(PLease don't read into this too much-right now this is totally hypothetical) Especially if you are the primary person who stays home with baby--How hard is it to get writing time versus just having an older child? When I had my son, I had tons of time to write--that was actually when I started thinking about writing as a possible profession. Now my son is nine, and I find that I have quite a bit of time to write, especially after he's in bed, or in the afternoons when he goes to play (we homeschool, so it's an all day thing with him, I don't get a break when he's in school). My husband and I have been talking a bit... I would really like to have another baby, but I don't know what this means for my writing "career." I know other writers, big names, who managed to have babies and crank the books out, but is there anyone on here who has been able to, not crank books out, but just write to a satisfactory level? what does your writing life look like? Any suggestions? Any good books on time management?
Well, I didn't start trying to write seriously until this year, and my youngest is three. Based on experience, I'd say the first months will be tough: I was struggling just to get enough sleep to function normally. Once things settle into a night-sleeping day-napping routine, if you have an easy baby, you may be able to work in regular writing time during naps, or in the evenings again. If you have a colicky baby or an irregular sleeper, that may be harder.
In my experience, it gets harder once they get mobile and interested in playing. It also depends on your writing methods: Cory Doctorow can apparently write with kids screaming in the background, but I can't. I've taken to getting up at 4:30 AM to ensure two hours of uninterrupted writing every day.
Well, I've only one child, a toddler, and I'm not staying at home with him, but I'll give my 2 cents anyway. I've carved out two hours in the morning to write, before anyone else is awake. That means I get a little less sleep, but I'm okay with that.
I've also set up an exchange system with my wife, where we give each other two-hour breaks in which one parent is responsible for the kids and the other can do whatever they want. For me, I spend it writing. I'm a big believer in 'where there is a will, there is a way', so maybe you can make some arrangement with the husband so you can get in your writing time.
My only issue now, is by getting into a morning writing routine, I find it more difficult to sit down and get any writing done at night.
For me, the challenge actually begins when pregnant. My pregnancy brain is not a good writer. I have a hard time following idea's to an ending, but it's been a good time to do edits. I finished my second draft of my current novel while pregnant, which is awesome, because usually I just want to skip into the next fun idea, but pregnancy brain hasn't been able to come up with many ideas fun enough to skip onto.
I remember when my daughter was a baby for the first little bit, I couldn't find time to take a shower let alone sit at the computer in complete silence. But things simmer down. Eventually she got into a rhythm and I've had more than enough writing time since.
I'm due in three and a half weeks with kiddo # 3. I'm expecting to not get any writing done for the first couple of months, but then to get right back on the horse when the horse becomes visible. Basically factor in taking a year long vacation from your writing. But the best part about being an unpublished writer( and possibly the only good part) is that there isn't a deadline.
The dream will still be there a year from now. And more importantly, the dream will still be possible a year from now.
Just remember it's a marathon, not a sprint, and there will be time to do anything you want to do, just not everything you want to do. You have to make choices.
But that's really the same for anyone, momma or not. ~Sheena
I didn't start writing till my kids were older (although I am a homeschooler, too - yeah!), but I do follow Shannon Hale's blog (oinks.squeetus.com). She writes MG/YA (and some adult) and is a newberry honor recipient. She is also very forthright about the way things are. She recently had twins. You might find her blog posts through pregnancy and dealing with things enlightening.
Yes, Sheena, that is kind of what I was thinking. Yes, I want a career, but all along I have wanted kids. There is a deadline for the kids... I'm not getting any younger! But the writing, even if what I write is dreadful, it's still practice, and it will be there when the "good times" come again for writing. It was good to be reminded of it though--during the rough patches I always forget long term. But you are absolutely right, the dream will still be there next year, even ten years from now! I still have over half my life (I HOPE) ahead of me...
I do remember now, when my son was about 5 and stopped taking naps and just needed the constant supervision (he has PDD, and so needs a little more than some other kids; that's why we waited so long between kids), it took some adjusting to because I didn't have the set time to write during naptime that I used to. But I survived.
Osiris, the exchange system sounds great. I know my husband is willing to do this, and DOES do this for me. I imagine with two it will be even more important to me.
I started writing when I was pregnant with my second child. The first couple months after she was born is all blur, but I started writing again once she began to sleep through the night. I also used to go to the library for two hours once a week and my hubby watched the kids. That was really nice.
I didn't put much time into it, but I gave it all I could. I still have trouble finding time to write, but like Sheena said, it is a marathon not a sprint. It might take us parents a little bit longer than the childless writers, but we can do it.
Genevive - That's what I get for multitasking and trying to read while eating. I just choked on my water...
I have a one year old who hates to nap, a seven year old who is currently dressed as a unicorn, and a part time job. I'm exhausted! I usually get to grab a snippet of time here or there depending on how long the baby sleeps and if I can convince my daughter (the unicorn) to have some quiet time in her playroom. Summer has definitely been challenging since she's out of school. Most of my writing happens after the peewees are in bed. Not the greatest because I'm ready to go to bed myself so I have to be very disciplined or I slack off and watch bad reality tv instead of writing.
Good luck! I'm still figuring it out as a go... But we can do it!
I wasn't writing when my babies were babies, but I'll say that writing when they ARE around is hard, it's taken many many long involved speeches from mama (they're 7.5 and almost 10, this is one of a slew of speeches they get on a weekly basis...) about how I love them very much but need to be able to write so I can write those stories they love so much and...yadda yadda yadda (summertime is the worst for this!)
