I’m writing a series of blog posts about schedules, how to set one, and how the heck you make one work with kids (especially the super young variety). Actually, it didn’t take me long to realize this topic wasn’t going to fit in one post – mostly as I started trying out one schedule, then another, and another… not to mention when my kids decided to change the game out from under me.
So. Here’s to a series of posts about figuring out schedules, writing, and finding some measure of success when you’ve got zero control over the schedule (and demands) of your kids.
So, I want to write again. Like, seriously. The urge is there. It’s got me hard and now all I need is figure out… how.
That one word is the big million-dollar question for all us parent-writers out there, especially those with the super-tiny humans that consider schedules downright laughable. In fact, my little Eric would flat-out baby-giggle if I tried to put him on a sleep schedule. And a feeding schedule? Laugh in my face.
Actually, he’d cry and wouldn’t stop until his needs were filled, but you get the point. He’s his own person and with very real, very exact demands. It’s my job to follow them and damn whatever artificial schedule I impose on him.
Kids like their routine.
Not mine. Mine is completely bendable and flexible to their whim, at least for the next several years.
And truthfully, that’s the way it should be.
I mean, I signed on for this role when I decided to be a mom. I’m cool with that (on most days, if I’m being honest here).
But, I still have my own needs and dreams, and if I feel the writing urge again, it’s my subconscious telling me that we can make this happen – so long as I play by the rules and times and allowances my kids set. (All of this is kind of funny since I’m actually writing this post with one hand, rocking a baby with the other, and somehow not getting hit by falling shoes as Kate plays in the climbing structure above us.)
I’m fighting off the last bits of an annoying cold and I haven’t slept in what feels like days. Kate’s also finishing off this cold, since I only get sick when one of the kids are sick – I think that’s the golden rule of moms everywhere.
And yet, there’s that writing urge, telling me it’s time to keep moving forward.
To keep telling stories.
In fact, I’ve got this short story I started last week, a whole 500 words (woohoo!) and I’m pretty psyched about it.
But, now here’s the tricky part, how am I going to get into the swing of things again?
Since I’m me, I thought a checklist was in order. Checklists help me see all the simple details right and clear, and these days, right and clear is the only way my brain can process things (more sleeep please).
So, first step to getting back to writing: the desire.
Clearly, I want to write again. No problems there. Check that one off the list.
Second step: Sleep/energy.
Okay, well, that one’s a bit tougher, but hey, if I’ve got the urge so I’m gonna say I’ve got the energy. The subconscious, creative voice is pretty awesome and telling me when I’ve got the extra juice to tell stories, so I’ll follow my gut on this one. (Note: I completely accept this step will vary by day, by hour, by minute even… but I’ve got to start somewhere, right??)
Third step: A schedule.
Okay. This is where I keep getting hung up, so I’ll take this step-by-step.
First, I needed to know a bit about myself as a writer (and you can fill in this part about yourself). I know I’m a morning person. I write better in the mornings because I have energy, and if I have energy, I can be creative.
No energy = no creative juice.
I also know I do better when I’ve got a schedule. Whether this schedule goes by time (8:30 a.m. my butt is in the chair) or event (after a browse of the internet and 2 cups of coffee). So long as I’ve got a schedule I have an easier time of being accountable, being consistent, and getting back into the swing of the writing.
And yet, here’s the problem….
Two. Young. Kids.
With their own schedule. Each.
Chances are, they’re on different schedules (because they simply cannot both sleep well the same night, right? That’s another rule of parenting, I’ve discovered). And their schedules? Yeah. Every day it’s different.
I accept that. I’m not going to fight their nature as little kids, and hopefully that’s gonna help my mood and attitude (read: not be angry when things need a changing up as they inevitably will).
So the first thing I need as a parent-writer is flexibility.
And forgiveness, because I know darn well there’s going to be days when I can’t write.
As I said, the last thing I want is to get mad at my kids for interrupting me (can you tell that’s happened before?). Writing might be part of me, but so is being a parent – in a much deeper, core-reaching way that writing can never touch.
Still, I want to respect both, while still being true to both.
So here’s to step one and figuring out this elusive beast called a ‘schedule’….