Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I just want to write

... is that so wrong?

Bow to Jon Lovitz and Harvey Fierstein aside, what I'm actually doing this morning is meeting the desires of 76.22% of Carter Nipper's survey respondents, who believe it's "Very Important" for a blogging writer to be candid and honest. (Want the rest of the very interesting results? Click here.)

Sadly, when writers also have small children at home, the type of schedule outlined in this article Just Doesn't Work. Witness this morning. Normally I try to write between 6-ish and 8-ish before the boy gets up for the day, then again between 11-ish and 2-ish when he naps. (Not that he naps for three hours. I admit to milking his willingness to entertain himself in his crib for the hour to hour-and-a-half-ish that he isn't sleeping.) The morning time is used for fiction. The afternoon time is used for paid work, or fiction if I have a really good groove going from the morning.

The last week blew all that out of the water. It felt like early August, with temps in the high 80's and 99% humidity. The upstairs is stifling. No a/c except downstairs where the computer is. Needless to say, the boy wouldn't sleep. He was waking up early and not napping at all. And his father had after-school duty all week long. I did more child care in one week than, when I was younger, I had ever been scared of.

This morning: The Thunderstorm. At 5:30. 5:30. Who gets a thunderstorm at 5:30? Well, we did. Our son, the Lightest Sleeper on the Planet, jumped right up. I tried to bring him into bed with me. Instead he played the Face Game. "Mommy's ears... Mommy's nose... Mommy's chin..." So I brought him downstairs. Rather than write peacefully, I soon found myself trying to pull together a pretend amusement park game with his Little People set. It was too hot for my normal morning tea, so no caffeine. I got about as far as putting the Little People into the rides when my son decided my mumblings were just no fun at all. He was off pulling all his other toys out of his bin.

At breakfast I did get the Pickiest Eater on the Planet to eat some cantaloupe for the first time ever. He also ate some cereal, which he first accidentally spilled, then dropped on purpose right after I'd finished cleaning the spill. Then I thought I could get away with letting him use pens while I did some rewriting. He wanted to get down instead, so he could squish a tiny spider crawling on the floor. Boys.

And - get this - it was only 7:30.

I would love to see how "Peter D." would revise his writing schedule under these conditions. Meantime, I am faced with my husband's impending 10-week vacation. No more alarm to wake me up at 6 to write for those two precious hours. More triple-H days of no napping (even if we did get an a/c, you see, the boy would be too distracted by the so-called "white noise," which is what happened right before the window fan broke). And I just know my husband, despite his claims to let me focus on my novel, will have plenty of his own projects to take care of over the next 10 weeks.

To be candid and honest, writing with a toddler at home? Is pure insanity. But then, so is writing for a living. I guess there's a compatibility in there somewhere. Meantime, my son did allow me to finish up this entry uninterrupted for the most part. There is hope.


Blogger Meg said...

I *do* sympathize, I really do. When I wrote the first draft of my book, my daughter, who shall remain nameless ;-) took afternoon naps, and that's when I did *all* my writing. The second draft was only written after she was in high school.

As for The Thunderstorm -- it hit here at 4:45. I know because I woke up at 3:15 and was unable to sleep another wink.

If you guys need a new fan, let us know -- I can't promise it will be Super Duper, but at least it should move some air around in his room. Eventually he'll get used to the white noise (and then he probably won't be able to go to sleep without it. Ah, the joys of children).

14/6/05 8:28 AM  
Blogger Mary Louisa said...

It is such a struggle. And for me, the times when I'm most swamped with childcare and other responsibilities are the times when I seem to have my most productive or creative ideas. If I could only get to a piece of paper and a pen, or better yet, pop open the puter, but I can't, so these ideas are forgotten by the time I can sit down and reflect. Maybe these aren't actually my best ideas, but not being able to act on them makes them seem like monumental, but missed, opportunities.
p.s. love your blog, my dear. I've put you on my subscription list (thanks for the info on that).

15/6/05 10:24 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home