Having a child can seem like the end of any spare time. Many people become discouraged, feeling like being a parent means they can’t write anymore. Yes, being a parent is a full-time job in and of itself, but it is possible to be a good parent and keep writing. Best-selling authors, and parents of young children, like Stephanie Meyer (the Twilight series) and J.K. Rowling (the Harry Potter series) are proof that you can both write and have kids.
So how can you keep writing? Here are a few tips.
1. Learn the value of nap time. Most children will take a nap every day until they’re about three years old. That’s a lot of time during the day when your child is asleep. It can be tempting to try to quickly clean the house or to have a rest yourself during this time. If you use even part of their nap time every day, you’ll be amazed how much writing you can actually get done.
2. Experiment with different genres. It can be difficult to get into the mindset of a longer project when you only have a few minutes at a time to yourself. Instead of writing your novel, focus on shorter works for awhile. You can write articles, short stories, or poems in shorter bursts, plus you get the feeling of accomplishment when you finish it.
3. Learn how to type one-handed or with someone on your lap. As I write this article, I have my three-month-old on my lap. No, I can’t type as quickly with one hand. In fact, it drives me crazy. But I can type this way, and I get a lot more written than if I were to give up every time I had someone on my lap or wanting my attention. This is particularly useful with babies.
4. Establish a routine. Have a set time every day when you write. This can be after the kids are in bed, when they first wake up, during pre-school. It doesn’t matter when it is as long as both you and your children know that that is your working time.
5. Find an incentive to keep writing. Start posting on a website, join a writing group, or do whatever it needs so that you feel like you need to keep writing. You’re more likely to make writing a priority if some one else will notice that you haven’t done it.
6. Keep a pen and small notebook with you at all times. You may have a few spare minutes while you’re waiting in the car during the school run or after a kid’s piano lesson. Take advantage of whatever time you have. If you have a good idea, jot it down quickly so that you can come back to it later.
7. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
It can be hard to balance writing with a family, but it is rewarding. You can be a good parent and still find time to yourself to write. If you keep writing, you will feel more productive and happier in yourself.