So, how do I write books and blogs and not neglect my children? Well, sometimes…and you won’t like hearing this…I get up at crazy and illegal hours such as 2:30 and 3:00 am to write. It sounds awful, but I love writing and sharing my advice so I am actually getting up at those hours willingly because I’m filled with ideas and I can’t wait a few hours for that lazy sun to rise so I can start my clickety-clacking on the old laptop.
This is not all the time mind you. I would burn out quickly with these hours. I know that there are many, many brilliant and talented writers out there trying to build a career with their stories and blogs, who are also raising families. Some of you are working outside the home and raising families and I have no idea how you do all that with writing. My suggestion would be to quit that other job, stay home with the family and focus on writing if you really feel driven to it. If you feel this is your calling, your talent, what you are supposed to do and you love it more than anything you’ve ever done (it doesn’t really have to be that dramatic, you could just simply love it and be good at it…such as in my case) then you should create a life that supports your writing.
Writing is one of the best things you could get into. Think about it; you can do it anywhere, take it with you anywhere, create a whole career at home for free and from scratch. All you need is a laptop! It’s not like other cottage industries that you will need supplies, an accountant, assistants, packaging, a separate room or building. No, all you need is a kitchen table, laptop, and some time.
Many writers have a room that they go to and have quiet time to work on their novels. They also have housewives to take care of the home and children. I would love to have a house frau of my own! But what do you do when you don’t have help and you are on a mission to write that great novel that will one day buy you that assistant? You find balance and streamline your home, your schedules, your writing time…your whole life becomes a dance to find that perfect balance within the home.
I’ve been writing many blogs on this because it’s what I’m dealing with right now and there seems to be a lot of interest. How to manage my home, take care of my family, not neglect the boys, and support my husband as he grows his business…AND do my writing, it is a wonder, but much easier than one may think. I write this blog daily along with writing books. I also have slowly started homeschooling the 4 1/2-year-old. That’s so easy at this point though. Homeschooling kids the first so many years is mostly about hours of play, sunshine and fresh aiself-reflectionion, and exploration of the world. I’m doing it Finland style since they have one of the most successful schooling models in the world.
In the beginning of this writing/author journey I was a little wacko with my schedule. I would do everything to the extreme and no balance. I have learned to treat this as a job. Many homemakers work from home at jobs employed from companies. I now schedule in my time daily as I would a part time job. The kids have gotten used to it and don’t seem to mind. It is the normal now.
The best way to guide you is to show you what my daily life looks like:
I rise early, brew my coffee and check my email, bank accounts, books (both paperback and ebooks), my blog. I then write a blog (sometimes I write several in advance) or work on a book. Bali has already gone to work at 4:00 am. The boys rise and I get them dressed, change Sams diaper and set them up with fruit,toast, maybe eggs, and water or goats milk. I make the bed and straighten up a bit. They play in the living room with a basket of legos that they can play with for hours. They love to build so I have baskets of blocks in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They have wooden train sets with tons of wooden tracks, small legos, and cars. I have downsized their toys to just these things because they just ignored everything else (and it created so much clutter and clean up) and these are the toys that keep them busy with hours of creativity.
They watch PBS in the morning. I love these shows as they are very, very educational, positive, and well made. They play and watch TV and run about. Then we have the yard with a huge sandbox, huge climber, and construction toys, a mini garden patch, strawberry patch, and area where they have their own table and chairs under the gazebo. They can play outside and eat lunch, pick strawberries, water the vegetables and weed. We do all sorts of fun out there. I will go out there with a book and read and play, garden, dig in the sandbox. I find that my sons want me to be ever near them, but they get irritated if I get too involved in their play. They just want to chat with me and have me watch them build their many creations. I use this time to garden, mow the yard, weed, water, sweep the patios…and read all the many books I have stacked up. My books are everything from self-improvement, spiritual, reading other authors, and self-realization work.
Then around noon I would start cooking a large roast or soup, bean pot, crock pot roast, casserole…whatever it may be. I may bake a couple loaves of bread that I started rising and kneading that morning or make Prada (Indian tortillas with butter). This will be dinner and lunch tomorrow. I will make a plate of all kinds of healthy fare such as veggies, dips, fruits, nut butters, crackers, olives, pickles, and ice water and take it to the boys outside. They love eating out there at their table. I will come back inside and write some more, start some laundry if it’s that day. I may shift to putting some Abraham with Esther Hicks (Law of Attraction) on the laptop and I’ll listen to those teachings as I sweep, do dishes, and continue to cook or organize a cupboard.
