As the end of my first NaNoWriMo * approaches, and I realize that I have five days left and 13,000 more words to write, (ack!) I’ve been feeling that struggle again- the struggle of the writing parent.
While some of my circumstances have changed a little since I first published this a year ago, the tension between these two parts of my hasn’t!
Does anyone else feel a twinge of guilt when they read an article detailing someone else’s carefully crafted ‘writing routine?’
I feel that I must confess: I don’t currently have a set daily time to write.
I don’t have any more written on my second novel-in-progress than I had last week.
I don’t even have the notes lined up for the article on the WW2 ‘elephant company’ that I’ve been meaning to write for…how many months has it been now? (Though I DO have another overdue fee on the book…sigh.)
What I do have is the responsibility of raising three very small humans.
And let me tell you, while I wouldn’t trade that job for a dozen published novels, it has been a wild ride of late.
It feels a bit like one of the board games our family likes to play, except the ‘bank’ would have vouchers for free time rather than fake money, and the cards would look something like the following. (Note: I tried to make them look more like cards- then the youngest tried to use me for a jungle-gym and I gave up.)
You Shall Not Pass
The children have taken every toy they own and covered the floor. Give up one hour free time to supervise clean up.
“Cat’s In the Cradle”
As you prepare to write, your child asks you to play with them. You are unable to resist. Give up one hour free time.
Roll the dice.
A 1 or 2 means that your child only vomited on himself. Give up 1 hour of free time. You may still have time to write while he naps.
A 3 or 4 means that it is projectile. Give up 3 hours of free time and get on that laundry.
A 5 or 6 means that it is a bug. Give up 24 hours of free time and hope you don’t catch it.
Your child awakes in the night, frightened. Roll the dice.
The number rolled indicates how many times they wake you up. If it is 3 or more, give up 24 hours of free time, as you will be too tired to be creative.
Give up 2 hours free time.
Roll once for each additional child. A 1 or 2 means that they picked up an additional illness from the waiting room. Give up 2 more hours for each additional doctor’s visit.
Give up two hours free time to participate.
You may give up an additional hour to provide the baked goods that the teacher requested.
Roll the dice
A 1,2 or 3 means the babysitter can make it! Gain 3 hours free time.
A 4,5 or 6 means she cancels. Too bad.
Your aroma is showing that you haven’t had much time for personal grooming. You may choose to give up 1 hour free time to shower, OR gain one extra hour free time and just ignore it.
AND, the grand finale…
Roll the dice.
A 1 or 2 means that you can’t get a sitter. Try to watch a movie after the kids are in bed. Fall asleep on the couch. No gain or loss of ‘free time.’
A 3 or 4 means you manage a date night. You are so relaxed and happy from time with your spouse that you are extra productive. Gain one hour ‘free time.’
A 5 or 6 means that you manage a night away. A month later, SURPRISE! Your family is growing. Give up all free time for the next 2 years.
What cards would you add?
As for me, I’m going to go give my kids a hug and I’m going to enjoy the blessings of these crazy years while they last…
…and maybe, just maybe they’ll sleep tonight, and I can WRITE!
Many thanks for visiting!
*NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month.” The challenge: Write 50,000 words in the month of November, thus completing a novel. It’s only 1,667 words per day. How hard could it be?!