The one nice thing about the publishing industry today is - If you find like another previous poster, pregnancy brain isn't conducive to creation (I can *totally* see this) -- then you can spend pregnancy formatting books and editing and getting them ready, then epublish them yourself and let them make a bit of money for you while you're "off" with new baby. You might find that it's hard to find time for new writing, but you can do some blogging or blog tours or tweeting about your releases while home w/a wee one. And so what if it only starts out making pocket change for you - it's one of the only professions that's really compatible with parenting in that you can sequence your work - you can write a novel (e.g., say by doing Nanowrimo) at a time period that fits your family flow, then edit it on your own calendar, then publish when you're ready/able, then take a break if you are otherwise engaged (ideally after you've epublished some work so that work can be making you a bit of money...)
It's one of those things, though, that varies so much by person and life circumstance. My husband has the kind of job that is just insane. Counting on him for those couple hours of "break" is next to impossible (unless it's a weekend, then we want to spend time together since we see each other little during the week), so I've cultivated a very small and tight network of other moms who help each other out. Kids develop friends and playdates are every at-home parent's best friend! My sister and i used to do a baby exchange (our youngests are 6 months apart.) One morning a week I had them both, one morning a week she had them both. We each purchased an extra car seat for our cars so we didn't have to monkey with that. It worked great!
Good luck to you whatever you decide to do. Children are fascinating, and the source of many good story ideas.
I saw 4:30 AM and couldn't finish reading this thread. I have trouble getting up at 6:00 AM. But I'm the almost Pappa and businesses only full-time employee, not the mom. Do Mom's need less sleep than Pops?
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Writing careers can happen at anytime in your life. Children not so much. Sorry if that offends anyone.
When my wife and I had our 2 children, I ran my own business from home and raised both girls at home until roughly 5 and 3 yrs. And they were the most productive writing times of my life. I was inspired by everything they did, and more in touch with my emotions than I had ever been.
enigmaticuser - actually, I'm very much a night person and I need about 8 hours of sleep a day. But right now, there's no other way to guarantee myself writing time (the kind I need, quiet and guaranteed no interruptions). And I have to say, it's working really, really well, much better than I'd feared. I am very pleasantly shocked at how easy it's been. (I'm three weeks in.)
I think it has everything to do with motivation: I WANT to write so much that I barely even feel the pull to stay in bed when the alarm goes off, and I'm happy to go to bed early.
Grayson, I hear you on that. I'm just finding I pay for it by the end of the week and the next week I usually need to recover.
But I think that's just me finding balance in other area. My wife and I are only 2ish years in and it's been rough financially so in my case I find spending time on her is an invaluable investment. So for the moment I often choose that or necessary sleep and have to keep praying God lightens my schedule.
I'm glad to hear that's working out for you. It might be a matter of timing too, they say that one hour before midnight is worth two afterward. Early to bed is better sleep.
You know, I have to say too, at risk of TMI, those nursing hormones really keep you going. Nine years ago after my son was born, when he started sleeping mostly through the night (i think he would go in at about nine or ten and get up to eat at about 4), I used to stay up and write until like 2 AM, go to bed, and then other than getting up at 4 to nurse, I would get up at 8 with him for the day and I didn't feel tired. I remember getting a lot of writing done back then, and I did that for a couple years. BUT. I also think my perspectives on what "a lot" is have changed, so it might not be as satisfactory now as it was back then, and also, now I have a nine year old who needs attention too. Phew!
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Pregnant at 24 (as I was with my first) and pregnant at 40 (as I was with my last) are two completely different experiences, I must say. I thought I was dying this last time around. Literally. I need more sleep as I age, it seems, and everything about pregnancy, nursing, and having a newborn was more exhausting.
I certainly don't mean to rain on anyone's parade--and I couldn't be happier with my youngest son. Definitely worth any amount of difficulty. But as someone who's had four kids over a seventeen year span, I can say that an aging body does change the playing field.
enigmaticuser - Definitely, it's a question of priorities. I no longer watch films that make it to TV, and I see my husband less. But it's a tradeoff we're willing to make right now. Everything boils down to what's most important, given your current situation.
I also sleep in on Sundays, to catch up, as you mention. I notice a slow creep into tiredness during the week, and I use that one day of extra sleep to catch up. I couldn't do it all seven days a week, but six is working well.
Definitely doable. I'm very lazy and seem to write in bursts (everyone else here seems much more motivated and disciplined than me when it comes to writing!) - but managed among other writing to do NaNo last year while heavily pregnant as well as having a 1 year old (have to admit I didn't finish, got to around 40,000 words). And have been sporadically writing short stories since my new baby was a couple of months old (he is now 5 months). It's hard trying to get writing time in-between coordinating naps (my two are 17 months apart) and doing other chores. However, someone more disciplined than I would do better I'm sure (e.g. I'm cruising the Internet right now looking at nothing sites when I could/should be writing).
I like writing during the day but that is proving to be too difficult at the moment with two under two. Had to wait until newborn chaos subsided a bit and a nightime bedtime routine was established before being in the right head space to write in the evenings. My new guy is still not sleeping through the night - but when he does I'm expecting a huge surge in energy levels and writing inspiration coming out my ears.......... Or not
If I can write with a baby - ANYONE can write with a baby.
P.S. Not saying you are just anyone mrmeadors - from the story I've seen of yours, you would do a million times better than me