Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, March 05, 2010

Finding time to write when you have children

Earlier today, I read a blog post in which an author commented she was able to get a lot of writing done on her novel because she dropped her kids off at church daycare. The author of the post wanted others to chime in on how they find time to write when you have children. I thought I would comment on that here.

Because I have a toddler at home, finding time to write has been challenging. Thankfully, he is still at the age where he naps, so I write during his naps. I also get up VERY early in the morning just so I can have anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to write. I also grab writing time while the baby is eating and while he is watching his favorite TV program (which is Caillou). Anytime he is distracted with playing with his toys, I'll pull out my notebook and start scribbling.

I alternate between my notebook and the computer. Having a notebook is extremely convenient, especially since I can use it to write in while in the car waiting for my oldest child to be released from school.

I used to be able to take my oldest child to a play center where she could play and do crafts for an hour. But now she's being "graduated" from that so she won't have that anymore -- and I won't have that extra time to write. Still, I write while she's in school, when she goes to a friend's house or when she is on outings with her dad.

Also, after the kids are asleep, that's another great (and common) window of time to write.

Though I know daycare would be great for the youngest child, I don't feel right putting him into daycare just so I can have time to write. I would probably be too stressed and miss him too much to focus on the writing!

I am not one of those parents that takes my child to practice and writes the whole time that I'm there. We writers DO need to live in the moment. I prefer to watch my child and cheer her on when she hits the ball or makes a basket. On top of this, she might get injured, and I would not have seen what had happened.

Additionally, I have found it is NOT possible to write when the baby is running about. He gets into EVERYTHING and climbs on everything. So I have had to stop writing while he's roaming about. I need to keep my attention on him until the next window of time appears.

So, to recap, I write:

*When the baby naps.

*Early in the morning.

*When the baby is eating (which takes about an hour -- he is not a fast eater!)

*When the baby is distracted by a favorite TV program that is on (movies work, too)

*After the children are asleep at night.

For older children:

*While they're in school. (The housework can wait. Really. It can.)

*While they are at a friend's house or out on a sleepover.

*When they are out with the other parent or even a relative.

*While they do homework.

Tools that make it all possible: A notebook, laptop, tape recorder, cell phone with email, patience.

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