Monday, June 26, 2017

Writing with monsters

Writing and pursuing publication takes time. A lot of time. The creativity for it is its own beast sometimes on its own schedule. At different stages of my process, I have different rituals to write. Some days it takes longer to get into. Throw life and kids in the mix and a swirling tornado of when can I sit and write twists at 200 mph. I've written for many years, but it wasn't until after my second monster was born, was when I started writing in pursuit of publication. When they were little, I thought oh I have no time to do this, but there are ways to fit it in.

First, make sure you are sleeping. My kids never did. Most of my plotting was done in my head as I lay awake on my son's floor wishing he would just sleep. I can't say it was good plotting, but it was turning the wheels. For me, this worked, but I would say if you need sleep, take the time to get some shut eye. You will be a happier person for it. I would also write if and when my kids napped, which was sparse. When did I get other stuff done? Well, my writing time on average was about a half an hour per day, if I was lucky.
When the monsters got to be in school full time some things changed. When I thought I would have more time, I was mistaken. I actually have less. Most of this is my fault. I started working part time and I volunteer a lot so my time has become choppy, and by night time, I'm exhausted. My advice is to make sure you can carve out some time. If it's early in the morning or a half an hour after dinner. Sometimes I write while making dinner. If you feel the creativity coming and the moment is there, write. I've even jotted down ideas in the middle of the airport because a new character whispered in my ear.
Also, my kids activities escalated. If I have to wait for them at one of their activities, I bring the work with me. Whether I'm editing, coming up with a new scene, or brainstorming, I do what I can while I wait. If you can spot when there is a moment of just you, take advantage, even if it's 15 minutes. It's progress.

Second, summer comes. I spend most of my week with my kiddos and part of the week working. In the summertime, adjustments to your schedule will have to be made. My kids do some camps, and we take some vacations, but I like to keep the kids busy. I don't want them on screens all day, so I try and plan out my week around things that need to be done around the house, what the kids are doing, and where the time can fit in. I work better in the morning so I give the kids some time to play with their toys or screens and I try to flesh out some scenes or edit. This does put me on a time limit, but something is moving along. It also does not happen everyday.

Finally, these are some tidbits per my schedule. Your schedule may be different than mine so not all of these recommendations will work for you. Step back or write down your week to see where writing can fit in. Also, try different times and see what works for you.

Lastly, don't be hard on yourself. Everyone is different and our needs are not the same. Kids grow up fast so make sure you soak in the time you have.  I'm just happy when something gets done.

How do you write with your kiddos?

Have a great day!