How many times do you think I’ve asked myself, “Why didn’t I start writing full-time before I had children?”
Many. Many times.
As it stands, if I try to get any writing done when my little ones are up and about, I’m interrupted several hundred times. An hour. Snacks are the number one request from my tiny army but yesterday, I turned and came face to face with my youngest who was extremely discouraged that a Tide Pod did not taste like it should.
He’s a little bit behind the trend of other fellow Tide Pod eaters but I digress.
I want to use this post to encourage other fledgling authors (with children in tow or not) that you can find the time to write even when you’re being bombarded from all angles.
Let’s take a look back at yesterday, a Saturday, and see how I did.
5:45am CST – Baby Boy (Age 3) stands next to my bed until I lift an eyelid and jump. He requests that we get him ready for school.
5:48am CST – Baby Girl (Age 5) trudges down the stairs after the cries emanating from her brother wake her out of a sound sleep. He is displeased by the fact that school is closed on Saturdays. I close my bedroom door in hopes that allowing the husband to sleep will guarantee me as a shoe-in for Best Wife Ever once he awakes refreshed and baby-free. Then, I can coerce him into some writing time, ALONE.
6:01am CST – Babies demand a Minecraft show. Age 3 hates Minecraft shows but demands it just the same.
6:02am CST – Age 3 demands anything but a Minecraft show. And a snack. Age 5 jumps on the bandwagon and explains how she will JUST DIE if she doesn’t get a granola bar.
6:05am CST – Granola bars distributed and coffee pot switched to the on position. Booming noises radiate from upstairs. I book it up the steps only to find Age 3 putting on every pair of socks his sister owns. He is also doing this completely naked.
6:06am CST – Explain to Age 3 that he is not a part of the Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band and relinquish one pair of socks to him to wear on his FEET. Stuff him into a fresh pair of drawers, much to his dismay, and march down the stairs again. I march, he jumps. He then slips on the rug at the end of the stairs and finds himself sprawled, spread-eagled on the foyer. Cries ensue. Reminding him that he has a granola bar to eat stops the cries mid-bawl.
6:13am CST – Sit on the couch and review my life choices. At least I have coffee.
7:12am CST – Enjoy the sunrise from my kitchen window and explain to Age 3 that we aren’t supposed to get out of bed until the sun comes up. He takes that as a directive that it is NOW time to go to school and puts his backpack on. More cries ensue after I remind him, once again, it is a weekend.
7:45am CST – Age 5 grabs a drum and wooden spoon and sits outside the master bedroom before deciding that playing a Neil Peart solo is in her best interest. When Dad opens the door, he is in a grumpy mood at her interpretation of an alarm clock. So much for my Best Wife Ever nomination.
7:48am CST – Ply the husband with coffee. He is appeased.
8:01am CST – Sit down at my computer with headphones in place to try and get some writing done. Get distracted by Facebook videos. Spend thirty minutes perusing a murder that occurred in Iowa over 50 years prior. Chalk this up to cozy mystery novel research so I won’t feel guilty.
8:40am CST – Frown into the refrigerator and remind myself to put a grocery list together. Feed kids a mixture of oatmeal, leftover chicken, and goldfish. Their palates are not refined. The meal goes over well.
9:14am CST – Sit back down to write. As soon as my tail hits chair, Age 3 requests a shower in the master bedroom so he can write on the glass walls. Cries when his request is denied. I distract him with a remote-controlled car. Problem solved.
9:15am CST – Realize the noise from said car distracts me as well and any hopes of writing are dashed for the time being. The pile of laundry on my dining room table screams out to be sorted (and its voice is almost hoarse because it’s been screaming for three days). Hang up laundry.
10:31am CST – Determine that my author website needs a new page for my nom de plume, Charlee Chance. Spend time crafting a half-assed page just so SEO will start logging on Google. Envision what I would do if someone snatched up the website for her name and gasp. Purchase website to ensure that doesn’t happen.
12:05pm CST – Lunch. Or breakfast, really. Leftover chicken, avocado, and cheese bites. Keto is easy as pie. Mmmm… pie. Shut up, brain.
1:00pm CST (on the dot) – Kids down for naps. Promise Age 3 he can take a shower tonight instead of the normal bath. He is adamant in his demands.
1:12pm CST – Explain to husband that I am entering my writing space (four feet away from him) and I’m not to be disturbed. Headphones go on.
1:19pm CST – Husband waves for my attention to look at a weird looking bug from a gardening Facebook page he belongs to. I frown. He apologizes. (It was a weird looking bug, I admit.)
2:49pm CST – Age 5 comes down the stairs with brush in hand. Finish my session with over 2k words written. Feel accomplished and excited to write more but those sleep tangles won’t brush themselves out.
3:15pm CST – Age 3 races down the stairs, ready now — more than ever — to head to school. Cries once again when reminded about the school district’s schedule. Distract him with an invitation to play Barnyard Bingo.
3:29pm CST – Battle Royale final standings for Bingo: Mom – 4 / Age 3 – 1. We don’t hand out participation trophies in this house.
4:15pm CST – Frown into refrigerator once more to plan dinner. Chastise myself for not getting a grocery list together. Bust out frozen deer sausage (Thanks Mom & Dad!) and clean my kitchen because it looks like a bomb went off.
5:03pm CST – Begin cooking, start a new pot of coffee. Luckily, my pantry is never, ever low on coffee grounds.
5:45pm CST – Dinner is eaten, Cinderella is on the TV, and I figure I can get in another 30 minutes of writing.
5:51pm CST – Tide Pod incident
6:01pm CST – Age 3 gets his shower an hour early to wash off all the laundry detergent. Swears he didn’t eat any, but bubbles pop out of his mouth as he makes those promises. Teach Age 3 how to properly gargle water and spit.
6:41pm CST – Age 3 uses his new-found knowledge of gargling and spitting. With his milk. In the living room.
6:43pm CST – Clean up milk-splattered floor and rug. Reiterate that we only expectorate into the sink, shower, or outside. Age 3 is discouraged.
7:14pm CST – Age 5 gets into her bath upstairs. Age 3 strips down and climbs in, unwilling to believe that he is clean enough from his earlier shower.
7:45pm CST – Age 3 and Age 5 lay together for our nightly ritual of story, song, then off to bed. They can’t come to a consensus of what to read so Dad picks out book. Crying ensues.
8:02pm CST – Kids in bed, back downstairs to write. Get distracted by the worn copy of Stephen King’s On Writing next to my keyboard.
8:49pm CST – Write 200 more words before realizing my brain is too tired to string cohesive phrases together. Take my dog-eared soft-cover of On Writing to bed and finish a few chapters.
10:15pm CST – Have an epiphany about my main character and jot it down in my phone’s notes. Drift off, knowing I’ll repeat another day just like this one tomorrow.
I want to encourage each and every one of my fellow writers out there that, if you love the craft, the process, and the results of your creativity, you will find time to write.
If, for some reason, I was unable to write while my kids were down for naps yesterday, I would have stayed up as late as I needed in order to get the job done. It would have been crap, worthy of the bonfire set up in my backyard, but it would have been progress.
That’s what rewrites are for anyway, am I right?