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Alison Lee

The Productive Writer: an Interview with Alison Lee

Alison Lee‘s days combine work as a freelance writer and consultant with sippy cups, diapers and breastfeeding her newborn twins. She shares stories of motherhood on her blog, Writing, Wishing, blogs weekly at Everyday Family, and her writing has been featured on Mamalode and Huffington Post among others. She’s founder of a social media consultancy, Little Love Media that serves clients like Buzzoid.

Forged in the fires of combining career and motherhood, Lee shared great insights on productivity that can help anyone needing to juggle ever-changing priorities.

What’s your own daily routine like? What habits do you cultivate and what benefits do you find in them?

With four children under the age of 5, a routine is absolutely necessary, and almost impossible to follow through to the tee! I do try to instil some sense of regularity for my older children by making sure we have breakfast together every morning. They are early risers, so they have 2 hours before school. They are allowed some screen time, while I drink my coffee and check emails. The morning is spent with my twin babies—nursing, rocking, diaper changing. In between that, with what little time I have, I do some work (I work as a blog book tour coordinator and freelance writer). I then sit down with my boys for lunch when they’re home from school, and when the two year old naps, my oldest has ‘quiet time’—it’s usually a book, or Play Dough, which he loves. I take the opportunity to do more work, usually that means replying emails. Evenings are pretty much family time—free play for the boys, tending to the twins, dinner, and bedtime for the children. I write at night, and that is a habit I’m trying to cultivate—to write daily. I find that it relaxes me, writing, and not just for pay, but for leisure. It frees up all the thoughts in my head, and allows me to focus on my children in the day time.

The most common advice we hear about writing habits is simply to write every day. But what’s your best advice for overcoming procrastination and getting quality work out of your time spent writing?

It’s simply to sit down and write SOMETHING. Then set a timer—15 minutes is ideal. It could be just one liners, notes, expressions, a quote, an idea, or an outline. I find that doing that usually pulls something out of me. It’s freeing to know that although I don’t have to write something brilliant each time, having only 15 minutes to do so does make me try just a little harder to get as many words and ideas out.

Are there any habits you’re trying to develop now? What motivated you to work on them?

I am working on self-editing–making time to do that, and learning to do it properly. I free write a lot, which means I end up with a lot of lame things. I need to develop a habit of going back, and edit my pieces. “Kill the darlings“. I believe that by doing that and polishing up the many rough pieces I have, I could very well end up with some gems.

Who or what inspires you? Whose habits would you like to know more about and why?

I am inspired by great writing. When I’m stuck, I find myself drawn to my favorite authors – Cheryl Strayed, Stephen King, Anne Lamott. There is a piece in Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, called ‘The Obliterated Place‘, which I read over and over. There is no complexity in her language, it’s written as a list and in the form of a letter. It’s by far the most powerful piece of writing I’ve ever read. I draw inspiration from that. To tell the truth, to open up life’s mysteries and make some sense of it, to draw beauty from something as dark as grief—what a gift. I would of course, love to know more about Cheryl Strayed’s writing habits! provides everything you need to improve performance in diet, fitness, productivity, and life. Join others who are improving their writings skills by adding these habits to your dashboard: