Finding a Balance – Writing vs. Household Management
The dishes are piling up in the sink. I’ll get to them in a minute. Right now I’m writing.
Laundry is languishing in baskets, unfolded. Rifle through them. I’m writing.
The floor is in need of vacuuming and the fridge of cleaning out. I have two pairs of slacks that I promised to hem up for a friend (and I will!), and knitting projects waiting for me in the craft bin. Sewing and knitting? I love them! But I’d rather be writing.
It’s addictive. I had no idea.
When I’m taking care of these other things, I’m jittery and grouchy. I have lines in my head. I need to get them down. I need to get my writing fix.
I’d better figure out a balance before everyone gets fed up with me. Or is this the life of a writer?
Here are a few things that have helped me. They’re probably common knowledge to more seasoned writers, but I had to figure them out the hard way:
1) Always have a pad and pen handy for jotting down outlines and ideas, random bits of dialogue, and descriptions you don’t want to forget.
2) If you use a laptop, keep it open and accessible. I have mine on the kitchen island. We have an open plan, and it’s right in the middle of all the household happenings. If the kids are quietly occupied (rare) and I have a minute to spare, I can type up the next couple of lines. Maybe even just a word or two. Every little bit helps.
3) During an actual sit-down writing session (nap time and post kids’ bedtimes for me), set the task bar on “auto-hide” so you don’t clock watch or succumb to the temptation of that internet browser icon, sitting there, tempting you when you get stuck. Even better, disconnect from the internet. Also, put your phone out of reach.
4) If you do find your fingers twitching for that phone that I’ve just told you to put out of reach, get up and do part of a chore instead. Fold a few clothes. Put a few dishes in the dishwasher. Do something useful. Sometimes a mini-break from the keyboard is all you need, and the bonus is that you get that much closer to getting your chores done.
I’m not very good at following my own advice every day, but I’m getting better. Maybe by the end of the first draft, I’ll have a system in place.
And if you have any more tips for me, I would LOVE to hear them.