Writing Around Life

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Writing around life.

That seems to be my theme here on the Muffin. But what exactly does that mean?
I don’t know about you but I don’t get much writing time in during the day. I am a Mom of four gorgeous children—all six and under and two with special needs—and that’s my main job. Somewhere in there I also study to earn the last nine credits I need for my Psychology degree, tidy the house and all of the little jobs that need doing. But I’m also a very creative person who needs time in each day to BE creative in some way or I go crazy. It’s great doing crafty things with the kids but I’m talking more about ways to express myself through my writing.

I’ve always used writing as a way to work things out, calm myself or help me to re-focus. To me writing is soothing…therapeutic. It’s something I don’t do just to earn money. For me, writing is an extension of my heart and soul that I need to tap into a little bit each day otherwise I feel like a volcano brewing to erupt. And after a crazy-insane day, I need the glorious silence and solitude. Okay…I admit those times are few and far between especially since my kids don’t sleep well but I take advantage of bits and bites throughout the day. Here are a few suggestions:

* If you have very young children, set aside a little bit of time during naptime. That means leave those dirty dishes in the sink or putting the vacuuming for a little while and take some writing time in. Even if you just give yourself half-an hour, it’s worth it!
* If your children don’t nap but still a bit young to play totally alone, take advantange of a designated “quiet time.” In our house, we usually do crafts then my kids watch Imagination Movers while they have a snack. On days when they fight their naps, I squeeze in a bit of time then.
* Take your laptop or Neo to the park with you and do a bit of work while you’re watching them play. This one is a bit more difficult for me because Sophie is only one and hates just sitting in her stroller while she sees her siblings running around the park. And she can’t play on her own yet—she stuffs anything and everything into her mouth so I have to watch her constantly. But those of you with older kids can take a it of time then.
* Stay up late to work or get up early—just don’t do both. Mamas need rest too or they can’t do their very important jobs. So, either stay up for a few hours after the kids (finally) go to sleep or get up a couple of hours before they do.
* Mary Rosenblum told me once that she used to work right in the living room with her boys playing or watching television around her. She said that the deal was if they let Mom do a chapter while they entertained themselves, she’d take them out to the park or somewhere else after she’d finished her work. What I thought was really cool was how Mary said that her writing was THEIR thing not just HERS because they needed to be a team in order for her to work and earn money with her writing. That’s a fantastic thing.
* If you get an offer for help with the kids, TAKE IT! I’m pretty bad for that, actually. Until recently I didn’t often ask for or accept help with my kids. But with my business taking off and, now, writing books too, I NEED the extra time to write.
* Let them do it with you. The most amazing thing is that Jaimie and Jordhan like to write little books of their own. So what I do is cut up a gynormous piece of paper into small book-sized pages and they write their own books—complete with illustrations—while I do my work. (One day I might compile their little stories into books because they are really quite good!) It’s fun for them and, until they start fighting over crayons, it’s nice and quiet.

These are only a few suggestions that work for us. I still have days where I get almost nothing done. But I find as my little beauties get older, and they need me a little less, I have many more productive days. One day, they won’t need me at all and I’ll have all day to write. Until that day comes—and, secretly, I hope it doesn’t happen too quickly—I’ll keep my Neo close and continue writing around life.

See you soon!



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