Thursday, April 8, 2010
Being a mother means we must assume nearly 32 other professions all rolled into one…..For free.
We all know the stories about how JK Rowling wrote most of Harry Potter while her baby napped in an out of the way café. Or about how Stephanie Meyer spent one summer writing every spare minute while trying to balance her children and family time. The point is, it CAN be done.
But being a mother and ANYTHING else is always difficult to manage, never mind trying to write entire books and get them out there. Yet here I am, along with thousands of other aspiring writers who are also full time moms. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way that have helped me find the time to devote to writing.
Learn to type fast. I’m not kidding. It’s gotten to the point where I type almost as fast as I speak and my fingers continue to finish phrases long after my mind has taken a break to mentally calculate how many seconds I have before my daughter pushes that milk cup off the table.
Write While the Children Sleep. I love how everyone assumes that just because my children are asleep, it’s free time for mommy. Sure, I’ll write when they’re asleep. I’m on an idiot. But free time doesn’t come until AFTER I’ve finished cleaning up dinner, dishes, and laundry. Which brings me to my next tip-
Brainstorm During Mundane Chores I hate doing dishes. Hate it hate it hate it. But the one thing that I did look forward to was those fifteen minutes where I’ve got nothing to do but think. Some of my best plot turns and character traits came to me while I was folding clothes or scrubbing pots and pans.
Invest in a Laptop This has been a lifesaver for me. I can bring it out in the garden while the kids play, type away on the couch during their morning cartoons. Wherever they are, I am, only one problem-
Don’t Forget to Play with Your Kids- Sure, you’ve fed and clothed them and they’re moderately clean. But how much time have you spent interacting or playing with them? I find that when I’m really deep into the story line, my mind is constantly wondering back to it and I forget that my kids don’t just need me to be there, they need me to BE THERE. And so I try and strip my mind and spirit back out of the computer screen and focus on my kids until they get bored with me. (They always do)
If I find that I haven’t done this enough some days, I ask the girls to help me with supper, or help me clean their room or fold laundry. They love spending time doing it with me, feel ‘grown up’, and probably won’t realize we’re doing chores until they’ve reached early teens. Who knows how long I’ll be able to keep this tactic up but for now, it works.