I was given a gift in 2014.

Due to a number of circumstances too complicated to go into here, but also in part due to the fact that I had returned to school in January of 2014 to achieve my Master’s Degree in Business Administration, in April 2014 my family made the decision that I would work from home. Not only would I work from home, but I would work for myself, using my freelance work in editing, writing, and voice acting to supplement our income. It was an adjustment to be sure, but I felt like this was my chance to really kick my secondary career as a writer-slash-media-mogul into overdrive. So from April of 2015 to January of 2016, I worked from home, for myself.

And I completely wasted almost every minute of it.

Now, to be fair, I managed to make enough money for our family to subside; it wasn’t like I just laid around in my pajamas every day watching cat videos on YouTube. But what I didn’t do was write. Sure, sometime in there I managed to churn out a first draft of my upcoming book, The Many Deaths of Amanda Wallace: Book 1 of the EarthJumper series. But that wasn’t nearly enough.

See, I’m a pretty fast writer. If I’m being honest, I probably wrote Many Deaths in about two months. Two months of the 20 months that I was home were used for hardcore writing. The rest of the time? Not so much.

Now I’m back in the working world. Like so many other independent authors, I now write around my 9-5 schedule. And I realize how much time I wasted when I could have been writing every single day.

But you know what? I’ve turned it into a good thing. Sure, I still kick myself when I think of how much I could have accomplished and how much I didn’t. But with that infamous 20/20 hindsight at play, I’ve decided not to waste any more time. So now, I’ve instituted a regimen. Every day, Monday through Friday, I get up at 6 AM and write for half an hour before my kids get up for school.

What I’ve found by doing this is that – not only am I incredibly prolific in terms of sheer output – the daily regimen is a terrific thing for developing my writing. Each day I sit down and dive right into what I’m writing (currently I’m finishing up Bloodsucker Blues 2: Blood Brothers – A Vamps in Vegas Story), and each day I find that the story comes a little bit easier and a little bit faster. I’ve also rediscovered how much I love writing; when my little reminder alarm goes off at 6:30 every morning, I’m always disappointed that I don’t have more time to write.

Would this have been a great regimen to institute when I was working from home? Absolutely? Did I do that? Nope. Did I learn a valuable lesson from that? 1000% yes. Now I’m writing at a pace that I never have before.

And I love every minute of it.