After questions of sleep habits, and diaper bags, its the question I'm asked most frequently since between sleep deprivation, pureeing baby food, and the numerous other seemingly endless tasks that can quickly eat away at a day, many new mothers find their writing taking a back burner to all the other things that must be done.
Yet, since his birth, I finalized a manuscript, wrote a second one [which I am in the process of editing] and blog several days a week. Writing is my release, my escape- it is frankly, necessary. So how do I manage to create the time and space to ensure I write? These are five tips that worked for me which I share in the hopes they may be of benefit for you:
- Write when your child is sleeping. The laundry, the dishes, the phone calls to return; these are all different forces that will beckon you when you see your beloved baby dozing away. A chance to catch up on all that remains undone. If you value your writing- let all that go- sit down- and write. A friend shared that she tried this and completed a short story while caring for a young baby. Now that my son's naps are less lengthy and frequent, I set aside one hour after he sleeps for the night to find a quiet space and write. Following this simple rule, I completed the first draft to my current project in six weeks.
- Allow for a 'less than Martha Stewart' home. As I write this, there is dust gathering on the nightstand, sheets not perfectly folded, and toys scattered across the living room. While I do make sure the floors are swept, and the counters cleaned- I know I must accept my home is a living organism in which there will always be something to upkeep, fix, or dust, and if I spend my time devoted to perfecting it, my writing will suffer. I accept that while my son is young, this house will never be a Martha Stewart showroom, but if I want to find time to write I have to let go of perfection.
- Get help- and then- get out: Even if I ask my husband to watch my son while I write upstairs in the guest room, I never succeed. I'll hear a cry- or a giggle- and and instantly hit the stairs to see what the problem is, or the fun I'm missing out on. Instead, I now hand over my son and head to a coffee shop where I won't be distracted by wanting to help when I know my son is already in capable hands.
- Make the most of the time you can't get out: Some days- and weeks- when you simply can't sneak away to a coffee shop and the nightly writing isn't enough- don't be afraid to take advantage of snippets of time here and there. The biggest hindrance for most people who feel they have a novel in them, but can't seem to complete it, is the illusion that there needs to be a wide expanse of time within which to write- no. The ten minutes you're waiting for the baby carrots to steam while your little one is distracted by a plastic bowl? Write. The five minutes your baby is sitting on the high chair giggling at his finger food? Write. It all adds up.
- Use what you have at the time. I write on my laptop. In my moleskine journal. On the notepad I scratch out my grocery list. Behind envelopes that carried bills and credit card offers. Because I am not always right next to a computer- or easily accessible one- when an idea hits- I use what I have and I write. There's always time to record your thoughts permanently later- but I take advantage of the material around me when I have an idea that I don't want to lose.
[Photo Image Source: Here]