Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Writing with Children

By Kathy Lipscomb

Writing is hard. Getting that first (or second, or third, or whatever one you’re on) book written takes time and effort. And then come all the edits, which if you’re anything like me, take a lot longer than the original draft. There are the critiques, the rewrites, the beta reads and revisions, the query and synopsis, and the dreaded agent submissions, which isn’t even the end of the writing process. You could say we’re a little masochistic with all we’re willing to go through.

Now let’s add being a mom into the mix.

Insert sad laugh here.

I’m a mom of a three-year-old son and a one-ear-old-daughter. I have yet to experience any sort of school, and I’m losing nap time with the older one. My kids are full of energy, and I definitely spend my days chasing them, making sure they don’t get into trouble (no matter how much I baby-proof or even kid-proof my house, they still find ways to be mischievous).

I know many, many writers who have little kids and who tell me they’ll write when their kids are older. And that’s totally okay! Sometimes we need to take breaks from writing to take care of our families, friends, or hey, even ourselves.

I’m a little stubborn on this area though. I love to write (in general, not necessarily ever time I force myself to write) and when I try to take a week or two break, I always jump back in way sooner than planned. My stupid brain won’t shut up about my characters or worlds or new ideas, and I just don’t have enough time to get it all down. I’ve been to a lot of conferences this year, and once people find out I have two tiny ones at home (and want another one eventually), they all ask me the same question: When do you have the time to write?

You find the time. You make the time. I know some authors who wake up a couple hours before their kids do (no, thank you). Others stay up really late (yeah, I’m not a night person either). You have to find what works for you. Neither of these options are true options for me. I used to write during nap time, but my oldest hasn’t really been napping much. He’s getting older. So now I make time. I get my kids ready for the day, give them breakfast, get them all happy and playing, and then write in the mid-morning. It’s the time my brain is most awake. I’ll admit that I’m interrupted often, many times it happens several times in the same sentence. While writing this blog, I’ve been interrupted at least ten times.

The response I get to this is: Oh, I can’t switch my brain like that.

I get it. I truly do. It takes me a lot longer to write something when interrupted by my kids then when I have peace and quiet for a full hour. But I kept trying, kept training my brain to do the quick switches from Mama Mode to Writer Mode and back (over and over again), and I write 1000 words in an hour easy. Then I give myself permission to be done and do my other Mama Mode things for the day.

If you want to wait until your kids are older to write, do that. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want to write right now, while your kids are young, it’s possible. Because when you get older, your kids go to school, but then other things get in the way. Some writers never stop letting their lives get in the way of writing. Now, don’t let writing rule your lives (that topic needs its own blog post), but you can write. You can make the time. Sometimes it means something else becomes less important. In my case, my husband helps more with keeping the house clean, but that’s something we discussed beforehand. That is something he said is okay by him because he believes this is important to me. And honestly it’s mostly the social media that falls for me. Wow. Facebook and Twitter are so addicting.

What is okay to let go a little? Or to get help with? What can you cut back on to get in writing time?

Because you can write even if your life is busy. You really can. 

1 comment:

  1. Yes! I use the time before my kids get up to excercise and nights are my time with my husband. I still an hour in ghe afternoon...and i refuse to feel guilty about it, most days. I feel so much more like myself, when i can pull this off. Although getting anything actually done takes forever, its worth it. Glad to know someone else is in the same boat.



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