by Amanda Crofutt
Balancing writing and my family has been something that I have struggled with since my first child. I now have three kids and two step kids. I think with time and practice it gets easier, but it is definitely something that is learned. I have written since I was a young teenager, writing was always an outlet for me. I am sure it is that way for many of us, but as I got older I discovered that I wanted to also inform people. I didn’t just want to put my emotions out there. Then at nineteen I had my first child, and I thought I would have to give it up. I loved him with all my heart, but at the same time I was a single parent struggling some days to find time to shower yet alone to write a quality essay of any length for anything, or anyone. As he got a little older I realized that as much as I loved my child I had left everything I had once loved behind for him. I had to start making time for me again. I had this Epiphany around the time he was almost a year old. I met my now husband around the same time, there is a lot that he helped me through but that is something that can be talked about some other time.
I realized that I needed to dedicate an hour to me a day, that was my magic number, as I call it anyway. The amount of time I spent doing something solely for me that made me feel good and happy and whole. I started by dedicating that time to writing, spending time at a lake, walking. As I did I realized what had been missing for a year was me, and my writing. I don’t know about most of you, but writing is how I make sense of the world around me. So to lose that most sacred part of me was almost like someone had cut out a large chunk of my heart. When I had my second child two years later I did not let up off of having one hour a day to myself, and now that I have five kids I still have one hour a day to do what I please, to write, to experience, to live life without thinking of being mom first and writer second.
The point of all of this is, find your magic number. It may be different than mine. It took me almost three weeks to figure out that it was an hour every day for me. It may be two hours every day for you. It may be an hour every other day. Find it, and then hold yourself to it until it is second nature. Take that time to take a walk so you can hear the birds, finish another chapter in your book. Maybe you just need an hour binge-watching your favorite show. We all get inspiration from different places, but find yours, take it and turn into something. You can’t do that without dedicated time to write. Here’s to your next piece.
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