This is the thing. I’m not aware of any writer out there, any woman out there, who has managed to achieve literary publishing success, while her children are young.
Young. Little. I’m talking 1 + children under the age of, let’s say 4-5.
Because really, when would they have time to do it?
Baby girl is not a baby anymore: she’s a toddler, 18 months to be precise. Life was already busy without her, and now that she’s here, it’s even busier. I’m fortunate in that if left to her own devices, she will nap for about 2 hours a day. This is great. This is unreal. The only thing is, I have so much to do, I don’t know what to do first.
There’s always some kind of cleaning, some kind of food prep or cooking. Today for example, I had phone calls to make. I’ll pay bills online. I always try to squeeze in some writing time though. Like today. I haven’t posted something non-food related for a while, and this post and all the contradictory thoughts that come with it has been stewing in my mind for months. I sit down during her nap, with a coffee, and let the caffeine take me on a journey.
I have so many thoughts about this. There is some way, that I could achieve publishing success, with baby girl, as is. Like, now. But if I were to have another baby, I don’t know where I would find the time. I have this small sliver of opportunity that currently exists during the day. I can, and I do often write at night when she has been put down for the night. But unfortunately on some occasions, I’m just too tired. I’m tired from the day, I’m tired from the constant running around and not stopping. I’m tired of everything.
So instead, I’ll surf the web, or watch something I’ve recorded on Foxtel.
(Tsk tsk tsk).
Two people spring to mind when I think of me as Author (because we all are Authors aren’t we, only no one knows of our impending success yet)… me as Author watching TV.
Stephen King and Jackie Collins.
In Stephen King’s On Writing, he talks about TV being possibly the worst thing to thwart an Author’s efforts to write. He tells us to unplug the thing, and to find places where you can read during the day…standing in queue at the post office for example, or while waiting at the doctor’s office.
Jackie Collins says quite the opposite. In a recent interview, she spoke of how much she enjoyed watching television, and the volume of television she watches. She finds it inspiring and helps her to formulate her stories and give her the inspiration she needs.
I think they’re both right. Stephen King is right, but so is Jackie. You should avoid the TV, just for the sake of not getting sucked into the tedious monotomy of fluff being broadcast to a passive audience, hypnotising the viewers into forgetting about the next 3 possibly useful and effective hours of the night.
But if you’re watching something brilliant, something compelling… well. I find inspiration not just from books, but from movies and television shows. When I watch entertainment on TV, I don’t just stare numbly: I break it down, I analyse. In my mind, when something surprising occurs, I think ‘Oh. See how they did that? It went from A to B and then C was missed and suddenly you were at M and you were like what?! How did they think to create that story?’
So I can’t deny my visual form of entertainment either. I just have to pick carefully because of my limited time.
My foxtel planner is inundated with movies and shows that are yet to be watched. I have DVDS and movies that I’ve bought, and likewise have not had the time to sit down and dedicate myself to it. I feel so bad to sit there, not writing, for approximately 40 mins to 2 hours, when I could be productive and working on my book. I really feel guilty about it, yet I feel like my desire to consume this screen action won’t go away soon either.
I was thinking of the whole theory that Mums don’t have time to make themselves a success while their children were young, when P.D. James died. The night after hearing the shocking news, I googled her and some interesting articles came up on her back story. She had had a very difficult upbringing with her Mother institutionalised due to mental illness while James was still at an impressionable age, and then her string of misfortune continued when her husband developed a severe case of Schizophrenia after returning from the war, resulting in frequent hospitalisation. She found him dead one morning in their home, due to suicide.
She’d had two children with him, and moved in with her in-laws after he died. She worked full time to make ends meet. And you know what she also did?
She would wake up 2 hours before work every day, and write.
I remember the strong emotional feeling I got when I read that. I got very teary in the realisation that she had done, so many years ago, what I’d always known I could do. But I hadn’t.
Basically, in the end, there are no excuses. If you want to write, you will find a way. Like one blogger wrote, you’ll lock yourself in the bathroom away from the toddlers just so you can have 5 minutes of peace and tranquillity and a moment to put your fingers to the keypad. You’ll get up early, you’ll stay up late, or you just won’t sleep much at all.
Didn’t Bon Jovi sing “I’ll sleep when I’m dead?” That sounds about right.
Like another blogger I follow recently posted about, Andrew Toy at Adopting James, he also gets up 2 hours before his work start, in order to get in some writing time.
There are really no excuses.
There will always be things to do. I’m such a planner. I think I organise and plan and think and create more than I can possibly achieve. I love being on the move, being busy, and hate the idea of boredom. So I do it to myself, really. But in the end, do I want to tick off all my jobs on my to-do list, or do I want to say:
“I’m a published writer.”
There is no question there.
And don’t get me wrong, don’t accuse me of procrastinating now. I have been writing my book, the second book in my series in fact. I finished the 1st chapter just the other day, and while I stir up some more creative juices as to what to do in chapter 2, I sit here, and add to my blog, and catch up on stuff, and just generally imagine the possibilities for my characters, for myself, and for life.
Sometimes I think this blog has taken me away from my book writing. Maybe I’m right. Maybe I’m totally right. But at the end of the day I have to write, and I have to write somewhere… and this kind of outlet, I wouldn’t give up for anything.
So in reference to the above heading… how to make it, while doing it all?
2. Decide on your goals, and what is important to you
3. Forget about sleep. It can wait.