Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Writing While Parenting and Other Things I have no Idea how to do.

Ever notice how when your situation is kind of bleak that normal advice sort of pisses you off?

Writing advice isn't an exception, usually. 

Let's start with things like "have your husband take your children while you-"

No. Stop. Shut-up. 

Maybe the writer in question doesn't have a partner. Or maybe they are like our household where the partner has a stressful job helping people, or a dangerous one, where time off really has to be aligned with coming down off of that. You don't get to saddle them with everything while you take that hour to write. The people they have to save and the rest that they have to have to do that comes first. The end. I'm lucky to have a partner that understands and tries to help out, but I realize that he can only carry a portion of this load. Single-parent writers have to be freaking superheroes. 

How about "Could you have a babysitter-" No. Let me stop you there, too. 

Babysitters cost money. If you have children too young for school and not a lot of expendable cash, this won't work. At. All. Sometimes friends can help, but more often we have to use that right now for things like MD appointments (wave hi to my friend terminal illness, that bastard) and I wouldn't want to risk burdening the people I care about in order to accomplish something when I need them for so much already. Some people have family that doesn't suck or isn't abusive, and I have some of that, too-not much, but some. They live hundreds of miles away, though. 

Oh, my favorite might be "Just wake up 2435898237656 hours before your family and-"

What the ever loving hell? Do you know people who do this? And are you know, still alive? I do it when I can. Which is not regularly. Some of that is being sick and needing sleep and some of that is just daily responsibilities with three kids and needing sleep. 

One of my junior college writing professors (who looked a great deal like Hemingway) once blatantly said he had no idea how women who have to care for small children could find time to write. They have to do it, but how to cram it into an already bursting schedule filled with little to no downtime seems and sometimes is impossible. 

So, what the hell do writing moms in the crummy situations boat do?

Aside from trying not to drown...

You know what? I don't think I really know either. 

The best advice I ever saw on that was to write in short bursts (and everything you do will be like that if you have 1+ kid) and learn to write in bad conditions (every condition you have time to write in will probably be bad).  

And you need a mobile tech device to type on. Word processor, laptop, whatever. It just needs to save you from handwriting (unless you are a short story writer, but even then...) and transcribing it back. I know, I know, I write better handwritten, too. But it's a time waster. 

Other than that? 

Power through it, I guess. 

We might be facing more of a struggle to get those two-hundred-plus pages down, but it's not going to make us fall quiet. 

Even if I can only write for ten minutes every day, it's something. You do what you can, without waiting for everything to be perfect, or even just okay. 

You may not have the luxury of scheduling time to write. 

Do it anyway. 

**(I typed this at 5 in the morning while my youngest, who hasn't had enough sleep, cried in my lap about her blanket being too big)**

Check out the photographers on Unplash that had these awesome images for the artwork...

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