So how does a busy Mom with three kids under 6 (or more!) find the time to nurture a budding writing career? Easy. You make it. If you're serious about your craft (and passionate) with a gift for the written language, then it's something you do instinctively. You may only get 20 minutes here, an hour there, but add all those spurts up, and it pays off. You make the time you need to work on your pieces. It doesn't hurt at all if you have a husband who supports you, and tells you to go sneak off with the laptop for a couple of hours while he manages the circus. Yeah, guys like that rock and if you've got one, consider yourself lucky. I know I do! Here's a few tips to help out those of you stuck in kid chaos:
1.) Get organized and designate. Put all your writing research and tools in one place and go through them. No it's not fun, but it's essential. Organize the files on your computer and bookmarks too. A cluttered medium is of no help to you! Find a spot to call your own as well. You need a place to feel comfy. It'll help get those creative juices flowing. If you don't like working at a desk, use your lap. Laptops are an invaluable tool and I suggest you invest in one!
2.) Fit writing in during natural lulls. Your kids have to sleep at some point. Write when they nap, or before they wake up if you're an early bird. God knows I'm not, so that's a window I never use. They also have to eat, which requires them to put food in their mouths preventing sound from escaping, and a welcome break to your ears. Take advantage of that chowing down and grab your notepad or laptop. If you aren't zonked at the end of the night, this is a perfect time to zone out and write away. Use it! Just don't neglect your dear husband if he so beckons you... ;) (It'll help decrease stress and send you on a natural high!)
3.) Have a weekly night off. Hubby made your kids with you. Let him take over night-time routines once a week (or more!) after he gets home from work. Let him get changed and de-stress, then take off. Go to a park or a Starbuck's or somewhere with Wi Fi if you need it. Go to a single girlfriend's house. Sit in your car or lock yourself in your bedroom! Go wherever you feel comfortable and inspired.
4.) Make it all go away. Someday's it can be hard to find a break. So make one. If you're anything like me, it's almost impossible to write with Dora the Explorer, a hungry toddler obsessed with popcorn and, "Mommy, he pulled my hair!" all blaring at you at once! Set those kids straight, turn off the TV and give them something fun and creative to do. Or send them out in the backyard. Nature has a way with kids and you'll soon find they'll explore their surroundings rather than ways to assault each other. Load them all up in the car and dash off to the park, laptop in tow. They can play, you can write and the sounds of their screams drift off in the wide open spaces!
5.) Say Ommmmmm. If you've got a Mac, and you need more extreme zoning out assistance, then try Omm Writer. It's a cool and simple word processor with soothing backgrounds and meditative music. Stick your ear buds in and you're off in another world, spinning your web. It's an awesome tool if you can't seem to find that solitude you seek.
6.) Put them in preschool. If you've begun to make some returns off of your articles, books or other pieces, consider putting the youngest ones in preschool. Maybe your oldest kid(s) are in school during the day, giving you more time by streamlining your kid load. If you can afford it, put the little one in a half day program a few days a week. Local churches are good sources for this and typically provide high quality care. A good sign of an actual preschool and not just a daycare: they only provide half-day care. This tells you they're in it for the education of children not to babysit and take all your cash. If you need full-time care and your writing is on that kind of level, then live it girl! There's no shame in growing your career, just remember why you stayed home with them in the first place. In the words of my husband's wise old Grandpa (God rest his soul), "There's nothing like a mother!"
Once you start making it a priority, I'm sure you'll settle into a routine and come to recognize a spurt when you see it. Don't give up, keep practicing and write, write, write! That book won't write itself, so stop thinking about it and do it! Now stop reading this and go write. I am!