So, here’s the thing. I think people ask this question a lot because I have SO MANY CHILDREN. There are six of them. Most of the time, taking care of six kids feels like enough to fill my day four times without spare time to pee, let alone write a book. So I’m never actually sure how to answer. Some days, I don’t balance it. I do the very best I can, and go easy on myself when it just doesn’t work out.
For many writers, the key to success is writing every single day. And I get it. When you’re immersed in your characters and you’re feeling your story, and everything is working and coming together, it’s critical to keep the pace going. I absolutely believe there will be a time and season of my life that will allow me to write every single day. Right now? I’m just not in it.
And that’s okay.
The reality of my day-to-day life is still diapers and cartoons and home school and music lessons. It is late night conversations with an almost teenager and games of Yahtzee with the twins and dinner on the table and laundry for 8 people. (That word. It deserves to be all caps. LAUNDRY. If I could make it a mountain shaped word, I would. Because that’s what is sitting behind me as I type. A giant, leaning mountain of laundry.)
So I don’t write everyday and I don’t stress about it. Though, when I am deeply involved in a project, I will write more days than I don’t. I tend to work in spurts; for three or four weeks I’ll write three or four days a week, and then I’ll take a step back and breathe for a week or two. I’ve found this helps me maintain focus and keeps me from getting lost in the worlds that I write, rather than the world I actually, uh, live in myself. I also made a commitment when I started this whole writing gig (back when there were only 4 babies instead of 6) that I wouldn’t write during the day, when little ones were awake. I have this fear of my children discussing their childhood as grown ups…
“What was life like for you as a kid?”
“Well we learned to take care of ourselves cause Mom was behind her laptop all the time…”
I can’t see my kids’ faces when I’m staring at a screen. And also, if I’m writing and I am interrupted, I’m kind of a monster. Mean. Snappy. Totally irrational. Because the thoughts… I don’t want to lose them and if I have to answer a question or fix a glass of milk or tie a shoe or read a story I. WILL. BE. SO. MAD. Which, you know, is entirely unfair to the two year old who can’t exactly fix his own milk. So I write very late at night or very early in the morning when I am alone and the house is quiet. And I exist on very few hours of sleep. Which is something I’m good at because, hello, we already discussed this. SIX KIDS.
The truth is, it’s still very much a work in progress. I wish I could say I always feel perfectly content with the way things roll, but that wouldn’t be the honest to goodness truth. Some days I long for more time to write, and some days I think I’m too distracted by it all and hope the family isn’t suffering for it.
I’ve written about it before–this desire I have to keep all in proper perspective. I’ll link to a few of the posts below.