Some days I will take the boys to a big park that has lot’s of play structures and a huge duck pond and woods. We play for a couple hours then eat pb and j sandwiches, do the grocery shopping or go to the library to exchange our stacks of books. Some days I pack a lunch and we go to the Effie Yeaw forest preserve and wander all the trails. We do not go out every day. We have a delightful home with plenty of fun things to do inside and outside. I try to get us out and about around 3 times a week. I used to try daily, but it gets tiring to fit everything into one day…everyday. I used to belong to all kinds of homeschool groups and whittled it down to one. I would do something with the homeschool co-op weekly and now I do one or two things a month. Keeping a very, very light and flexible schedule is key to sanity and peace.
I have also set up a basket on the table with coloring books, scratch paper, washable ink pens, crayons, pencils, and homemade playdough. This also provides a lot of fun for long periods of time. Sometimes I set them at the table with snacks and a fresh batch of playdough, cookie cutters and forks to play in the dough and, while they play and chitty chat about various characters and stories, I sit and write. Yes, I have learned to write with noise, dogs barking, music, Disney movies in the back ground, and a never ending stream of babble from the boys and the spouse. We live in a tiny cottage and if I want my own space I would have to rebuild the little garage/laundry room.
I also am still nursing and when ever I sit to nurse I grab a book and study. I also take an hour on the treadmill and I read. I have learned to multi task and do several things at once. I can literaly study, clean, cook, do laundry, brew coffee, and homeschool all at once. How? Arjan can do ABCMouse, I watch Joyce or Joel for my half hour spiritual study time while cleaning a room, the laundry and coffee requires button pushing, and I love that crock pot. Modern life is easy, most of us just don’t take advantage of that ease. It’s not like we have to go down to the river to scrub our sheets anymore.
In the evening I feed us all dinner, do dishes, spend time with Bali, bath time for the boys (I’ll clean the bathroom while they play in the tub), pack Bali’s lunch for the next day, set up the coffee pot, and wrap it up for the day with some tidying and mild cleaning up. I love to wake up to a clean and orderly house. It give s me a fresh start and I can focus on my writing. I may do just a little more reading or writing before bed…not often. We go to bed by 8:30, read fairytales or other books,and are all alseep by 9:ish.
Each day has a rhythm and rituals through out the day, however, each day may have a different rhythm. There is one day a week I scrub the house. Days I’m really into decluttering and organizing cupboards. Days we play out in the forest and do the grocery shopping with maybe lunch out somewhere. Days we go visit and stay with a family member or friends out of town (these are my mini vacations from my writing work). I have never been one to just hang out. I enjoy being busy and I love everything I do. I love all my jobs, the mothering and fussing over my youngsters, the writing, the homemaking. I enjoy cooking and baking and I even enjoy cleaning my home and setting it right. I enjoy rearranging it every so often and giving it a fresh look. I have made it all easy and the more I work on my mind, getting it strong and positive, filling it with good, wholesome, and empowering things…the more joy I find each day.
I also allow for days when we all just lay about and days when there is too much TV, days were I spend all day publishing a book. Some days are not balanced and there is too much of this or that. Sometimes the day is perfect. Every once in a while I must look at my life, my schedule and my attitude and ask if it’s working. If I’m getting bitchy and tired I start cutting things out. Recently I cut down my work outs from an hour to 45 minuts. Not too short and not too long. It’s only 15 minutes but it fits better with the day. I also started having far more quiet time in the house. Less music and noise. I am trying to practice meditation as I clean. I had learned of walking meditations when I was much younger from Ram Dass, I just do the housecleaning meditations now.
My day sounds busy, however, I interweave lots of moments for myself. I do lots of reading that is both pleasurable and goes toward self-improvement and self-education, I listen to wonderful teachings on the laptop as I work, I take the time to watch a little TV each day. The trick is to do a chore as you do your fun. I nurse and read. I watch a Hallmark movie on TV and fold laundry. My day goes all day and sometimes through the night if someone is sick or restless. I have to make sure and have delicious moments to look forward too.
But for me, it is fun and a good, good life. I have only sold 5 books this month and that is up from last month, my blog grows, my ebooks are being read more each day. It’s all slow and I don’t mind because I’m happy now and savoring the moments. My boys are small and still have chubby fingers and bring me flowers for my hair and I want to be in this moment with them so I don’t look back and wish I hadn’t been so busy writing 3 blogs and huge novels and being stressed and full of anxst about “making it”as an author.
The fun is in the journey. Think about it; a movie is all about the heros journey. Once he/she has victory, attains that goal…the movie is over and the credits role.
Many Blessings to you all!