Thursday, August 25, 2011
How Do You Find the Time?
Posted by SJ Drum
How do I find the time to write novels and take care of two children under the age of three? I've been asked this question repeatedly.
The secret is: Determination
The truth is, some days I get no writing done at all. Some days the kids are screaming, the washing machine is broken and there's no way in hell I'm going to concentrate on anything other than making it from breakfast to bedtime.
Sometimes, I'll have three days in a row when the planets align, doves sing, and my children both take naps ... and take them at the same time. Those are the only days I get any writing done during daylight. I cannot be creative or concentrate on plot points/scene changes or anything else withing my fictional world unless I have complete silence so I usually find myself typing away after the kids have gone to bed.
I've learned to do the dishes, fold the laundry, clean the bathroom, all that fun stuff us stay at home moms just love to do when my kids are awake. I used to do those things after they went to bed because nothing makes cleaning a toilet more fun than cleaning a toilet while a baby screams in her bouncy seat and a toddler bangs on the gate to his room while screaming "MOMMY" because the thousand toys he has in there and the juice in his cup and the snacks in his bowl aren't enough to satisfy him.
Nothing makes folding the laundry more fun than a toddler who unfolds everything when your back is turned because he's trying to "help". Or when I realize the dishes aren't clean because some sneaky small person opened the dishwasher just enough to stop the cycle but not enough for me to notice while doing another thousand things.
But, like anything else, sacrifice is the path to enlightenment. So, I write at night, sometimes at 2 am, even though I have to wake up with my children at 6:30am. I often wake up in the middle of the night and scribble notes in the dark on a notebook I keep by the bed and then in the morning try to figure out what it is I wrote and what language it is written in. The language is usually too-dark-to-see, too-sleepy-to-care.
A few hours a week, I'll wrangle my husband into watching the kids so I can work. However, this is a fairly useless tactic because, again, I can't work unless I have silence. Let me tell you, my husband watching the children is anything but silent. There is a grand amount of yelling involved and I normally get nothing accomplished when I take this approach.
However, the actual writing of a novel is only part of the work involved in getting published. There are agents to research, publishers to research, query letters to write, synopsis to write, websites to maintain, social media to consider, writer/agent/publisher blogs to follow for the most current information, and lots and lots of reading of other authors' works. The best way to learn how to write a good book is to read good books.
There really is no secret. It's determination, perseverance and the license to allow that even though I may not get any work done for five days in a row, I'm still a writer, and I'll get back to it as soon as my sanity returns to an acceptable level.