Fitting writing into my life has been one big balancing act. I’m a Stay At Home Mum*, I run a playgroup, have my eldest starting a pre-preschool (yes, this is apparently a thing), I’ve been managing study, volunteering, casual work, as well as the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, kids activities, family time demands everyone else shares.
*I hate that term, as if I actually ‘stay at home’- the house would be trashed all the time and the kids would be stir-crazy.
Then at the end of the day, when their sweet little peaceful heads hit the pillow**, now it’s time for me- generally for writing, if I don’t collapse of exhaustion first.
**I joke, of course, we spend way too long battling bedtime and the housework, then they wake up fifty times through the night. Not asking for unsolicited parenting advice here, it’s just a reality that we will get through.
I’m definitely a night owl, I see 5:00am writer’s club posts, and take my hat off to all of you. Five a.m. is not morning in my world, it’s still ‘the middle of the night’; what I say to my 3 year old if he dares suggest it’s morning. I would much rather, and do sometimes, stay up to 1:00am, even 2:00am writing rather than wake up early in the morning.
There’s something about the night for me. It’s peaceful and quiet (mostly- except when my 3 year old has nightmares about baby zebras biting his feet). My creativity comes out at night, there’s generally no phone messages or emails or anything happening, it’s finally time for me to focus and get all my ideas down.
Sleep deprivation has been the primary method for me fitting in writing time. I’m definitely not encouraging this, it’s not a long-term strategy and something that effected how I could cope with everything during the day. It worked in November for NaNoWriMo, primarily because I knew it was for a short term and I had all the hype and support to push through it for a month.
After November, writing stalled. Christmas, family visitors, family holidays, sicknesses, catch ups, and boom- here we are at mid-to-late January and I haven’t opened my NaNoWriMo manuscript since 30 November.
As hard as it’s going to be for me, I’m going to have to learn patience. I desperately want to edit my manuscript, call for beta readers, query, publish, work on book #2, but I need to accept that this will all take time. Particularly when writing is, at this point in time, a midnight hobby for me.
2019 will be a year for me to balance my very energetic two boys and the big kid’s transition to pre-preschool, a new casual job, running playgroup, study, volunteering, and trying to fit writing into the gaps, corners and nights where I can. But sleep will also need to be shuffled up on the priority list. Sleep effects everything else, and is a big part of self-care that I often ignore.
I’d love to hear how other writers out there fit everything into their worlds. From the Twitter and Instagram #WritingCommunity I’ve read some have full-time jobs, young families, other creative pursuits and hobbies, some managing their own or family health issues. How are you managing to maintain balance and fit writing into your busy lives?