Monday, September 10, 2012

Taking Time by Kathleen Doyle

Since you can't really take maternity leave from blogging, I asked a few friends to write posts as a help while I adjust to having a new baby. The first volunteer was the lovely Kathleen Doyle. I'm so excited to have her here and I know y'all will love what she has to say :)

Thanks to Jennie for having me here today! Good luck with your brand new baby!!

Taking Time

Writing with young children at home is, at times, an exercise in futility. You’ve heard over and over again the whole “Write Every Day!” and “Get Butt in Chair!” but there isn’t always an opportunity to do either of those things. And then you feel the guilt.

Well, stop! Stop it right now. I’ve always been a big fan of taking time off and away from the computer/pad of paper. Not everyone is cut out for the marathon days of writing, and there is nothing wrong with that. Especially if you have those young children at home.

There are going to be days when you are exhausted. Your baby just went to sleep after several hours of colicky crying that started as soon as you lay down in bed the night before. The best thing for you to do is not to sit down and churn out those words that you’re so guilty about not writing yet. The best thing you could do for you and your baby is to sleep as well. Besides, as tired as you are, those words might not make much sense.

Credit: Hunter Emkay

And this goes for those with older kids as well. I have a three year old and a six year old, both with attitudes of teenagers, and there are days when chasing both of them around the house turns my brain to mush. So, I don’t write on those days. I watch TV with the Hubs, call friends, or just go to bed. Because, while I know my words won’t be perfect (not until edits that is), I do know there are certain times when my words will be less than good. And if I’m going to write, I want to be at my best.

There’s one more thing you should do if you’re in the slumps and the guilt is gnawing at your fingers… For women, I suggest finding your very best fingernail polish and giving yourself a manicure. For men, I suggest the same thing, only without the fingernail polish… Unless you want to, and then it’s perfectly okay=) You’d be surprised how much something so simple will lift your mood.

The point of all this rambling? Don’t be so down on yourself if you can’t get to the writing every day. Take the time you need to be at your best so the words come easier. Do what you have to do to make yourself feel happier and healthier and your writing will reflect that!

Do you feel guilty if you don’t write every day?

Kathleen is a writer of YA Paranormal Romance and Fantasy. She lives with her husband, two kids, and a cat in Southern Indiana where she spends her days watching bad sci-fi movies and reading all the books. Her writing began with poetry when she was 12 years old. As she got older, she became interested in writing stories and books. She majored in Theater in college and loves delving into the psyche of of others, figuring out what makes people tick. When she’s not reading a book, playing with her kids, or pulling her cat out of a tree you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, or her blog.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I can't imagine trying to juggle writing and kids. But taking the pressure off yourself is a good idea.

Cristina said...

I totally agree on the getting sleep. I can't function if I'm not rested. Plus, not enough sleep is a health hazard ;)

What I've found for me, is writing early in the morning before the kids wake up. This way, I'm not ignoring them during the day. I get up super early 4-5 days and then take a day off to sleep in a little. So far it's been working great.

Sarah said...

This is so true. I try to write when I'm up to it too, and my writing is always better when I don't push it.

Katie Dunn said...

@Alex - It's difficult, but doable=)

@Cristina - That's a good way to go about it!

@Sarah - Mine is the same way.

Carolyn V said...

I have five kids, so making time is really important! Great post Kathleen!

Katie Dunn said...

@Carolyn - WOW!! And I thought it was hard enough with just two kids!

David P. King said...

I know I feel horribly guilty. That's what happens when you write for so long, even on days when you know you need a break. Great post, Kathleen! And thanks for hosting her, J.A. :)

Weaver said...

I didn't try writing until my kids had grown up, so I really feel for you. But the stories will keep while you're living life, so I'm glad you stressed that you need to keep your prioriies straight. As much as we love our fictional characters, they're never a replacement for the real people in our lives. And we only have so much time to spend with our kids while they're growing. So grab it while you can. There are worse things to regret in ife than missing some writing time.

Katie Dunn said...

@David - I had times when I felt guilty too. Then I looked at my kids and learned to push it aside. The guilt of not being with my kids and taking care of myself outweighs the guilt of not writing one day.

@Donna - Well said!

Kelley Lynn said...

I don't write everyday. I usually do at least a little something 'writerly' but most definitely don't write everyday.

I figure, as long as I'm living life, I'm gaining inspiration. And that can't do anything but help my writing ;)

Emily R. King said...

Great post! I don't write every day, but I try to either read or write every day. To me, reading is as good as writing. It has to be with four kids.

Cynthia said...

J.A., First, congratulations on having a new baby. I have a newborn too- he was born in May. I can relate to some of the stuff Kathleen has here. When the baby's asleep, I just want to work. But I have to remember to take it easy too.