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I WANT to write, but I have small children... is it possible?

(29 Posts)
FannyMcNee Mon 13-Aug-12 21:06:02

Seriously, I desperately want to write. I managed it with DD1 as I did it whilst she slept during the day and often got a good 2 hours out of it. I fact I wrote more after DD1 than I'd written in the last ten years...

However, now we have DD2 and chances of them day-sleeping simultaneously are almost nil. (They are 2.3, and 9 months btw.)

My original plan was to write in the evenings, but by the time they're asleep and we've had dinner, I'm just SO tired.

Does anyone have any words of encouragement or inspirational examples? I don't want to become one of those people who blames my children for not following my dreams. In fact, that's NOT going to happen because there HAS to be a way!!!

<manic determination emoticon>

juggling2boys Wed 23-Jan-13 21:12:54

I am writing a novel with 2 boys under 5, the one thing that helped me was finding the easiest tool to use, I know it sounds bonkers but the laptop, pens and paper were impractical as the boys like buttons and scribbling so kept demanding to join in! So my hubby bought me a nexus tablet. I can grab it, open up the chapter I am working on and use the swipe typing which is so easy to use ( drag finger across keyboard without lifting off) so fast, so easy and I am on chapter 7 in 4 weeks after waiting 5 years to get going smile

phdlife Wed 29-Aug-12 22:49:41

I have been writing but really only tiny squeezy bits over the past couple of years (my dcs are now 3 and 5 and I still don't get an unbroken night's sleep). There was no way we could afford any childcare, I've only occasionally had a couple of hours off thanks to the in-laws and half the time that was the only way I could get to medical appts. In addition to his normal 40hr week my dh is also a Reservist so works one evening/week, one weekend/month, at least 2 weeks away/year. In those periods I really don't get anything done, but when he's home my "sunday morning time off for good behaviour" is set in stone - I go to the library where the coffee shop ladies are looking forward to seeing their names on the acknowledgements page. And now I sometimes manage 40 mins or so while they're watching their morning telly. I think the key is to just keep plugging along, however piecemeal. Now going back to read rest of the thread smile

FannyMcNee Sun 26-Aug-12 12:52:37

Tell me about the times you've been lucky...

IShallPracticeMyCurtsey Sun 26-Aug-12 09:14:47

Helen Simpson is very good.

Yes, have plenty more stories to get rejected-oh, I'm an old hat at this stage. You learn to look at the figures and not take it personally. Well, as in you do take it personally at the time, but you have to get over it. I've been lucky a few times, and unlucky far more times. I just need to get better. Only time and work will help and even then there are no guarantees!
But you do it because you love it.

FannyMcNee Sun 26-Aug-12 08:31:35

Yes, I did mean Helen Simpson! (And anthology, not angiology!)

Curtsey I can completely understand how the rejection must have stung, but power to you for having completed and submitted a short story. They're two massive achievements in themselves.

I like to think I have a thick skin, but I'm sure I'd feel the same I'd something I'd written was rejected.

Onwards and upwards. Are you able to submit the same story elsewhere, or are you going to write another?

IShallPracticeMyCurtsey Sat 25-Aug-12 12:43:58

Helen Simpson, I wonder?

Just wanted to say that you will also have writing days where you feel well sorry for yourself. Yesterday was one of mine. I'm doing my best, grabbing what few minutes I have between work and baby and household drudgery...and then a big fat short story rejection sailed into my inbox. Now I don't know if you have a thick skin, OP - I'm still working on fattening up mine. And that rejection really stung. And DD was having one of her days where she wouldn't let me put her down, and then I finally put her down for 20 seconds while her dinner was cooking on the stove and I was bursting to wee...and then I stubbed my toe hard on the bathroom door...and felt really very sorry for myself indeed. I just thought f*ck this whole writing lark, I can't be bothered, I'm not good enough, Jonathan Franzen ^et al ^never had this problem... etc. etc.

It does pass, but the way ahead is always littered with frustrations smile

FannyMcNee Fri 24-Aug-12 18:56:21

Blimey, didn't expect so many replies since my last visit!

Thank you so much for your encouragement - you're all legends and I feel much better about things. I've been feeling really pissed off with myself for letting my "calling" lie dormant (and you're right, it IS a calling) for so long. I don't want excuses, I want to write.

And Cunning - would be interested to hear more about your new job...!

To the poster who mentioned competitions, that's definitely something I'd consider. I'm reading an angiology of short stories by Helen someone (will check and post later) and they're so well written - very inspirational.

TheCunningStunt Thu 23-Aug-12 09:34:37

Two, I applied off my own back and pitched a few ideas. They seemed really keen to get me on board. I have NO article writing experience at all.

ninah Thu 23-Aug-12 00:10:30

much as I loathe margaret thatcher she did say one fab thing
if you want something done ask a busy person
of course you can write with children of any size

twoturtledoves Wed 22-Aug-12 16:09:08

Cunning: did you respond to a job advert for the magazine or did you just pitch an idea to them on spec? I would like to do lifestyley stuff for a magazine but haven't got much journalism experience and want to know what the best way to go about it would be.

