June 1, 2010

Mommy-Writers Have a Tough Gig

Being a writer and a mom at the same time is a challenge and it's been on my mind a lot lately. I've posted on writing while living your life before, but things are changing. My little girl doesn't take naps any more. And then there's the whole pregnancy thing. I wonder how long I'll have to take off before I feel human enough to set and reach writing goals again.

As it becomes more difficult to find time to write, I've come to some conclusions:
  1. I need to be well-rested. Trying to write or revise or concentrate on anything in any way while I'm exhausted is frustrating and a waste of time. Unfortunately, I'm pregnant and therefore tired all the time. One thing that's helped me is to wake up earlier than I normally would, get the basic morning routine done, and then take a power nap once everything is settled. I get the same amount of sleep, but for some reason, it feels so much better.
  2. Write when you can. I used to write during my little girl's naps, but now that those are non-existent, I've had to readjust. (It took me a couple of days to find something that worked.) I write at night. I'll give up tv to make it happen, even though it helps me unwind at night. (By the way, I noticed that writing also helps me unwind so this is an epic discovery for me.) (Oh, and giving up tv is much easier now that Lost and 24 are over. Just sayin'.)
  3. Beg, steal, and bargain for writing time whenever you can. I give DH shoulder rubs, he takes the kid for a few hours on Saturday. It's totally awesome.
  4. Set goals (or you'll fall into a pathetic slump). Complacency is the enemy of the self-motivated writer. I give myself ambitious deadlines and use spreadsheets to track my progress.
  5. Take breaks. Between projects and during. I know this sounds contradictory to #4, but I'd be a useless glob of bio-matter if I didn't take Sundays off.

If you want to hear a more experienced voice on the subject, Galleycat offers some help for those writing with children, including helpful links and advice from Clive Young, Maggie Stiefvater and Adrienne Maria Vrettos.

And straight from S.A. Larsen (hi!) at the Writers' Alley, come 10 Ways to be a Mom and a Writer.


Rabia said...

Oh, I so remember those days! I found that I couldn't get much writing done at all while pregnant--I just turned into a zombie. I didn't angst (too much) about it then. I know everyone says the time goes by fast, but it really is true! I can't believe that my littles are big(ger) now. Writing is so much easier to fit in now without the night-awakenings and the constant need for attention.

It sounds like you're managing very well. You certainly are more productive than I ever was in the same position. Good going!

Unknown said...

I couldn't write much during my first trimester, but that was mostly because my free (awake) time went toward trainig for a half marathon. (Talk about exhausted!)

Just wait til the baby gets here. I'll have twice as many kids and half the time. I think finding the time is going to take some careful planning. :)

Rabia said...

You ran a half-marathon while pregnant? Wow!

I found that I got better at time management with every child. I had to. :D

Unknown said...

The half marathon was more me being stubborn than anything else. I made it a goal about the same week I got pregnant, so when I found out, I'd already been training for almost a month. It's helped me fight off weight gain in the later months.

That's comforting. I sure hope I get better.

Margo Berendsen said...

I wish I had more advice to share - I'm writing with four kids! ages 8 down to twin 3 year olds. But you hit all my tricks - power naps, bargaining and trading off with hubby, giving up TV.

I guess one other thing that sometimes works for me is giving my kids some really focused time - read them a longish story or a play a game with them. Then they are good on their own for a couple hours after that, not constantly interrupting me.

Going to check out some of those other posts now!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip. The more input we can collect the better!

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