When I started writing and publishing I only had one child. She was already school-aged and that gave me a blissful 6 hours of silent time in the house where I could write with no distractions. Writing, while challenging, was a whole lot easier back in those days.
Today, I have three children: A 10year old, a 2 year old, and a 6 month old. Suffice to say, writing is a lot harder now than it used to be. My time is very limited and stretched between my little ones and the imaginary people I create for stories.
Though I love writing, my family comes first. Only after they are taken care of, do I even think of working on writing.
So, how do I do it all? My day starts early… way earlier than I would ever like to be awake. 6am most mornings. When you’re up before the sun, it’s too early. Feeding, clothing, and prepping the oldest for school takes at least an hour in the morning. By the time she’s off to school (at 7:30am) and I can get the younger two to give me a moment to check my email messages it’s probably already ten am. Actually, scratch that. I don’t even get to my computer until both the younger ones are sleeping. Forget joint naptimes, that would be too easy. When one is asleep the other feels the need to up the volume and make as much noise as possible. Which means my “day” is spent playing a game of “don’t cry” ping pong.
See, I have a toddler, and for anyone who has a toddler, you know they love to cry about everything. They have such powerful emotions and don’t know how to use them. And, I have an infant, crying is her only form of communication. Between one or the other crying, shouting, laughing, screeching, etc… and the TV or radio on, and random noisy toys blaring the ABC song, my house is just too loud to let anyone think straight.
So work time can only be when the littles are sleeping. On a good day… naptime is not until the pickup school run in the afternoon about 2pm. It’s then that you can find me, parked outside of my eldest daughter's school, quickly answering emails and jotting down story notes while I wait for her to get out of classes. I look forward to that time of day… when it works out. The peace and quiet in my van is bliss!
Once I have all three kids again, there is no computer time. So, any new writing must be done after bed time. About 9pm if I am lucky. From then, until I pass out at my computer is when I scrape together ideas and try to put them into words.
Sounds rough, right? Why bother, right?
If I didn’t love doing it, I wouldn’t. But, I love writing. I love creating stories and characters and new worlds. It’s in my blood. And, if that means I spend my few kid-free moments bleary-eyed at my computer desk, so be it! My kids need me during the day and my characters need me at night. It’s nice to be needed.
And just like when my kids hug me and tell me they love me and I’m the best mommy, I get the same warm and fuzzy feeling when a reader comes back and says “that story was awesome!”