TheCunningStunt Tue 21-Aug-12 17:21:56

"JUST writing itself" not mustblush

TheCunningStunt Tue 21-Aug-12 17:21:14

You can do it op. My children are 3&5. I took a writing break. I always wanted to do it. I want to write fiction and short stories. I think writing is not some you can choose to need to do it, don't you? It's a calling I find! I am so much happier when I am writing. Find a little time each day, and write. Even if it's rubbish, must writing itself will help inspiration come. Carry a notebook wherever you are so you can note observations, people, places, random ideas. I just got a job writing for a magazine and it was pure luck. I applied on the off chance and got it. I can commit day time now my youngest is in nursery. I found it hard to write with her at home.

Panadbois Tue 21-Aug-12 17:16:20

i also dream of becoming a published author, but am always procastenating.

I'm trying to comit to going upstairs at 7 pm, to write, but like OP, I'm usually shattered by this time.

I have booked myself onto a confidence building course, in writing, end of next month though, so at least I'm doing something

(I'm a stay at home foster carer looking after a 16 month old, and my own two 12, 14. My language of choice for writting is Welsh)

IShallPracticeMyCurtsey Tue 21-Aug-12 15:01:15

Oh Lord, I can sympathise, I am writing right now while DD (7mo) naps. I have an upcoming deadline for my first book and a part time day job. It's so hard, but I absolutely know what you mean about not wanting your kids to be your excuse.

I feel that father-writers don't agonize about their 'right' to follow their dream in the same way. Maybe that's a generalization, I don't know. In any case, I'm here to support you, it is all about carving out time, and no excuses.

septembersunshine Tue 21-Aug-12 14:54:59

Hi, I have three small children (6, nearly 4 and 2 1/2) and I've been trying to write a novel for two years. Got no where fast (30 thousand words a couple of times.. but not that great). So now I do short story comps just to keep my brain active and because they are 2,000 - 5,000 words you feel like you've achived something. The comps I like are Bridport Prize, Fish publicaiton short story and Costa have just launched a new short story comp (deadline 7th of Sept). Of course there are many more (there are some websites that list all the comps around) but say you got shortlisted or even won that is a GREAT thing to put on your covering letter when you get around to writing the book ;)

Other then that just do what you can and when you can. Its frustrating though..and the tiredness is hard!

JordannaNelson Thu 16-Aug-12 16:32:35

I'm finding it difficult to find the time to write. She says sitting on the sofa with son asleep and the tele on.
I think I try to blame the time thing on other things, mainly housework, working and children. But it's me. I'm not entirely sure if my hopes and dreams will aspire to anything.. Like you, I guess I'm intimidated by the talent that already exists.. But surely everyone tells a different story, but what if mine isn't successful?

Isn't there a job we can all jump into where we write, get paid and the kids are looked after - and if not, why not?!

mrswriter Wed 15-Aug-12 12:43:21

i know someone who had her very sucessful chicklit book published and she said she only ever wrote for 30 minutes a day.

The trick is to keep going. Even 200 words a day will add up.

What about getting up a tiny bit earlier or timetabling a half hour during the day when they can be otherwsie amused?

fairyfriend Tue 14-Aug-12 21:56:19

Ishallwearmidnight- I work best at ridiculous-o'clock anyway, so if I were ever able to give up my day job and write, I'm pretty sure I'd sleep during the time my kids were at school and write through the night! Isn't that how all writers do it? grin

FannyMcNee Tue 14-Aug-12 21:56:14

Yes - tiredness definitely a factor! DD2 was awake for about 90mins from 4am last night!

FannyMcNee Tue 14-Aug-12 21:54:49

Published online for free, no money involved. Stumbled across it completely by accident.

fairyfriend Tue 14-Aug-12 21:54:19

I do get 'downers'. I've never been diagnosed with depression, but I get definite bouts of darkness which cloud my ability to get stuff done.
I'm not surprised you're down though, with 2 such little children. Don't underestimate how much the tiredness affects you.

lljkk Tue 14-Aug-12 19:02:47

How did you get into writing fan fiction, was it published online for free or properly published & you got royalties?

IShallWearMidnight Tue 14-Aug-12 11:44:15

I have a client who is a writer, and a full time SAHP. They managed (just) by using nursery part time from 6 months, juggling childcare with the other parent, and Granny helping out one day a week. Career took a bit of a nosedive for a couple of years, but is now picking up (DC are 4 and 3 now). A lot of work gets done at 4am though judging by the time on emails I get wink.

FannyMcNee Tue 14-Aug-12 11:33:26

Most of my writing was for fanfiction, mainly because it was a good way to "exercise" plus gauge a reaction to your writing style, what with the ready-made audience that comes with fanfiction. Trouble is, many of the people who read it aren't qualified to tell you whether you're any good (publishable), and people tend to give "nice" reviews. I'd rather get a constructive review that helped me improve.

Also you're not creating your own characters, so I don't know how good my own would be.

At the moment I have an idea for YA fantasy, one for women's fiction, and a ghost story - and I really don't know which to go with! So intimidated by the already-existing talent out there!

Sometimes I feel so excited at the prospect of writing, but at the moment I'm on such a downer.

Do you get like that?

fairyfriend Tue 14-Aug-12 10:35:57

I have lots a couple of ideas for children's books, as well as a constant stream of 'articles' in my head. I have never yet even tried to get anything published. Apart from the odd poem.
I had a blog at one time, but I wasn't getting time to keep it up to date.

The problem is I have three small children and a full time job, which takes up a lot of my spare time (I'm a teacher).
So anything that's not entirely necessary gets pushed to the back burner.

I almost feel like I need a 'job' writing, because I'd do it then.

What kind of writing did you do before you had your DC?

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