you are a mom. There are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I need to or want to or should, and there never will be again. Writing is a matter of prioritizing and time management.
For the first time in my adult life, I've found my "golden" hour in which I can get some writing done. That time is somewhere between 8-11 at night.
I am a very type-A personality. I cannot relax for the evening until my house is straightened up and put back together from the hectic day, so to speak. After dinner I put away the twins' toys, tidy up the kitchen, start the dishwasher full of bottles, and the start the boys' bedtime routine. Once they're down I fold the unending piles of laundry, get ready for bed (if I haven't already...don't stop by my house after about 7 pm unless you want to see me without makeup and in my jammies) and then reveal in the peace and quiet that is my home. With my husband doing homework in the other room, I finally have thirty minutes to an hour in which I can sit down and write.
It hasn't been too long that I've been trying out this new writing time, but so far it's working great and I am loving it. My WIP is coming along nicely. After working on an outline for almost a year and still feeling like something fundamental was missing, I decided to just start the darn book and see what happens. I had contemplated working on another WIP while trying to get the outline on The Hostage Heart more concrete, but no other story calls my name as strongly at the moment as this one. So I just started writing. Surprisingly things are going well, and just a few chapters into it the story is already taking me somewhere the outline never did. I love that feeling of sitting down to write and discovering things about the story you didn't know at the beginning of your writing session. I love it when characters appear out of thin air and demand a place in the novel. I love it when scenes materialize, situations make themselves apparent, and road blocks to the story goal unexpectedly appear. I had largely forgotten the way it feels to be a writer, to just reveal in the craft, and I am loving rediscovering that joy.
The Storymakers conference is in a few short weeks, and for the first time since 2007 I will actually be in the trenches of a novel. It's embarrassing to admit, but it has been almost five years since I've really written. I've done a lot in those five years--graduated high school, got married, graduated college, moved three times, struggled with infertility, had three jobs, created two human beings. But writing isn't on the list. For the first time in 5 years, at this conference I will be moving towards my publishing goals instead of standing still. Maybe this year, I'll feel like I belong at the conference.