Today's guest post is by Rebecca Roland; she talks about learning to maintain a writing routine while adjusting to having a child. Rebecca has a blog titled "Spice of Life" and she is also on Twitter.
Thanks, Rebecca, for writing this post!
When I had my son, I took time off not only from my day job, but also from writing. It was hard enough to find time to shower, much less put words on paper. But after a few weeks, I had the itch to write, and I slowly got back to it.
Gone were the hours on weekends and days off when I could ease into my writing after goofing around on the Internet or doing the dishes or vacuuming the cat. I had a finite time to write, and I needed to make the most of it.
I tried to figure out how other people did it. I knew writers with twins, for crying out loud, and they still managed to fit in writing time. I even scoured the Internet for tips and tricks. How was I supposed to work and care for my son and fit in the writing?
It took a long time, but I finally figured out a few things. The first was, I'd have to give some things up. I used to watch television most evenings. Now I might sit down to watch a show two or three times a week. Instead, I spend that time writing or reading, or I watch television while working on something non-fiction, like this blog post. I also used to crochet a lot. Sometimes I think my husband worried that I would cover the walls of our house with blankets. I gave that up, too, at least for now.
I know some writers who get up before their family in order to have an hour or two of silence in which to write. My son gets up between six and six-thirty in the morning and sometimes even earlier. Considering I'm not a morning person to begin with, setting my alarm for even just an hour before his usual wake time makes me grumpy. On days that I stay home, I wait until his nap to write, and I write at night if I'm not mentally drained. On days I go to work, I have about an hour between the time I drop him off at the sitter's in the morning and the time I have to be at the office, so I squeeze in some words then. I rarely write fiction those evenings because I'm almost always too fatigued.
It doesn't add up to a whole lot of time any given week, so I can't goof off like I used to. Then again, I don't think my writing time is significantly less than it used to be if I factor in the time I used to spend messing around.
The final thing I figured out was that flexibility is the key. When it comes to small kids in general, once you think you've got it figured out, they go and change on you and then you have to figure it out all over again, including where you fit in time to do what you have (or want) to do. So nap time and evenings work for now, but some day in the future, I just might be setting my alarm and getting up before the rest of the family begins to stir. Thank goodness for coffee, is all I can say.