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Writing with the family around

From Mom Bloggers Club, a post by Rosemary O’Brien on writing from the domestic trenches: “Writing with the Family Around“:

I don’t know why, but I have a difficult time writing even a blog post when my family is around. Maybe it’s because when they come home from school and work, I may as well hang up my keyboard and give up until they go to sleep. If it’s not breaking up a dispute about a ball that magically flew threw the air and knocked something over in a house where balls are not allowed to be thrown, then it’s to stop and feed someone because they are “staaaaaaaarrrrrrrving!” even if they had a snack and it’s almost time for dinner (that I have to stop and make).

That is why I look forward to bedtime. It is when I creep back to my computer, which I left on, and create with abandon. I find I am more productive at night for some reason. Mornings rarely only happen for me because my kids need to get to school. It seems to be a law in this country. Before I had them, I woke up at 9 and began writing at 9:30 with my jammies on and a strong cup of coffee in my hand. At that point, I skimmed and answered simple emails, deleted files and was not required to speak to anyone about anything unless I wanted to. It was not until early afternoon when my writing would come alive and I would write with abandon. Some of my best work was written during this time. In fact, this is when my first novel was produced and found a publisher.

Read Rosemary’s full post here, and check out Mom Bloggers Club while you’re at it. I joined about a year and a half ago — and the newsletter often has an interesting tidbit or two.

Many of this blog’s readers rely on evening time for creativity (definitely works for Kristine) but by the end of the day, others among us feel less like Edith Wharton and more like dog meat. Of course, our schedules and rhythms adapt with the ever-changing needs of our children as the grow — and start sleeping, or stop sleeping.

In my own experience, I’ve found that my little ones are now reliably asleep by 8:30 every night — but my older ones are often just waking up at that time, in terms of being interested in interaction. On Saturday night, I stayed up until 4:00 a.m. talking with my oldest son, who will be leaving for college in a matter of weeks. I hadn’t intended to stay up that late, of course, but the conversation — important conversation — just happened. Some things can’t be rescheduled. Did I note the irony that I finally had the baby tucked up in his crib, weaned and sleeping through the night — but the firstborn had me up all until all hours? I sure did, but still managed to feel like a kid in a candy store. Now, if only I could steal some of those wee hours for my writing….

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. ‘[mornings alone not required to speak to anyone about anything unless I wanted to. It was not until early afternoon when my writing would come alive and I would write with abandon. Some of my best work was written during this time.’

    that’s what works best for me, too…i’m just done by 730pm, time to veg.

    miranda, though my kids aren’t quite as big an age spread as yours, nor keep the same schedules, i can relate…no 4ams here with the eldest yet, no sleep thru night for the youngest…but it does seem when toddler naps, boys come out of woodwork directly to me. so i am enjoying the quiet while they visit their dad for another week, then i’ll be back to the full demands. i did get two poems i was pleased with out of the quiet, and some longer blogs on writing…apparently the poems were pleasing here, too. thanks for an excellent place for validation!

    July 22, 2009
  2. there should be another bracket after alone…

    July 22, 2009
  3. Kristine #

    Thanks for alerting us to this post and blog.

    Writing at night is definitely the best time for me. The house is quiet, the little one and DH are asleep, and I can enter my fictional world without any distractions.

    Not sure how long I’ll be able to keep at this schedule as my daughter gets older and more demanding, but for now, I’m enjoying it.

    July 22, 2009
  4. I can totally relate to the difficulty of writing while the family is present. It’s next to impossible to follow a coherent thought through without interruption.

    I wish I was more creative at night after the kids go to bed, but I find that my most creative time (when the ideas really flow) is in the morning. Though the mornings are often hectic with two young children, I keep a dream journal by my bed so that I can jot down ideas before they flit away. Whenever possible, I try to carve out a morning or two each week to write when my husband is home to watch the kids or when I have a sitter. Of course, in order to do that, I need to get out of the house in order to avoid distractions. I have a favorite library where I like to write. I was there just this morning, in fact, working on a short story.

    July 23, 2009
  5. oh dear god…. please don’t threaten me with the thought that the late nights start up all over again! at 3 and 2 i’ve just managed to get mine to settle at 7.30 and sleep through…. most of the time. that said, there sounds something really lovely about sitting up late chatting to your nearly adult child….. what a wonderful time that will be. until then, i will try try try and get motivated to write at 7.32… although morning is best, there is no way i can write with my munchkins tearing the house apart. so… look at the time! i must run upstairs for a quick kiss and get to my desk…. although that sofa and a glass of wine is looking very tempting….

    July 24, 2009

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