With four kids, the youngest just turned two, I squeeze in writing when I can. Typically, this is during my toddler's nap time. If I attempt to write while she's awake, my day looks something like this:
**Sit down. Turn on computer. Get a cheese stick. Write five words. "You want me to open the cheese stick?" Open cheese stick. Delete two words. Get a "baba" because cheese sticks make toddlers thirsty. Finish revising paragraph. Get toddler off of chair. Set chair on its side so toddler doesn't climb on chair again. Keep one eye on toddler, one eye on writing. Successfully write a new ending to chapter. Toddler cries. Turn on television for toddler. Toddler hates television now. (WHY?) Close my laptop. Remember these years are fleeting. Cuddle toddler. Find cheese stick smooshed to the bottom of my pants when I stand up.**
I do get some writing done at night. Ideally, this happens right after the kids go to bed…if I don't fall asleep while I'm putting them to bed.
"Mommy is just going to lay down next to you for a minute and rest her eyes. I'm not going to fall asleep. I just need a little rest." *Wakes up four hours later.*
When that happens, and if I'm really ambitious, I'll write for a couple hours at midnight. Did you know that this was how R.J. Palacio's WONDER was written? There must be something special about those midnight hours. However, they usually make a zombie out of me the next day.
My most productive writing happens on Saturday. With two kids in sports, it's not every Saturday, but sometimes I will go to the quiet room at the library and accomplish a week's worth of work.
So maybe there isn't a "typical" for me. I do have a dream day of writing that involves a made-over shed Chip and Joanna Gaines' style with a beautiful garden (also a dream because dead things thrive here). Inside this shed are billowy curtains and a desk with a laptop. There is also a bookshelf stuffed with favorites and a cozy chair. I think I'm going to throw in a personal chef because why not? Okay, I'd probably just end up taking naps in my garden shed and missing my toddler who by then will no longer a toddler but a sixteen-year-old with a sassy mouth.
In the meantime, I write when I can snatch an hour or two from my day. And that is enough.
THE REMEMBER BALLOONS, illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
August 28, 2018