Goodbye Autumn

It’s Friday… finally. The end of another working week… for some and for others like me it’s the end of the school week which means… for me that my kids will with absolute certainty steal the computer out from under me to play whatever PC orientated game they can find while I concoct devious ways of luring them away from the PC so I can write.

Oh, the life of a mum of four. It’s hell I tell you. Send wine and chocolate. Actually scrap the wine and send Chardonnay, cause I hate wine and beer. Actually most alcohol. Unless it’s Baileys or Writer’s Tears. Yes! Look it up that stuff exists. Cost a small fortune. But it was worth it.

Because… Writer’s Tears… enough said.

I digress.

Winter is coming and truth be told I love Winter. I get to pile on the blankets without apologising. I’m always cold.

And with Winter comes birthdays along with anniversaries of things that I’d sooner forget because no matter how hard I try I’m almost always a wreck by July 24th.

Life is fleeting and I’m trying to not let it pass me by. I’m trying to get my words out into the world.

It’s really all I’ve got tonight.

Oh, and this rose from my garden.

Isn’t it pretty? I’ve been promising myself a red rose for years, partly because I loved the rose garden in my parents backyard and partially because I just love red roses.

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Missed Deadlines

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And… I had this post all written out and then it got eaten by gremlins.

So, I’m forced to rewrite it.

24th of July on a personal level is hell. Every year I dread the clock ticking over to today because nobody likes to be reminded of tragic events in their past. I’m certainly no different.

And today, well today marks the anniversary of my mum’s rather unexpected passing. Worse… today marks 10 years since she passed away.

And it’s no less easier than the year before. It’s hard and sad, cause my kids don’t remember her… two never got to meet her… which is crappy.

Anticipating the sadness and tears and the general blanket fort and tv binge that was in store for me given the nature of today, I attempted to put a positive spin on today.

In doing so, I gave myself a deadline. Finish Nightshade by today. Sadly, that didn’t quite happen. Life, as they say, got in the way.

But I am closer to finishing the novel at least. Which is a good thing and I’m trying not to dwell on everything else. At least for the moment.

Since I wasn’t successful in my endeavour, I’ll leave you with a question to ponder, until next time…

What do you do when you miss a writing deadline? Let me know in the comments. Because I am rather curious and desperately in need of a distraction.

Finding Time to Write with Four Kids… Continued

315648CB-7C82-48E7-89C5-4E6009A747CBOne month ago, I posted about the trials and tribulations of writing with four kids and even shared some tips I employ to make it work. It’s not always easy, and I’m by no means an expert. I’d love to get paid more, but I do love what I do.

You can find that blog post here.

Since then, a conversation I had in a group on Facebook recently gave way to this post.

I’ve had a host of people tell me I can’t write with four kids. I have a significantly smaller number of people tell me, I can (and should) write with four kids.

Fact is, I ignore the host of people telling me what I shouldn’t do and listen to the one’s telling me what I should do. And, if I’m completely honest for a moment, my sanity depends on it. The momentary escape from reality. Yes, as cliched as it may be, the reason I write is to escape. It hasn’t changed in the twenty-one years I’ve been writing, and I doubt it ever will.

So, what’s an average day to a mum of four? Well you’re about to find out.

My kids for reference sake are twelve, eleven, nine and seven. My only girl is the eleven year old. That dynamic alone is hard enough. The amount of times she’s begged her dad and I for a sister… it’s only a little heartbreaking.

An average (week)day for me looks like this… note the lack of writing time. I do steal the odd minute here and there by writing on my phone. While waiting to pick my kids up, for instance. But solid blocks of time are hard to come by.

5:30am : First alarm goes off. I ignore it. For the simple fact that it feels like I’m getting to ‘sleep in’ when I do and I hit the snooze button.

6:30am: Second alarm goes off and I spent about two minutes debating whether or not I can afford to sneak an extra 15 minutes of sleep. I am not a morning person. I was before I had kids. Usually, I decide it’s not worth it and get up.

6:30am-6:45am: All four kids are woken and the kettle is switched on. Three of them are up, out of bed and eating cereal. My nine year old son, struggles to get up.

7am: I have coffee. Anyone with kids will tell you if they don’t have coffee in the morning, they simply can’t function. True story. My kids know I’m grumpy in the morning if I haven’t had coffee. And yes, they do remind me to have said coffee if I haven’t.

7:15am-7:45am: I make their lunches. It’s not fancy. I don’t bake half as much as I want to. But they don’t go hungry.

8am: This is the time I aim to have all four of them packed, ready and out the door. It doesn’t happen.

8:15am: Is when they’re typically out the door and heading for school.

9am-9:15am: I’m back home. The kettle goes back on for a second cup of coffee. Yes, I’m a coffee addict. Four cups a day is common.

9:15am-10am: Check Emails etc

10am-12pm: Housework. I do 1-2 small-medium loads of laundry a day. Wash/Hang out. Bring it in when dry. I try to sort the clean clothes weekly and put them away. Tidy main living areas/bathrooms/floors etc. Kids clean their own rooms.

12pm-12:45pm: Lunch. Yes, I’m only human and I do take lunch breaks.

12:45pm-2:15pm: Housework. See above. I have something of a roster happening.

2:15pm-2:30pm: Break.

2:30pm: Pick kids up.

3:20pm: Home from picking kids up.

3:20pm-4:30pm: Organise kids. Snacks/Homework etc

4pm-4:30pm: Wash dishes

6pm: Dinner prep

7pm: Dinner

7:30pm-8pm: Kids bed time

8:30pm-9pm: Kids settle/sleep finally.

9pm-11pm: Downtime/TV/Writing time

11pm-12am: Read in bed/Social media catch up

12am: Bedtime. I don’t usually stay up much past midnight, when I do I don’t function well the next day.

**It’s not a perfect representation as things do change from day to day but it is an accurate baseline.

So, for all those writers out there without kids, the ones who like to say that kids aren’t an excuse for not writing? I beg to differ. I’m by no means saying you can’t write with kids, because you can (and I do write around my kids) but there’s a completely different dynamic when you write around kids to that of writing when you don’t have kids. There’s more freedom. And it’s quieter. If I didn’t walk my kids to school, I wouldn’t leave the house. There’s just too much to do inside the house.

 

 

Finding Time to Write with Four Kids

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I started my author journey in 2012. Many people didn’t understand why I wanted to write or how I could enjoy it. Writing can be a very solitary pursuit. One that could take you away from more, dare I say it, mundane tasks.

So, naturally if writing takes me away from every day mundane tasks, one would assume that it could quite easily take me away from my children. Not so. And, it doesn’t have to. It took me quite a few years, early on in my writing journey, before I even got published – when my kids were babies – to find the balance. However, I can successfully say, with the utmost confidence, that I have found a way to both write and be present in my kids lives. Now if only I could find a way to both write and keep on top of all those mundane household tasks that often fall to the way side while I be mum to my kids, I think I’d be set.

Now my kids are twelve, ten, nine and seven and parenting is a bit more challenging now than when they were babies, but I found some things that work for me, and keep me from feeling too overwhelmed.

Here’s five tips I employ in order to write around household chores and FOUR children.

  1. You have to make time for yourself and your writing. Write when the kids are in bed at night. Or get up early and write while every else is still asleep.
  2. Write everyday. I cannot stress this enough. Even if it’s only 10 words. Write!
  3. Get your kids involved with the household chores. That way you’ll have time to write.
  4. Use a schedule, and stick to it!
  5. Get enough sleep! A grumpy mum is no good to anybody, let alone your kids.

I hope you find these tips as helpful as I have!