I get asked fairly often how I’ve managed to write while juggling kids and life. This is a hard question to answer, because most days I feel anything but prolific. Most days, I feel as if there’s a mountain of words to dig through, and I’m equipped only with a teaspoon.
However, now that I have both kids in school during the day, and have maybe a wee bit of perspective on the writing/juggling life, here are my answers… just in case they’re of use to other teaspoon-using mountain movers.
The Conspiracy Theory
One of my UVic writing teachers, Stephen Hume, told us that society conspires against writers. And so whenever I’m tempted to sign up for one too many volunteer jobs in my “spare” time, or book one too many coffee dates, I remind myself that society is conspiring against me. Of course, it’s usually ME conspiring against me, but calling myself “society” somehow makes it easier to push the “no” button and get back to writing.
The 10,000 Hours
This is the Malcolm Gladwell Outliers thing. Apparently, to get really good at something, you have to practice for 10,000 hours. In practicality, this means I put the kids to bed at 8, I lay like a vegetable on the bed for about 20 minutes, thinking I’ll never be able to move again, and then I say to myself “10,000 hours” and get back to writing.
The Real Job
The alternative to this writing gig would be to get a real job. And how awful would that be? I haven’t had a real job since 2000, years before I even had kids. There’s no way I could work one of those phones with multiple buttons, and no way I could follow the directions of a — gasp! — supervisor. So I’d better get back to writing.
Yes, you guessed it. Back to writing.