Writing with Children
As a parent of a 3-year-old, I know it can be tough writing with children running around your entire house. From the constant early morning wake up calls, to scheduling play dates, and even just finding me time while in the bathroom, there isn’t really a chance to just write what you want, whenever you want. Even so, I’m here to tell you it is possible and how I managed to write and be creative while my son is still at this age.
I want to first clarify, not everything I say will be a fit for you because every parent and child is in a different scenario or temperament of kids. Sometimes it’s just those days where you won’t be able to get any writing done but that is ok.
No, I’m not telling you to be selfish either all the time but you will need to put your foot down so you can get your word count out.
Your Partner and You
Before the baby even gets here, you need to make sure your spouse and you agree on how everything will all work. From punishment methods, to general raising. You may think it’s not a big deal, but once the baby is around and you are fighting over what the child needs for punishment or if someone was too hard on the child, writing will never be on that list of needs to get done.
Sometimes it’s also acknowledging your significant other’s passions and make sure you both get to do what you love. If they see you being able to write all the time and they can’t play basketball anymore, that will bring in resentment. The same could be said for the opposite of you feeling resentment if they can go out and do what they want while you are unable to write.
Once the baby arrives, sending each other out on personal dates can be a mutual benefit.
Getting Out of The House
If you are a stay at home mom like myself, sharing the watching of the child can be more difficult. Especially when you get trapped inside of the house all day and need sun and adult interactions. Locally we have a few parks that are off the beaten path and in safe areas (sometimes even fenced in) where I can let my son play while I have a small notebook to jot down notes on my own writing. Other places that may be good is places like Chuck E. Cheese where it is free to go in and let your child run around. They won’t even let people take your child out of the place if they don’t have the right stamp so you are safe here.
One of my favorite locations to get writing done has been the YMCA. They have a child watch for up to 2 hours. I spend usually about 30 minutes working out in a given day and then I can go to writing until I need to pick him up. This is a hit three birds with one stone for this route and the YMCA isn’t very expensive either for what it provides for a family.
Finally, sometimes just finding a few writing friends who also have kids and have a small get together of writing while the kids play can be great. It’s a lot better than having random play dates with kids when you are struggling to not write because the mom just wants to talk about the kids. Some may be understanding that you just want to write, but that’s not going to be a positive experience for them who is now forced to have no interaction at all.
Leaving the kids behind can also be an option. No, I don’t mean just leave the house while they sit there alone. I mean go have a planned retreat. Whether it is a day out at a coffee shop or go out in the woods in a cabin somewhere. Just go out by yourself and focus on yourself, some self-care, and writing. In Ohio there is a place called Ravenwood Castle in Hocking Hills which lets you stay at a bed and breakfast in a castle. It is absolutely beautiful and could help you in finding some creative juices.
Dictation and Short Sessions
If you take your child out for walks a lot, try bringing your phone and a pair of headphones and start speaking out your book or general notes. Your child may get confused at first but it can be really fun to just fill your word count quota. I’ve once successfully during a half hour drive, wrote and entire chapter through dictation. It can be completely possible and once you do it enough, it can be easy. If you don’t trust your software to catch what you said correctly, just recording yourself and then transcribe it later.
Many should be familiar with the Pomodoro method. You set out a certain amount of time (say 10 minutes) and just write than entire time. You take breaks in between which could be just making sure your child is alright or even stretching out. Then you can keep going for multiple more sessions this way. Your writing will get faster and you will notice you can just sit down during nap time and get a few hundred words in before they notice you’re missing.
Overall, your child is yours and you will know what works. That doesn’t mean give up on writing entirely. It doesn’t even mean you are a bad parent for wanting to write. It is your passion and a child shouldn’t be the end all for all dreams. Rather they should be a new form of motivation for yourself. Writing with children can be difficult but I believe in you and everyone else believes as well.
If you do stumble, let me know and I can try and help.