My daughter turns six months today. Seven, nine months or even a year ago, I would have told you that I thought writing with a little one would be do-able, if not easy. It wasn’t that long ago that my sons were in their babyhood and I remember long periods of boredom, nights of bouncing and swaying, days of cooing and singing. Surely between all of those moments of quiet and sitting, I would be able to get in my word count. Heck, I was planning on having the most productive days in the months of upcoming babyhood.
I forgot about the bone-eating fatigue, the two little boys that still want their mommy, and our new home that doesn’t yet clean itself. I forgot about the surprise illnesses that would steal away nights of sleep and keep us from our daily chores. There were visits from relatives and friends, birthday parties, and one trip to visit family.
This is to say that I was wrong. Very wrong.
I’ve tried to take the advice of writerly friends. I kept notebooks by my side. Brought my iPad along with me on any long drive or doctor’s appointment. Yes, I’ve written. Yes, I’ve actually accomplished a good portion of this rewrite. But I haven’t finished. The synopsis and query letter mocks me. I stumble as my desk bears the weight of school papers, doctor’s files, coupons, bills, art work, and notes.
Wondering what I was doing wrong wasn’t getting me anywhere. Pushing myself to do more hasn’t worked. Instead I’m throwing up my hands again. At the end of the day, I am a professional mother. My job is to mother these three children. I write, too, but spreading myself between the two at all times isn’t working. When I write, I feel guilty that my children need me, that my house isn’t clean, that the laundry is piling up, that I should be doing something, anything, that doesn’t involve sitting at a desk. When I’m folding laundry, I’m worried that I’m never going to finish this wip, never get the partial in, never sell, never publish, never, never, never…
It’s an endless cycle. So…here’s my new plan. Write when I write, clean when I clean, play when I play. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to be running lines or doing plot work when I’m doing dishes. It means I’m throwing off the guilt, getting things done, and focusing.