Meeting your kids needs on a daily basis and finding time to write seem counter to each other. Well, they are! But there are valuable qualities which can be discovered through parenthood that can maintain and encourage your writing.
Taking care of kids every day challenges us to find time and energy to write. And not only those two essential items but the creative mindset to dive in and immerse yourself in your writing. To bring the ideas which have been percolating to life. To fold in those additional details you’ve realized are missing.
Years ago, one of the best times for me to brainstorm about my writing was during my drive to and from my acupuncture clinic. I would have forty minutes to think about my characters or strategize my plot or plan out a scene’s dialogue. But that changed when my third child was born. I had to leave my acupuncture practice. Uninterrupted time became a luxury. I could no longer rely on it being there every day.
Parents aren’t the only ones who face these types of challenges. More time and energy for our passions is nearly universal, and the desire for more of either will likely never change for most of us. But what can change are our perceptions. What can change is the development of qualities in ourselves which can maximize the time and energy we do have.
I’ve discovered over the last decade that taking care of kids requires a shift in mind-set. Patience and adaptability are key. These qualities have also helped me with my writing. I have learned to be more patient and realistic in what I can accomplish. I’ve become more adaptable and flexible about my goals. Changing goals that aren’t working. Making notes and developing ideas when I find a moment. Its not a forty minute car ride of peaceful contemplation, but it still can work.
Being a parent also involves learning how to care for yourself better or you will soon run on empty. Learning to be kinder to myself has translated to my writing. Sometimes, I’m too tired. My mind and spirit need to rest. Sometimes, I need encouragement and acknowledging improvements to a scene or piece of dialogue will lift me up. Self-care, physically and mentally, is invaluable for better writing. And of course, in life too!
But parenthood has also firmed my resolve. When you have to lay down the law with your kids every day, you learn to lay down laws for yourself. Writing needs to be a part of my life. These books are part of my dream. I have learned to ask for time. To speak out about its importance to me.
Becoming a parent was the best thing that could have happened to me and my writing. I genuinely value the qualities I have developed and how they have improved my perception of time and energy and my overall well-being. And who knows, maybe I’ll get to write a blog one day about how my kids helped me get my first book published. With parenthood and writing, anything is possible.