Monday, September 28, 2009

When the Kids Grow Up

Tip of the Day: If the characters in your novel all have names that start with different letters, it makes writing shorthand notes on index cards after a drive or a shower a lot easier!

On Friday, Lisa answered the eternal question: how do you find the time to write? We all ask ourselves that question, but it seems to be the hardest on parents with young children. "Write during naptime" doesn't work so well when Baby's naptime is exactly when your preschooler wants your attention. When my kids were that young, I got my writing done at night. I tell parents "it gets easier as they get older." But does it?

It's another adjustment, that's for sure. My oldest turns 11 next month, and the days of 8 o'clock bedtime are long behind me. At 10 at night, she's still up worrying about the next day. I'm more wiped out at night too. Sure, my kids are less physically exhausting now, but they're more mentally challenging, and I kind of needed some of that brain to write with.

Now I'm really living in a house with four people sharing space. Four loud,
hungry, television watching, opinionated people. It's not that my family doesn't respect my writing time. But they talk to me while I read, watch TV, cook, sew ... they don't see how writing could be any different.

I tend to write in five minute spurts now, interrupted constantly by "Honey, you need a new back tire, I'm calling the shop"; "Mommy, can you take these Legos apart for me?"; "I am SO the only kid not allowed to sleep over Cortney's house tonight!"

On the other hand, they get invited to birthday parties and play dates (well, not my husband, but the kids at least). Which brings me to the only tip I have, the absolute only thing I have learned about writing with older kids in the house: when they're not home, for God's sake, don't do the laundry or vacuum! Write!

Pretty soon, my kids will be old enough to do the laundry and vacuum for me. Right, parents of teenagers? I'm right about this, aren't I? You're not laughing, are you?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


Anonymous said...

Well...I suppose it's all in how you raise them...BUT I have a 16 year old son and in between the sporting and social events, he seems to spend a lot of time in his that a good thing? Not sure but at least he's quiet! And yes he knows how to run the vacuum. (By choice I remain Queen of Laundry, however.)

I also have a 6 year old and absolutely agree that writing when she's home and wanting attention is just not going to happen. Ditto for my husband who acts very much like a 6 year old at times, lol.

Now, I also have a 22 year old daughter. Grown up, out of the house. Sounds great, huh? Well she already has given me TWO grandsons!! Who love to come to Grandma's and get every toy out of every cupboard!!

So, like you, I savor my time alone and guard it like the treasure it is.

Best of both worlds, right?


Carmella Van Vleet said...

I have two teenagers and a pre-teen. And *yes* I'm so laughing. (Well, okay, my daughter, the pre-teen, does know how to move the clothes from the washing machine to the dryer. But that's about it.)

Write when you can and order take out when you can afford it. That's my best advice. :-)

Lisa Schroeder said...

Don't do the laundry or vacuum - ha!! So true! Although that's always my first thought - I should clean! :)

Kate Fall said...

Actually sometimes when I get stuck, I find that I think well when moving the laundry over. I can usually come up with the next line of dialogue while I'm folding clothes.

It sure is hard to disturb the kids when they're being quiet in their rooms, but sometimes it does make you wonder, doesn't it?