About Dr Rosina McAlpine & her Blog
Dr Rosina is a winner of Top 25 Book Author Moms - 2012
What tips would you give a mom who wants to write a book?
Make sure you have a book that is ‘bursting’ to get out!
Writing a book is hard work and takes sustained effort and commitment. So before you embark on this exciting journey, take some time out to reflect on whether this is something you really want. Look into your heart and see if there is a story inside you ‘bursting’ to come out – you will absolutely know if you have one – there’ll be no doubt. You need to feel like you absolutely have to write it because life is filled with busyness and challenges, and if your story isn't important enough to you – it will never get written. If your book is literally bursting out of you and you simply have to write it then you will make it a priority!
Your unique story
Discover your unique style, voice and message – then share it with the world. Stay true to ‘you’ and ‘your story’ rather than emulating someone else’s style or ideas. Even if you think it has been said before, trust that your story is unique and special, and has never been shared before in your particular way. You can liken this idea to the many different cars we have on the road today. In 1888 the first motor car was built. Imagine if after this date everyone said ‘oh well cars have been done now so we’ll have to think of something else to invent’; we wouldn't have all of the wonderful variety of cars we have today. It’s the same with your story! Write your story and you will appeal to people who resonate with your unique brilliance.
Write every day
Write, write, write … even if it is only 15 minutes a day. Don’t let a day go by without writing something. If you write a little each day you will eventually finish the book. Procrastinators and excuse-makers don’t get books written but writers do! When I started my first book, I began every weekday (Monday–Friday) with 15 minutes of writing time. Little by little the 15 minutes turned into 20 minutes and in the end I was writing at least an hour every weekday and the book was finished in no time.
To help the flow between each day’s work, at the end of each writing session I would type a few sentences about what had in mind for the next day’s writing session. This made it easy to pick up where I left off. Research shows that people who work incrementally on projects get more done and are more likely to complete their project than those who wait to make a large block of time available – generally this large block of time can never be found!
Write freely. Let the thoughts, ideas and words flow. Don’t stifle the creative process by trying to edit every sentence while you’re writing. Editing can come later. Just let the inspiration come and get it down.
How do you balance writing and motherhood?
The importance of familyhood
Rather than just talking about motherhood, I’d like to share how I balance writing and familyhood as my close friends and my family, especially my husband and son, are very important to me. I get up really early every weekday morning so I can be home with my family for dinner every night. Well, almost every night! This way we get to talk about the highlights of our day, anything that’s bothering us that we might need some support with and generally just be together. In summer we go for a walk before or after dinner and I get to either have bath-time or story-time with our five-year-old son. After our son is asleep, my husband and I always make time to be together.
Don’t give up your writing time no matter what!
Family, work and just life in general means mothers like me are really busy. I knew it would be so easy to put off projects like my book which are important but not urgent. So to avoid this I had to find ways to be uncompromising about my writing time because I knew if I didn't, little by little I’d find that everything else could become priority and my book would have remained an unwritten story that lived only in my heart and mind. Imagine it’s early days in your writing process – you have a story that’s bursting out of you, and you’re writing at least 15 minutes every day so it’s all going well. BUT how are you going to ensure that nothing stands in your way so that you don’t give up your writing time no matter what? Here are some ways I found that helped me to ensure I kept writing no matter what life’s demands threw my way:
• I made a real promise to myself to finish my book and I kept it.
• I had some writing buddies to keep me on track and we talked regularly.
• I had a wall chart I crossed off every time I spent 15 minutes writing.
• I had the love and support of my amazing friends and family. They were on board to help out at home, inspire and support me all the way.
• Finally, I was fortunate to have a fabulous editor (and friend) to take the book to publication.
I hope it helps you! Please add any other things you can think of that will ensure you never give up until your gift to the world – your book – is written and available for all to enjoy!
I know I couldn't have written my books without my wonderful friends and family – especially my husband, mother and sister as well as our beautiful son – the inspiration for my Inspired Children series of books!
The greatest inspiration – see the end product
Writing is a process that takes time and effort so to stay motivated it helps to ‘see’ the end product! Regularly take some time to imagine what it feels like to have a published book. Really revel in and enjoy those beautiful feelings and let them inspire you to completion.
I prepared a ‘mock’ book cover with my name and the book title and hung it on my study wall – this made me smile and spurred me on every day. Now I have real book covers – eight of them!
Prepare your book cover to inspire you!
Where do you find writing inspiration?
The initial inspiration
The initial inspiration for the Inspired Children books came from my wish to be a good mother. When we brought our son home from the hospital the enormity of the responsibility of raising another human being hit me like a tonne of bricks. What did I know about raising a child? As a researcher and educator I decided to get all of the books and courses I could find to help me. Unfortunately, I found many of the books had conflicting advice and were not research-based – they were just people’s opinions and ideas! In the end, I was none the wiser. Instead I was confused on so many key topics like:
• SLEEPING: Some books said ‘co-sleeping is best’, others said ‘no it’s dangerous’. Some books said controlled crying ‘is effective sleep training’, others said ‘it has long-term damaging effects’.
• BREASTFEEDING: Some books recommended breastfeeding for ‘4–6 months until solids introduced’ others said ‘two years is ideal’!
• LIFE SKILLS: I wanted to help my son learn all of the key life skills so he could lead a happy, healthy and successful life. I wanted to help him learn how to regulate his emotions and behaviours, to support his brain development, communication skills, self-esteem and resilience. While I found lots of amazing resources, there was not one resource or course that could help me to develop our son’s skills across all of the important areas of life.
Like all parents, we wanted the best we could provide for our son. I’ve spent years now finding, interviewing and talking to experts who know the latest scientific research into child development and have successfully raised their own kids using this knowledge. I accessed the best materials and resources for skill development across all areas of life. Then all I could think of was sharing it with EVERYONE so all parents could have access to practical and easy to follow information, advice and activities that are suitable for today’s crazy- busy lifestyle. That was and still is my inspiration today for writing the Inspired Children books, I want to make a positive difference in the world – parents need help and supporting the kids of today makes for a better tomorrow.
The inspiration for my writing also comes from the wonderful testimonials I get from people who have read the books or are on the programs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried from happiness that I have made a positive difference in the lives of parents and children – and this is what you can do too by writing your story!
Apart from my own drive and motivation, I also have so many other sources of inspiration including:
• Our son – provides a wealth of inspiration everyday!
• Latest research
• My life experiences
• Books I read
• News and current affairs
• Parenting and child development experts I interview and the list goes on …
I hope my story inspires you and helps you feel confident enough to believe that if I can do it then so can you!
What are your favorite Blog Posts?
Dr Rosina's Answers
How can I prepare my daughter for kindergarten next year?
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I gave a talk at a pre school on school readiness. Here is the link
Ideas on the video include:
visit the school and familiarise them with where class will be, play time, bags, toilets etc...
talk about what will happen at school based on what they already know at preschool
practice the kinds of activities they will be doing at school - practice arriving, putting the bag away, have morning tea, have lunch and put lunch box away, sit at a desk and do work - just like a practice run
Role play the difficulties they may come up against - help them develop social skills eg like making friends, needing to go to the toilet during class etc...
I hope that is helpful
Dr Rosina McAlpine