I’ve talked before about trying to fit personal writing time in when you’re a mom with kids, work, a house, community obligations, and, well for me, anyway, an animal menagerie that also needs to be cared for.
The short answer as to whether or not it can be done is: NO. It can’t.
And this week I came close to giving it all up. I mean, seriously, why work so hard?
Rather I would keep the tide back with a spoon.
I have been asked by more than one LITERARY AGENT!!! for a manuscript based on my queries. Do you know how lucky I was to even get their attention? And yet, I’ve not been able to give them anything.
I’ve been trying to get something completed since the beginning of summer. It’s now fall and while that little writing challenge did help me to move forward I’m still not done.
And it’s killing me. I mean really, it’s killing me. Anyone who knows me, knows that I want to move away to a tiny house and eat my morning cereal in my pajamas out in the garden while a rabbit looks on and then go inside to write what I want to write.
Oh sure the necessary stuff always gets done, those feature articles and marketing projects that bring in the much needed money. You can always find time for those, as do you for the blogs – including your personal ones, as well as for those blogs that have asked you to be a guest writer. After all, it’s an honor for someone else to ask you to write, (at no cost to them) isn’t it?
What it comes down to is that you can always find the time (sometimes even squeezed in between the beginning and ending of soccer practice) to write for others. What then usually happens is that at the end of the day, when the house is finally quiet, just like that V-8 commercial, you hit the side of your head and exclaim, “I could have written today!” But the truth is that there just wasn’t the time.
So what is the solution? I’d like to say that I know how to fix this problem but I can’t. Right now I’m smack in the middle of this mess fully realizing that my life is not what I thought it would be – or what I want it to be.
Baby steps. One thing I’ve realized is that if I don’t see my writing as a job, as something that could potentially bring in money; (just like any other job) then others won’t as well. None of my kids view my writing as something that is important. Part of that problem rests squarely on my shoulders, I have, since the first was a toddler, always been there for them. I put my career on hold to be a mom (not really a true statement, I still worked full time but I worked during naps, while they were out of the house, and at night in order to get the work done – and here’s the problem, I was so good at getting it all done that my “work” became invisible.) So now, as I try to get traction as a full time writer, my kids can’t make the adjustment to see me in that role. They interrupt me all the time to ask important questions like “mom, do you know where the nail clippers are?” One even put down on the school form that I am a “stay at home mom.” Forget that I’m a journalist, a marketing-content writer, and even that I have aspirations of living off of my writing someday.
I write from home and that makes me stay at home. I tell you, (she said, as she adjusted her tie,) I don’t get no respect.
And then I had an epiphany. Not to go zen on you, but
If one stays at home, one stays at home.
Which is why, my first step in “the big change” is to treat my writing as if it is the job I’ve always wanted it to be. There are lots of places outside of the home where I can go to write for the day (9-5 just like any other job.) There are coffee shops, libraries, and even open squares that offer tables and internet connectivity.
I don’t need much with regard to materials – a connection, a laptop,a phone, but I do need the time. The uninterrupted time and I’m only going to get it if I take it. Sounds selfish? Too bad.
Perhaps if I treat my writing as a job, a real job – my kids and others will also see it as something valuable. Maybe they’ll start seeing my writing as an important asset and not just something I crank out at home between sorting socks and planning dinners.
And who knows? If I treat my writing as a real job that needs to be done just as any other person’s job needs to be done, then perhaps not only will I be able to do my personal writing on top of my business and journalistic writing, but then also, maybe, just maybe my kids will be able to find the damn nail clippers by themselves.
Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.
Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com)
Your life is how you create it.