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The Great Balancing Act: Part-time Writer, Full-Time Mom

I miss the good old days before the baby (writing-wise, at least). I’d roll out of bed, eat breakfast, and then write until I was finished for the day. I was pretty good at setting goals and getting work done, until I became pregnant. Then writing was very difficult. I had trouble thinking and forming sentences. My creative brain was gone. Thankfully it came back when the baby was born!

To say it’s been tricky getting work done while watching my 7 month old is a bit of an understatement. I don’t really have any great tips for doing this, all I can say is thank goodness my mother-in-law likes to babysit for me. She babysits regularly, twice a week, and because of that, I actually get to leave the house to write (and leaving the house to write is such a good thing!).

But because my time is much more limited now, I’ve found that I’m becoming a little more efficient with my writing. Whenever I find myself saying, “Hmm, I don’t feel like fixing this scene right now. I’ll do it later,” I stop. I think about the fact that there really is no “later”. If I put things off, it’ll take me months to write a scene that should have taken a few weeks. And then, I just do it. Or at least I do most of the time. :)

Not only am I trying to balance writing time with baby time, I’m also trying to juggle two works-in-progress at once:

1) Cloudreader, the MG fantasy I’m writing with my sister is mostly done…except for the ending. The ending is kind of in sketch form, with notes and badly written sentences. I’m slowly going chapter by chapter, incorporating suggestions from writing group and then working on the next chapter. There isn’t much left though. I should be done with this round of revisions in a few months. Then will be time to revise the manuscript as a whole.

2)Landwalker, my YA post-apocalyptic/sci fi novel is just getting going. I’m working on my characters, figuring out backstory, figuring out where the plot is heading, doing some background research. I have a few chapters written, maybe about 30 pages in total. I’m using Scrivener for this one, so some of my time has been spent playing around with a new organizing scheme and things.

My strategy for working on these two projects has been to basically work on Cloudreader one week (the week that submissions for my writing group are due) and then Landwalker the following week (the week that I have writing group). This also keeps me from working on Cloudreader immediately after group meetings–I’ve found it’s best to let feedback settle for a bit and see which comments actually resonate with me before changing things.

(As you can tell, I also do some blogging as well, but that’s usually my last priority and gets done during baby’s naps.)

I have no idea how well this strategy is going to work in the long term, and I may end up changing things around, but so far, so good.

Writer-Moms (and Dads): How do you balance writing and parenting?

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