Over the years, I have heard from many parents who have put their dreams on hold because they have kids. Depending on the dream, this may be something that needs to happen, but with writing a book, you can write when you have kids.
I felt it was time to write a few words of inspiration. Often, I am asked how I manage to “do everything” when I am “so busy”. I have heard these comments time and time again. At one point, the comments were so frequent that I began to believe that I shouldn’t have any free time for something that I enjoy. I started to wonder if I was neglecting something. If it is so bizarre for a mother to have time to write a book, there must be something I’m doing wrong.
Can I Write Books When I Have Kids?
I have six school-aged boys and while my house is an active one, I have been able to write, work full-time and care for my family. I am here to tell you, it is possible to write a book when you have children. I am not the first parent to do so and I won’t be the last.
Take a quick look at Twitter and you will find multiple authors who also indicate in their profiles that they are parents. Some are like me and have a large family.
How Do You Do It?
Do you want to know the secret formula to writing when you have kids?
Time + Patience + Dedication = Success
Time to Write?
Did I really just say time? I’m sure you find that laughable. How does a parent find “time” to write? My answer is, “You’re reading this blog post, aren’t you? What would you do with your time if you weren’t reading this right now?”
I was like you. In a life jam-packed with school lunches, dinner, laundry, work, homework, I couldn’t see how I could possibly have time to write. Then I started to assess all the minutes of my day. How many times was I on Facebook? What games did I play on my phone? What were the time wasters in my day and what activities could I replace with writing? Once I look a look at my life… really looked at it, it was surprising how much time I had.
Have Patience With Family When Writing
Your first priority should always be your family. When your kids are older, you don’t want them to look back at all the time their parents ignored them because they were writing “that book”. If they need you, stop and tend to their needs. Make sure they are doing what they need to be doing with homework, cleaning their rooms, or any other activities your kids are up to.
Don’t be angry if they interrupt you when you’re in the middle of writing an emotional scene (easier said than done). Take a breath, detach yourself from the emotional words you’re writing and ask your child how you can help them. It is all about balance.
Your kids will also appreciate boundaries. If their request isn’t an emergency, they can wait five minutes while you wrap something up, however, once five minutes are up it is important that you remember to go back to them and their request. They need to know that they are still your #1 baby and they don’t need to compete with your writing.
Be Dedicated to Writing
Now that you have found the time and you are filled with patience, you need to be dedicated. That means, prioritize. Notice how I put patience with family ahead of this one? That was on purpose because you need your priorities in the correct order. Family first, then your writing. Put your writing above all of your time wasters. Does that mean you have to live without your current time wasters forever? No. Reward yourself after a productive writing session with an activity you enjoy. You have to train yourself and get into a good pattern and rewarding yourself is a way to do that.
I took advantage of quiet mornings and evenings. That meant getting up a little earlier or going to bed a little later. I’m a “morning person”, which allowed me to get up and writing by 5:30 AM most mornings. Sometimes I’d even get up at 5:00 AM. At first, it took effort. After a while, my brain was awake and ready to go with story ideas that I couldn’t wait to get onto the page. I’d fling back those sheets and rush to my laptop to spit them onto the page.
You have to push past the wall that is preventing you from writing. Only you know what that wall is. It is whatever statement you have in your mind that says you can’t do it. You have more time than you think. Your kids can be a source of writing ideas, they are not a reason to not write.
You are modeling for your kids. They will be proud of you for publishing a book. My boys tell people all the time that I have a book out. My twins sit at the table with lined paper and write their own “books”, complete with cover matter and page numbers. This play time of theirs is improving their writing and printing skills.
Every day when you think about writing and you hear that little critic inside your head tell you that you can’t because of reasons X, Y, and Z, tell that voice to be quiet, grab a pen and paper or computer and start writing. If you have time to listen to a critic, you have time to write.