When I began my first novel, I had no idea how all consuming writing could become. When a story hits you out of the blue, or the fix to a scene you’ve been agonizing over drops into your lap, you want to get to your keyboard. Stat.
Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done. Because along with writing, for me there’s also the momming, the day job, driving to and from the day job, housekeeping, mealtimes, family time… All vitally important pieces to my day (especially the momming and family time) but they can keep me from writing if I don’t manage my time wisely.
Over the years, I’ve learned from other authors juggling busy schedules to always have blank paper on me—a notepad, a composition book, a bundle of scrap paper—and to take advantage of delays and the “in-betweens”.
Stuck in the doctor’s office waiting room? Write. Waiting on kids while they’re at practice/birthday parties/playdates? Write. Heck, I used to crawl into the open hatch of my Chevy Trailblazer on nice spring days with my laptop and type away during soccer practices.
Fresh air and a makeshift Mom cave? Yes, please!
Unfortunately, the SUV has been handed down to my oldest son, and I can’t fit into my Malibu’s trunk nearly as comfortably. At least, I don’t think I can…
Anyhoo, yes, I’d try to write every free chance I got. As a mom, this can be tricky. You’ve heard jokes about kids walking past their dads to pound on a bathroom door clear across the house to ask Mom for a drink refill? Yeah, those aren’t jokes. They’re 110% truth. And still we moms try to hide in there, thinking we’ll buy ourselves a few minutes of peace.
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Good times, good times.
Don’t get me wrong—I love my two sons to the moon and back. Wouldn’t trade them for the world. But when I started writing and taking it seriously, it took a long time to get them to buy into the idea of mom needing a little quiet time now and then.
And when I say quiet, I mean quiet quiet. Unlike a lot of writers I know, I need silence to write. No music, no chatter, no “Mom? Mom! Mom?” Sure, I tried sneaking off once or twice to the neighborhood coffee shop—why wouldn’t that be the most hip, divine place to be inspired to write?
What’s that, Tiffany? We need to crush ice for six, triple venti gingerbread frappe-somethings? Sure, coming right up!
*Head to table*
Yeah, that’s why I prefer to write at home. The tricky part was, home is where my boys are, and I love spending time with them. Oftentimes, if I did find a chance to sneak off to the keyboard, it came with a lingering sense of guilt. My youngest would even sometimes tease me, saying that instead of playing, “Mom’s going to go type, type, type.”
Did it hurt? A little. But at the same time, how could I be upset that he wanted to spend time with his mama? Little ones grow up too fast as it is.
So rather than continue with the struggles of noises, interruptions, and hurt feelings, I adjusted my schedule. Late night became my prime writing time. After family time was well spent and the kiddos lovingly tucked into bed, then I could find the quiet to write, guilt free.
Sleep? Pfft, who needs sleep?
Really, it was a win-win scenario. I got to spend plenty of time making memories with my boys during the day, and my stories into the night. And I’m so glad I did.
In my latest release, The Soccer Player and the Single Mom, I wanted to capture that sweet bond between mother and son while my own memories were still fresh. The silliness, the cuddles, the bedtime rituals. That sweaty little boy smell (before they turn into stinky teenagers.) Those feelings of being overwhelmed as a mother, plagued by the fear they’ll get hurt or bullied. Thinking if I held them close, I could protect them from the big scary world.
And the unexpected wisdom that can broadside you as it comes from the mouths of babes.
My babies are getting older now, their demands for playtime starting to balance out with time they spend doing their own things. I still try to do the bulk of my writing at night, but deadlines come up and they understand that sometimes I need a little leeway in our usual schedule. I simply ask them to be patient and not interrupt.
Do they still? Of course, but it’s far less frequent. Usually, they grant me the time requested before popping in to ask, “Hey, Mom. Are you done going type, type, type?”
That’s when I close my laptop with a grin, and go back to doing what I love most: momming.