Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Balancing Writing With Kids

It's about time this post was written. But I have thought a lot about it recently, especially since I now have grand kids at my feet when I'm trying to write.

Yes, one of my daughters lives with me and she has two children. A girl, 3, and a boy, 7. I am tending for my daughter so that she can get her degree, graduate and support her children, but the road is often long and difficult; especially when you consider all the work that goes into book writing and promotion.

But I want you to know something. Even though I sometimes feel as if I'm re-doing my young mother years, I am learning even more from my grandchildren and myself than I ever did the first round.

If you're also struggling to get in some writing time along with raising your children or taking the second-mommy watch, these ideas might help you like they've helped me in still maintaining my rights and sanity as an author.
Photo by: ContentAction, courtesy of Flickr
1. Time. There are better times to write than others. Early in the morning, during nap time (unfortunately, I can't always use that one here, but it worked with my own children) and late at night. Also, keep in mind that when the children are occupied with some great craft or toy, you can squeeze in some time there, as well. In addition, getting a playmate helps if you have only one child, or sending your children off to play once or twice a week, and trading off with a neighbor.

2. Quality. Quality writing becomes thwarted when you're trying to write amongst the yells and other catastrophes of children. Again, my best quality of writing comes when the sounds and 'needs' are not there. Still, I find that if the children are playing in the same room I can still get some work done even with the background noise. I have learned to multitask and this has helped me to get more work done. If I focus on technical projects like outlining or organizing my day, this helps too. When I plan on being involved in the creative process, I try to get the children occupied before I begin.

3. Quantity. I have learned in writing, that it isn't the quantity of work that you put out, but the balance you achieve. For example, I get into marketing my new books and forget that I also need to write. My time can't be heavy on one side over the other. And place children in the mix, and you have some real balancing to do. Writing and marketing also entail those well-needed breaks. And I mean it. I always feel when I have overdone it. I either get sick, depressed or both.

4. Priority. While I love to write and market, I love my grandchildren more. Having raised my own children I know how quickly they grow up (yes, I was told this all of the time by well-meaning people, but never really believed it until I looked back) and how easy it became to get involved in other things. I still have to watch myself. I am not always the best at stopping my work and reading a story or going outside to play in the sandbox. But when I take a few minutes it's amazing the connections and fun that I have!

Balancing writing with kids is more than a juggling act. It takes some wisdom to know when to play and when to write, and when to get your children or grandchildren occupied with something without you. But that's what life is all about.



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