Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Especially for the writing moms

I've been thinking a lot about what I wrote in my last post about making time to write being like an affair. For the lucky few who don't have this problem, feel free to skip this post and pop over to HULU to catch last night's episode of Heroes.

For the rest of us who have to write between kids, spouses, jobs and the general messiness of life, read on.

I don't know about the rest of you (especially you writing moms out there) but finding the time to write is my hardest challenge. It's harder than writer's block, plotting, characterization--basically, for me it's harder than everything else combined. I think it's especially hard for moms. After that first kid comes along, it's like a switch is flipped and your world shifts from being all about you, to being all about this new little person. Even when you make time for yourself to see a movie, go out to dinner without the little bundle of joy, or whatever you do for fun, somewhere in the back of your mind a large portion of your brain is occupied with The Baby. You pull out your cell phone to make sure you're getting proper reception just in case the babysitter calls. You plot the fastest way home if there's an emergency. You call home, "just to check."

I have four kids, ages 12 - 4 and still have trouble turning my Mom Brain off. Even as I write this, part of my mind is on my kids--two of whom are in the other room watching Ratatouille. My thoughts go something like this:

They've been watching T.V. a long time. Should I stop blogging and make them do something productive? Maybe I should make them go outside and gather leaves?

I don't really know what we'd do once we have the leaves...I just have a vague impression that gathering leaves is a more Mom-like activity than blogging about writing.

So this summer, I struggled over hiring a baby-sitter to do something as self-indulgent as write. I worried about the expense, I worried about the time away from my kids, I worried about their safety, I worried that the house would burn down and they wouldn't get out in time....You name it, I worried about it. But there was a small part of me that said I needed to do this. So I did, and it was wonderful. Each day I came home happier and calmer. And I was able to spend the rest of the day playing with the kids without thinking, I need to write. I need to write. I can honestly say it was one of the best summers we've had.

For me, writing is about more than plot-lines and characterization. It's about taking time for myself to feed my soul. There's a part of me that shrivels when I don't write. I become less than my best when I don't feed that part of me. My kids notice it, my husband notices it. And honestly, my kids don't mind when I take time to write. My husband doesn't mind, in fact he encourages it. (I'm much calmer when I take a little time for myself!) I am the only one who worries about it.

So my advice to you is to make time to write. Do it however you can, at night, during nap-time, in the morning. Whenever. Just find the balance that works for you and get writing.

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