First there are the mothers that work outside the home and are raising families. They want to spend as much time with their kids as they can when they are home. They feel guilty when they take some time for themselves to sit and visit with their muse.
Then there are the mothers that work inside the home while raising families. They have kids pulling them in a variety of directions, extra laundry it seems, three meals to cook and clean up after, chores to complete. They too feel guilty if they stop to take time to write because their kids are right there, wanting their attention. Even the ones whose kids are in school find that they try get the household chores done during those times.
I have been in both camps.
Right now I work at home, I have a 5 year old son in kindergarten and a six week old daughter. Before having my daughter, I worked outside of the home.
Here are the tricks:
- Forget the muse. She is a slack-ass and never shows up for work. If you were her boss, which you are, you'd fire her butt and send her packin'. This doesn't mean that when she does show up you aren't going to ride her like you stole her... because she serves her purpose ... when she shows up. Writing mothers like us? We don't have time to wait on the muse. We write when our fingers are on the keyboard
- It's crap, admit it. When we do sit down and write, some of it is crap. We know it. We don't read back over it and tell ourselves what crappy writers we are, we know that we can always go back and revise. But if there's nothing there to work with, there's nothing to craft into a beautiful piece of writing. Now on the days Ms. Muse shows her face, things don't seem so crappy. Still, go back and revise later, she has her off days too.
- Set a timer. When you really think you don't have time, you make it. When the kids have fallen asleep, set a timer for 15 minutes. Put fingers on keyboard and write. When you are on your lunch break, set a timer and write. Then reward yourself with a nice Chai Latte.
- Give yourself a break. You are busy. Do not try to do it all. I know that' s silly advice from the woman who has hauled her six week old daughter on four flights already to make writing committments... and has two more flights this week alone... but really, don't beat yourself up for not doing it all. There's plenty more I think I could do, but I am not doing it because I know I am human. Pay attention to your stress signs and don't take on any more projects just because you don't have something to do for six minutes one tuesday morning and figure you can write a query for an article you have no time to write. Instead, write it down and pin it on your wall. Decide that when you are done a current project that you will give your attention to this one, waiting in the wings.