Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Writing with Children

Hear that sound? Ahhhhhhhhhh. It's the sound of my daughter at school. I love that kid, don't get me wrong. But the summers are...challenging. I'm generally a nice person with a bubbly disposition, but I am gruuuumpy writer. I'm like Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets. "If the door is closed, it means I'm working. Don't EVER disturb me when I'm working." So if I try to sneak in a chapter, say, when she's watching My Little Pony, and then she comes in to say she wants Mac & Cheese -- a perfectly innocent request -- my focus is gone in a flash and oftentimes cannot be retrieved. Write after bedtime, you say? That's hard for me too -- she loves to be cuddled until she falls asleep, and then guess what happens most of the time. Yeah, I've been going to bed at 8:30 lately.

But at least I only have one, and she's in school. I know some of you writers out there have more than one, and ones that are too young to be in school yet. So I ask you: when the bleep do you have time to write? I just took on a new part-time job too, typing at home. Now I barely have time or energy to work on a novel. So you ladies and gentlemen out there, juggling kids, work and a spouse, how do you find time to write? What's your routine?

Desperately Seeking Sanity


  1. All I can say is, I don't know how you guys do it. It's hard for me to get things done with my little dog around wanting in/out/treat, etc. My kids are all grown and gone and didn't start writing until they were high school age. I'd say, write real early in the morning during the summer.

  2. Okay, I have to be honest. I wrote a lot more when I had the kids at home. Being retired means I have a whole lot more time, but the opportunity to procrastinate is a thousand times greater. With the kids at home, I had to stay with my schedule. Now, my schedule slips.
    Of course, now I do my own promotion and those
    same opportunities were not available before. My advice - make a schedule and try to stay with it.

  3. I used to hang a sign on my door that said: "Working. Do not disturb. Exceptions - vomit, blood, broken bones." Mean mommy, I know, but I did get some work done. Then again, I had two and they were only 18 months apart, so they played with each other.

  4. Aha! Maybe the trick is to have more than one so they can play. I'm her only buddy!

  5. I didn't start writing seriously until both of mine were in middle school and more self sufficient. But yeah, I still lost focus when they wanted something. I'm impressed that you get any writing done while she's so young, I'd often write first chapters and that's about it when my two were little, but then, at the time I never dreamed of turning those first chapters into more.

  6. Duct tape - lots of it. LOL
    Summer has been brutal with the word 'Mom' hollered every 60seconds or so it seems. My weekly word count dropped but I refuse to completely give up. Freezies and bribery are my trick and then after lunch I stop all work and play lifeguard.
    I cant' wait 'til school starts again though. :)

  7. I'm with Ciara - I didn't start seriously working at writing until my son was around 10 years old. But I found for me the biggest source of interruption was not my son but my husband. "Can you fix this?" "When's dinner?" So I usually get my most concentrated writing time between midnight and 3AM. I really hate it when I seem to need sleep, though.

    Kudos to you and the others with young ones in your "Writing Cave." You are the time management PROS.

  8. I'll try the duct tape next summer! : ) My biggest problem is that I got out of focus and practice because I didn't write all summer. Now that I have time, it's like pulling teeth to get back into a rhythm. I'd rather screw around on Facebook or write a blog... : )

  9. I wake up at 6:30 when hubby goes to work then I get cracking at my writing until my 4 year old and 2 year old wake up. I feed, dress, get them situated with whatever they wanna play. Write any ideas I get during that time. I used to write when they watched tv but now I don't let them...too much tv = no imagination. God forbid! I clean up and get myself ready for the day. 1:00pm is nap time and more writing/promoting/blogging/facebooking, etc. They wake up at 3:30 or 4 then no more writing for the day. Cooking, more cleaning and viola!

  10. How I do (did) it:

    Yes, it is almost easier to have more children than less. The older kids are more self-sufficient, and can help out with making breakfast/lunch, especially if it's just easy cereal and PB&J. I have 5 kids, and one of them is still a young toddler. She's 19 months. But I also have an 11 y/o, a 10 y/o, an 8 y/o and a 7 y/o. So you better believe I have helpers up the wazoo for diaper changes, playing with the baby, bathtime, and getting her up and down from naps.

    BUT, of course, I have been an author for awhile, and my kids weren't always tweens. When they were too old for naps but still young enough to bug me, I would employ a "quiet time", probably a couple of hours, between 2pm to 4pm. Those hours, my child(ren) would be in their room doing whatever they wanted, as long as it was quiet. Reading, napping, playing. But they had to be in their room and the door had to be closed.

    I would come get them when quiet time was over.

    Even now, when I can't stand the sound of the TV or the kids yapping is getting under my skin or I don't want kids running through the house, I still do quiet time. However now that they're older, I make them read. I homeschool, so this is win/win in my eyes. Being homeschooled, it's so easy for them to flip on the TV or the DS and "log out" of their imaginations. So now, my quiet time is reading time, and I do make them do book reports.

    My kids are also old enough to help out with chores. They don't always do an amazing job, but the floor stays vacuumed, the cat litter is scooped, and the toilets scrubbed. This accomplishes a few things: A.) It saves my sanity as far as cleaning the house with so many people living in it. B.) It teaches my kids how to be responsible and clean up so they can take care of their own houses one day. And C.) it gives me more time in the day to write.

    Anyway, that's a few things I do to manage my kids and my writing. :)


  11. Hehe, that picture is from my wedding!