Today in the Clumsy Bloggers’ Workshop, I was soliciting ideas for my next “How to” post… hoping for something reasonable and simple like “How to Make Links Look Good on Facebook” or “How to Find Pictures for Your Blog“.
But then Jaime was all like: “You should write about how to find time to write when you have four kids and they’re on summer break.”
At first I thought, “What do you think I am? The fairy godmother? Aladdin’s genie? Jesus? I’m a blogging coach, not a miracle worker.”
Then I looked over at my two kids, sitting on the couch next to me. They’re shirtless and watching a YouTube video about how to cook seafood. Summer break is in full swing for a few more weeks.
So here are five ways to find time to write when you have four kids on summer break (from a work-from-home dad of two toddlers):
1. Write when they’re asleep.
This includes before 6:30 a.m., after 9:00 p.m., and maybe for an hour in the afternoon if you’re lucky.
PROS: It’s quiet. You’re unlikely to be interrupted. You can string together at least half a dozen paragraphs without someone yelling at you or begging for cereal and cheese sticks and ice cream.
CONS: If you think you’re going to wake up before them and write, hahahahaha. And after they’re in bed, well frankly you’ve earned a few hours of Netflix and sweatpants. But you’ll definitely write tomorrow!
2. Write tomorrow.
(This is also when I plan to wash the dishes from lunch. But I’ve stacked them in the sink, so that’s something.)
PROS: Tomorrow is a land of bright possibility, sparkling and pristine.
CONS: Tomorrow doesn’t actually exist. It’s a figment of your imagination.
3. Let them watch YouTube videos while you write.
It always starts with videos of HotWheels tracks, and then devolves into reviews of random wood chippers and “how to go fishing” tutorials. I don’t know how they find this stuff or why they like it, but it’s apparently much more interesting than Netflix fare.
PROS: They’re engaged in their own world, so you can grab probably a solid hour of writing time. If you put food in front of them every fifteen minutes, you can stretch that to two hours.
CONS: They’re rotting their brains, and you’ll wind up feeling guilty about that. Also, at some point they WILL start punching each other.
4. Drop them off at Grandma’s house and run away to a coffee shop.
This is probably the best plan, frankly. It’s how I get most of my writing done.
PROS: Grandmas like kids. Everybody is happy. Uninterrupted writing time.
CONS: Once you get to the coffee shop, you’ll probably need to check Twitter and Facebook for an hour or two. Those tweets won’t retweet themselves, ya know. Plus there are some Taylor Swift gifs over on BuzzFeed that you haven’t seen yet. You should really look into that. By the time you’re ready to start writing, you’ll feel like you should probably go pick up the kids from Grandma’s again soon. She has a life too, you know.
5. Don’t write.
Honestly, this is the opposite of what this blog post title promised you. I’m sorry about that. But it still might be a really good idea.
Just don’t write for a few weeks. Take a break. Lay on the hammock. Take the kids to the beach, or the park, or the mall. Watch them run around in the sand. Tell them not to break anything in the over-priced toy stores. Buy them a slushy to share, and then break up three fights over how it’s not fair that there’s only one straw. Get two straws next time.
Let them be kids. Let summer be summer. They’ll be old and grown soon, or back in school anyhow, and then we’ll all be lonely and have plenty of time to write on our blogs — sad, angsty, poetic, wintery words about the changing seasons of life.
But for now, drink up every last drop of sunlight and blue sky and blue raspberry slushy that summer has to offer.
PROS: Suntans. Memories. No guilt over kids using electronics. The intangible joy of being present in every moment.
CONS: You don’t wind up writing at all and, well, if you haven’t written a blog post this month, are you even worth anything?
(Full Disclosure: I wrote this while my kids were sleeping, but now they’re awake and asking to watch YouTube and crying about Cheerios. So we’re going to go to the park.)
[ photo by Abi Busch ]
published August 5, 2015
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