When I taught my “Writing Moms (and Dads too)” workshops I always preached that our writing styles and tactics change throughout the years. Currently I’m being reminded of this! I started teaching that workshop when I was a contracted freelance writer and working on my own work while caring for a baby. That baby is now five and I have another baby plus a booming dance business. As the times change, so must how we write.
I’ve always thought of my daily routine as a puzzle. I have so many pieces (things to get done) and all I have to do is make them fit all together. Life puzzles may sound easy but when actually assembling those pieces you may want to pull your hair out at times. I think that’s a good analogy but really making everything fit together is even more of a challenge when certain things must be done in order. For example, my writing goals fit in around the dance choreography that’s being taught that day and caring for my children. Luckily, my daughter is in kindergarten all day but they come home for lunch. So while I have a list of morning items to complete I know that my son’s late morning bottle needs to be given to him before my daughter gets off the bus. I also learned that by giving him a long tummy time before a big bottle then he’ll sleep through our lunch and I can still get a good hour and half of writing done before he wakes up. I’ve learned that by giving my dogs a morning walk and playtime that they will then sleep most of the mid-late morning so I can work.
It’s all about finding balance and currently my whole process is evolving as I include my son in my daily routine. I will say though that I’m spoiled – he is such a good baby!!!
While having a new baby certainly warrants an evolution in how I write and more importantly when, a shift in focus or any other change is reason enough to sit back and evaluate what works and what no longer works. I use to get the bulk of my writing done first thing in the morning. I would get up, quickly stretch, get dressed (I would shower later) and dive into writing. By lunch I would have met my writing goal and that was with playtime breaks with my daughter. Then I had all afternoon to revise what I’d written and take care of non-writing items on my daily goal list.
This plan, while it was a good one, no longer works for me. Once my daughter is up at 6am it’s a crazy rush of reviewing homework, breakfast and getting ready for school. So my son has to be less dependent during this time. I know I need to have him fed, changed and ready to be content to lie in a play gym and self entertain. So getting a lot of writing done in the early morning hours isn’t as doable unless I keep pushing my wake up time earlier and earlier. So now the bulk of my writing happens in that quiet moment once my daughter has left and my son is still napping.
Understanding the need to evolve and let go of the old plans is essential. I can personally testify to the importance of this! I kept trying to follow my old routine and felt like a failure everyday when it never went the way I wanted it to. Once I started experimenting with a new writing plan and moving forward to something new then I felt awakened and happy. I knew I could make this work and the tension from my shoulders vanished even if I didn’t get a lot of work done. The important thing was that I knew I would get a lot of work done in the future. I could make this work.
Again, this is what has worked and is working for me. The important thing to know is that every writer is different. Where we are all the same is that we change. Life changes us and therefore we must look to see if what we’re doing is working. If not, don’t be afraid to change and evolve. Trust me, it can feel GREAT!!!