The Spooky Truth of Being a Writing Mom
I know Halloween is over, but it’s still on my brain as I keep scarfing down chocolates and candies. Here are my thoughts about what it means to be a writer – ugly guts and all.
Evil Mastermind Commitment to Evil
For a long time I treated my writing more as a hobby, so it kept getting shunted to last priority. I had all these great ideas, but they weren’t on paper. An evil mastermind needs to do more than just hatch devious plans; she needs to make them happen. I had to commit to getting my diabolic plots typed up for others to read. So I could unleash them on the world! Bwhaha!
Mad Scientist Work Schedule
I had to cram writing into every tiny crevice of time I could find. I’d look at my day planner and see I had a one-hour window. I’d set the clock and spew out whatever I could. It wasn’t pretty – but at least it was out there. Like a good mad scientist, I could cut and hack parts I didn’t like. I could come up with new shady characters and painful plot twists for my shoddy first draft creations. I could take that really ugly baby and make it into something people would want to pick up and love. Or at least it had a face only a mother could love.
With work and kids, I often find the day a hard time to accomplish much. For example, I see all the things that need to get done around the house. Some days of procrastination have the byproduct of a very clean house. I love kids, but they tend to want things from me often…all day long. (I find getting interrupted throws my train of thought that often hadn’t left the station any way – but that’s getting off track now. :))
So I’ve adopted vampire hours to work on writing, depending on my workload the next day. The window of time somewhere between 10-2 is the time I have as my own. The sweet creatures that would scream my name are sleeping. And in the dark the mess doesn’t look so bad. I’d find myself a dark corner where it’s quiet and let the writing bug sink its fangs into me.
There, of course, is a price to pay. If I stay up too late and too often I become Zom Mom. That’s right, I risk becoming the dreaded Zombie mom. That means walking into doors by accident and feeling foggy-headed. Need more brains! Need more brains! So I have to balance out getting sleep, even if that means sneaking in an afternoon nap.
I would try to use sleep-deprivation as a learning opportunity. I would tell my kids how important sleep is and use myself as an example. See how cranky and clumsy I am? Why do you think that is? That’s right, I didn’t get enough sleep. It’s early to bed for everyone.
The other byproduct of spending every free moment writing, is that I would do little work around the house. Yes, I’ve allowed actual cobwebs to grow and multiply in my house. I told myself that would help provide ambiance while I wrote late at night. Mountains of laundry grew! Dirty dishes piled up! The horror! My housework has gotten out of hand.
So I can let that go for awhile, but eventually I need to do a major exorcism and clean the house up.
The other thing I find when I get on a serious writing jag is that I become less social. My brain is so busy scheming disasters and dealing with dubious characters that I’m not quite in the real world any more. It’s like a ghost of me is walking around and doing all the social things I’m supposed to. I’m so busy in my story world that I keep finding my mind floating away to it.
So, in order for me to write, I do have to be monstrously dedicated. It means I have a mad scientist schedule to follow and it often means writing late at night. This can lead to being zombie-like in my day-to-day interactions and a house of horrors as far as laundry and dishes are concerned. When I’m all into my writing, sometimes it means I have trouble switching gears back into the world of the living. This is the scary truth o writing in the real world.
I do my best to stay balanced, but a little unbalance goes a long way. Need more brains! Need more brains!