When do you find time to write? This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions I get. It’s a fair enough question. I have two small kids that are with me pretty much full time, and who wake up at the crack of dawn to carry on with Very Important Small People Things. [Said important things typically involve: scooters, hot wheels, and fighting over the red lego because it is everything that anyone could ever want on this earth. Ever][Seriously, though- how do they go from sleeping deeply oblivious to the world in one instant and then ready to party like it’s 1999?]
It’s kind of funny because since having children I actually write more than I used to. Maybe it’s because I know my time is precious and so I conserve the extra minutes I find and utilize them better than I once did. But in any case, for those of you who asked in the hopes of finding such time yourself in between chasing little ones, cooking, and cleaning, here are the top five ways I find time:
The cleaning is done. Sort of. I mean mostly. Okay. Enough to pass. But not enough to wow anyone who values a spiffy and shiny home. The truth is, if I truly mopped, vacuumed, scrubbed and made this house sparkly clean, all while two little
tornados children run through turning everything upside down, I would have time for little else. I know there are many who can maintain a shiny sparkly home while picking strawberries with babes and baking homemade keylime pies all while dressed quite smartly but that just isn’t me. I know with limited time, I have to choose how to spend the evening hours and it’s not going to be spent polishing my garbage can though it might be spent polishing my sentences for a book. Plus, I read this article that the most creative people flourish in clutter- so I’m not messy! I’m just creative! It’s part of my method. [That’s my story and I’m sticking to it]
|more or less the perfect metaphor for trying to clean with two kids.|
Naps are a godsend. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know I’m a nap-writing preacher! Don’t squander that nap folding laundry! Write Write Write. And when only one of the brood naps, Sesame Street [or Super Why or Curious George] is manna from heaven. I use that time with the four year old curled up to me watching Super Grover 2.0 unleash the power of technology, while I get some writing in. And I don’t feel guilty about it one iota. [though why is Grover now Super Grover 2.0? I loved him just as he was. I know he’s just a puppet, but you can see the hurt in his eyes. Cute as he is, Elmo just came along and ruined everything for him].
|Do you see the pain in Grover’s eyes? because I do.|
I have a moleskine and I write the heck out of it. Because my baby enjoys seeing if my laptop could double as a good football, I tend to keep it out of sight when he’s awake. So if a story idea is rumbling around I write it down the good old fashioned way. My moleskine writings probably resemble petroglyphs to an outsider but the notes, sketches, and venn diagrams work for me to sort through ideas, angles and possibilities while also modeling literacy and a love for writing and creativity for my children. Sooner or later if I’m sketching while they play, we wind up, all three of us, sitting at the kitchen table with pens, crayons, and markers, writing.
Evenings and weekends are precious. After washing up, kids in bed, a cuppa tea and conversation with the spouse, I’m on my laptop working. I know I have a handful of hours. I do not squander them when a story is calling my name. And all hail the dreaded football season that is almost before us and the silver lining of increased writing time it will produce for me. Weekends too are used to write. I’m picky with what we choose to do as a family and we take care to make sure I get large blocks of time to write when a spouse is around to push swings, make breakfast, etc.
Truly, we have ten million things pulling us in fifteen million directions. But life isn’t a dress rehearsal while we wait for the real thing. The realness is right now. And it’s limited. And even if it doesn’t feel like it, we ware making choices with our time. What matters, we must make room for in our lives. And for me, writing is as necessary as food. I have to do it. And so, I find the time. Look at your day. See where you can squeeze it in. And then- grab those Spanx and squeeze it in.
I’m using Wednesdays, as ‘writerly’ Wednesdays to answer questions that pop up on the writing process and journey to publication, if you have any questions do share! It’s just one person’s journey and perspective but I’d love to share what worked for me with writing my novel as you work on your own creative journey.