“How do you manage your writing schedule with your kids around?” This is something I am asked often.
If you are a parent who is at home full time and following a passion, this is something I’m sure you struggle with. Specially, if you are in the beginning stages of exploring your creative facets.
But first some back ground on me. I love writing with a passion only equal to my love for my kids. But like many others, I blamed writers block and life for not being able to write.
I always penned down things sporadically. Poems, stories, a blog I updated every few months when some epiphany came upon me and noting my kids’ beautiful antics in a personal journal.
Then, almost a year and half ago, my husband sensed my desperation to claw myself out of a colossal pity party I was throwing myself thanks to personal stagnation. He nudged me to focus on my writing as a creative outlet instead. “Blogging is serious business now. You should start write more often“, were his words I believe.
So, down the rabbit hole of the blogging world I went.
I figured naively, this would serve the dual purpose of giving me a glimpse of life balancing parenting with a part time job to prepare myself for when I join the work force.
Little did I realize all the work that goes into blogging is no less than having a full time job. And it is can get all encompassing if you let it! It gets overwhelming, exhausting, frustrating if you don’t learn how to find that intricate balance to keep going in spite of failures, and hardships.
I went from being a mom blogger to freelance writer to founding a publication which is bringing together voices from around the world. My journey like many others has not been without it’s roadblocks.
So, what is it I do to manage my writing schedule ?
Have a Strong Why
This is above all the most important. You have to want to keep going because as sure as the sun rises, you will want to give up. Almost as soon as you start. Parenting full time with being creative does not come easy.
When I started my journey, I wanted to stop being the person I was turning into. That was my Why. As time flew by, I realized I enjoy connecting with other moms. Then, That became my why. When I started my own publication, the desire within myself to begin a platform for dialogue about diversity, not just about countries but about mindsets became my Why.
No matter what you do in life. Having a strong why keeps you from giving up!
Scheduling Flexible Working Hours
Being a stay at home mom makes it hard to step back from parenting, and give time to writing. One of the things I realized was I needed to have working hours like all other working people out there.
Of course, with kids you need to be flexible about how strict you can be with these hours, but eventually the kids get a hang of mom writing.
Making Creative Use Time Away From The Kids
Kids in school, nap time, early mornings, late nights, even bath time. They are the time I sacrifice that which I can let go. My sleep and rest time. If I’m a little ahead of the curve, I take in a few minutes of rest or TV but I don’t mind if I have to let that time go to meet a deadline
I write ideas in my note book. I put pen to paper or type out a draft constantly. With time, I have come to realize, much akin to exercising writing comes easier with practice. The more you write, the more you can think of. Writers block is a myth that we perpetuate to excuse our absence from our passions that take a back seat to life.
Having A Dream Board Of Short Term and Long Term Goals
When you are doing something it is very often easy to get overwhelmed by the end result you desire. Which is why it’s important to write down all the things you desire and need to do and whittle away at it all till you have the main necessities to succeed.
Bonus : Ticking the short term goals keep you going for the long term goals.
Dividing Up My Days
If you are a blogger/writer, you know putting out content is only part of creating these days. Marketing what you have written, takes up more of your time.
Social Media. Networking. Collaborating. Pitching. And constantly learning. So much learning!
I have have split up my days into all the things I need to do.
Using A Planner
This is something I am still struggling with but even without being diligent, my planner has been a blessing. In that every Sunday, I write down all the things I need to do all week long.
I prep my meals in my head. Make my shopping list. Go through my big and small goals and work them in by day. And go over all my appointments, social events and kids’ activities. It saves me time spent thinking on what each day needs every morning.
Sacrificing Only What I’m Okay With
Being a mother means a lot to me. So, Tuesdays and Thursdays when my daughter is home, I work early morning and late nights, unless I have a meeting. I take her out, we roam around. This is time for her and home.
I realized, if I had a clear look at what I was not willing to give up, I would never resent what I was doing.
Valuing My Time
Writing is a priority. Kids are a priority. Home and family is. All other things, specially anything that threatens to take me away from the above have to be cut out. Be it social events, unnecessary drama or social media or texting. I would rather be working on my business or having fun with my kids.
The best part is by doing this, not only do I value my own time but that of others’ as well.
Taking Breaks For Rejuvenation
I shut off on weekends. That time away from writing or social media doesn’t mean I’m not working. For a writer is constantly observing and figuring out what to talk about next.
It just means I take the time to rejuvenate myself before I run myself into the ground, which I almost did twice. I am aware enough to recognize when I’m over doing it and step away to reassess my goals, desires and self.
I always come back stronger !
Yes, there are still times I have to choose. Constantly prioritizing between kids and my passion gets nerve racking. One can very easily feel torn and desperate. Sometimes, I have to ask them to wait a while or I have to postpone a meeting. Other times, I have to ignore my health to care for both equally. And you know what? I’ve decided, I have to let the guilt go and forgive myself .
I’m not sorry for loving what I do and being at home, caring for my kids. I do both with equal passion and fervor and that means I have to once in a while neglect one a little for the other. And that’s okay!