Writing With Children and Other Distractions
So you want to be an author, do you? As a stay at home parent you may think writing is the perfect job. You can be with your children and write to your heart’s content. In one sense you are absolutely correct. You can do this from home while being there for your children and it’s absolutely amazing. And incredibly difficult. I swear my kids have productivity radar! They know as soon as I close my Facebook window and start to focus on writing or editing.
And at this point I was distracted by said children. The oldest needed food the youngest needed a drink and before I knew it, it was time to make dinner.
Anyway, OH I need coffee — Three minutes later— Where was I? Oh right, distractions. There are lots of distractions around us. For example, before sitting down to write this (for the second time)I had to vacuum. If I hadn’t instead of typing it, I would have been staring at the dirt on the floor–Sorry had to stop and write down an epiphany for my current WIP. OK, I think my point is pretty clear. Actually writing my distractions in here (and I didn’t even include them all) has really shown me how important the things I am about to tell you truly are. I have two boys, the oldest is five and the youngest is three. While my oldest is at school and the youngest naps, is when I can be productive.
Here are the four things you need to write with children:
- Your Own Space: Preferably an office with a door that closes. This is something I do not have. Which makes life tough, for now. With my own space it would make it easier to get into the creative zone. With a door, I could potentially minimize distractions. I know that children cannot be stopped by a door, but “out of sight out of mind” goes a long way. That being said you need to make sure your child is safe. Please do not leave your toddler roaming free in your house.You know your child and the safety concerns in your home. If you cannot leave them alone because of their age or your living situation, nap time is your new best friend. Two hours is plenty of time to get those words everyday. And then there is bedtime. If your child goes down at 7:30 PM you can work till 9 PM and still get a full night’s rest. I know not all children are this accommodating, but if you want it, you will find it.
- Time: Once you have your space, you will need to designate time. Kids, as well as our brains, work better on a schedule. If you write at 9 AM every morning your brain will be ready to go. If you need someone to help out and watch the kids, try to make it a regular occurrence. For instance, every Tuesday morning you drop off the munchkin with your sister and head to the local coffee shop or library to get some words down. This helps your child know whats going on as well as prepares you for maximum productivity.
- A Plan: I know, I know, we all hate outlining, but guess what? If you have all the scenes of your novel planned out, those tiny little amounts of time while your child is sleeping or playing nicely will be a thousand times more productive. The goal is to finish the book, right? So, while your folding laundry or doing dishes, think about your story. Think about your characters. And for the love of God, write it down. You won’t remember. You have mommy brain. It doesn’t work like it used too.
- A Community: A writing group is really important. This doesn’t mean you need thirty friends who are writers and authors. It means you need one or two. These people should understand your goals and where you want to be, as well as your writing style. Hopefully they will share some of these this too. These people will hold you accountable as well assist you when writers block rears its ugly head.
Also, I know working and helping to pay the bills (Or paying them all yourself) is very important, but don’t forget, your kids are only little once. Every second that writing allows you to spend with them should be seen as the gift it really is. So, when you sit down to make that schedule, don’t forget to pencil in time to play dress up or ninja turtles. Maybe even snuggle and read a book to your little one.
Happy writing and happy parenting!