Quote of the Day: Writing is harder than anything else; at least starting to write is. It’s much easier to wash the dishes. When I’m writing I set myself a daily quota of pages, but nine times out of then I’m doing those pages at four o’clock in the afternoon because I’ve done everything else first…But once I get flowing with it, I wonder what took me so long. Kristin Hunter (American writer)
School’s out for summer! Yay, right? It’s that glorious time of hanging out at home, baseball practice and games, swim team conditioning, summer camps, fundraising for mission trips, band lessons, and having friends come over to hang at the house. Someone asked me once if I was looking forward to summer, and the truth is, not really. It’s a different kind of busy, much less time for myself and my writing, but more time with the kids and the chance to take trips and get out. So, how do you fit in any kind of writing, especially the kind that might not produce any income?
Other mothers who write posed the question on facebook this week about finding time to actually write when the kids are there, plus the distractions and duties of the home, and the just plain ol’ tired feeling you have. Some of us escape to coffee shops, which works if you’re writing a play set in a coffee shop. Not so much when you run into people you know and “need” to catch up. Some of us try to tune out the family and ignore the household chores. I can do that. Not all day long, though. Those growing boys tend to want to be fed. Once the cereal runs out, they’re looking for meat. (I need to teach them to cook.) Then, of course, it’s carting them around to all the above mentioned activities. (Middle son is just starting driver’s ed this summer.)
And, yes, it’s much easier to do the dishes (see above quote). Case in point, this morning, I got up early to write this post, but first, I let the cat out, started coffee, washed up the pan from last night’s burgers, eyed the rhubarb crisp for breakfast, got the middle son up to get to his swim conditioning, looked up the quote, left to bring him to swim conditioning, came back, ate breakfast (whole wheat English muffin with nutella, saving the rhubarb crisp for second breakfast), finished typing the quote, sneezed so hard my readers flew off, laughed about that with the twins who are eating breakfast beside me and waiting for me to drop them off at swim practice, but first we need to stop at Dad’s house for their swimming suits.
You get the picture, and it’s just 8:00 am, now.
So, I suggested to one of the other authors who seems to be quite popular and can find no private retreat in which to write: Build yourself a treefort and pull up the ladder!
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Love the tree fort idea. Guilty myself of doing everything else first – especially when it’s too hot outside to live in a tree…
You could lock yourself in a closet but the tree fort sounds more fun!
I’ve read a lot of writing parents lament summer break because it devours their normal writing time. Bed times tend to change, kids need more attention/things to do, etc.
My recommendation is to give yourselves a two month pass. Not to say give up writing for two months, but maybe just say it’s okay to not do things business as usual, let those word counts dwindle, etc.
Maybe even just switch gears, like focus on reading those books on craft you haven’t had time to get to the rest of the year, or start journaling while the kids are playing at the park. There are many useful things you can do to help your writing that don’t require the focus or chunks of time that our normal writing routines do.
So you get to work on your writing, AND not beat yourself up about neglecting your WIP.
Of course, if you’re on a deadline you might be in trouble! 🙂
I planned on getting a ton of writing done during the summer too. Not so much. Who knew college age kids could be so distracting?
Half the time, I sacrifice sleep. I’ll write late at night when everyone is in bed and the house is quiet. You could also let them all watch a movie at night while you go write. Make sure it’s one they want to watch and you don’t! Then write for the duration of it all. If you get into a groove, you can take a break, get them off to bed, then go back to it.
What a great idea, a tree fort!
I’m always amazed at the writers who hold down day jobs and have small kids! How on earth do they do it?
Writer In Transit
Love the idea of a retreat for writing. A writer I know is organizing one in Cape Code. But we can make our own, in the backyard, garden, any old place. And yes, washing dishes is so much easier than writing! I’d even throw in cleaning the house — anything seems easier than writing sometimes. 🙂
Just checking on you! Make the time..let the dishes sit in the sink or better yet put it on the kids chore list. I write late at night..nothing important just my usual drivel:)