Writing with Children

I just wrote a few hundred words, sitting in my favored chair in the living room. I could only do this, because my nine-month old son was taking his early morning nap. Except for my official working days, this is the only time I can use to write. So, I need to use this brief period of around 30 to 45 minutes to write down my ideas as fast as possible, before my son starts to call for me.

Before I became a dad nine months ago, I stuck to my writing schedule: I wrote one hour in the morning, five days a week. In the past three years, this schedule allowed me to write this blog, two books, which are now published, several shorter texts, two unpublished novellas, and some more. Since my son’s birth, I don’t stick to a schedule anymore. No surprise there.

Children bring change, whether you like it or not. That’s why you need to reassess, at least until they leave the house regularly. First of all, accept that for the first few weeks or month you’re going to be busy getting used to your new life as parent. If you can’t take the time to write, don’t worry. After the birth, there are more important things to worry about. As soon your child allows you to have some sort of regularity in your day, that’s when you want to think about revising your writing schedule. Even then, however, you might have trouble sticking to it – like me. The situation shouldn’t be an excuse to never stick to a writing schedule ever again. For the time being, though, you have to adapt. In my case, that means writing only if I’m officially working somewhere else (or on the way there) or when my son’s sleep allows me to spend a few minutes with more engaging tasks than changing diapers or running after him. (At this point of writing, my son stood in bed and called for me.)

If you have some experience with a writing schedule, you should be equipped with a good writing habit. Even though your child might prevent you from writing regularly, this habit helps you to become a more flexible writer. Use the time you have; don’t complain about having too little. Get that work done in small pieces, because that’s more productive than getting nothing done at all. Enjoy the time with your child. As soon as you can take regular writing hours again, enjoy them as well. Your past writing habits will soon show up again. (I finished writing this post in the evening, when silence dared to come by again.)

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