One of my favorite quotes about writing is one I’ve posted before, but it bears repeating, if only for myself, though I bet for many other of my readers, by Lee Smith, for an interview she did at Indiebound:
My advice for young women writers is just do it. Don’t wait for some ideal point in your life when you will finally have “time to write.” No sane person ever has time to write. Don’t clean the bathroom, don’t paint the hall. Write. Claim your time. And remember that a writer is a person who is writing, not a person who is publishing. If you are serious about it, you will realize early on that (particularly if you expect to have children) you can’t take on a high-power career in addition to writing. You probably can’t be a surgeon, and have children, and “write on the side.” (On the other hand, you could marry a surgeon, thereby solving the whole problem.)
I have learned to live with levels of dirt, mess and laundry that I previously would not have tolerated. Writing is on my Maslow’s list of basic needs somewhere after sleeping, eating and reading. I do use the TV as a babysitter. As I write this, my boys are playing Gran Turismo on the Playstation downstairs. But isn’t that fair? I’m having screen time, so are they. Yeah, I’d like to restrict them to an hour a day. Most days I do. But how can I do that when I don’t restrict myself to that, and wouldn’t want to, or even think I should?
I have been writing for years. I’ve been published in other places beside this blog. This year, for the first time, I began to be paid for some writing. I am a writer. And writing with kids is hard. They’re smart. They recognize they’re not getting my attention, and clamor more for it till they get it, for better or worse. A friend of mine had her 3yo throw her laptop on the ground. So I find ways to squeeze it in. While they’re watching movies. Playing outside. My husband and I trade off chunks of time with them so the other of us can work. I trade playdates with other moms on a regular, scheduled basis so I get chunks of time to work; I work better in chunks than in slivers.
I write. I keep writing. Writing begets more writing. It’s a habit, just like exercise. It IS exercise. I’ve put fiction on hold till my 4yo Guppy is in school full time. That may be Fall 2011, or if he only gets into half-day kindergarten, it may not be till September 2012. And for all those platitude-spouting people who say the time goes so fast? I don’t find that’s the case; September 2011, and definitely 2012, feel a long way off. The only time I find going fast is the quiet time apart from kids when I take time to read and write. I love my kids and spending time with them. I am fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom by choice. But I also love spending time by myself. And writing.