I’ve been writing for twenty years and before my twins were born I had the time to spend hours in front of my computer. I know of people who are capable of sitting six to eight hours straight, every single day just writing, but that was never my thing. I need breaks now and again. My largest amount of time without a break was probably three – four hours, but that was way before my children entered my life.
Now that I have kids, I find my time is quite stretched. In 2011, when my first novel got picked up by a publisher and I needed to edit it, my family was very gracious and gave me the time I needed to get it done. When I wrote the sequel to that novel, they were still generous allowing me time to do it, but not nearly as happy about it. In fact, they were quite vocal about being annoyed. Now? I swear if they give me fifteen unbothered minutes to write, it’s a miracle.
I don’t know what it is. Maybe they feel like the work I’m doing is intangible. It’s not like I’m making any real money or getting any real fame. Nor am I selling all that many books. When I say, “Please, I’m working towards a dream,” I get a strange look. I don’t know if they quite believe that dream can actually be had or not, and that’s sad. I keep telling my kids that you have to try. Nothing is easy and you just have to work hard towards anything you really wish to accomplish. Then again, it could simply be that they want my attention and I have this guilt that maybe that’s what it is. I try to do it all, but I just can’t.
Unfortunately, no matter how much I ask my family, I’m not getting the time I really need. Every single one of them are either outside my door, or sneaking into the room with me to get something, or loudly having arguments which I eventually must come out to settle. If I leave the house to write, I feel their frustration when I leave. It’s been difficult to say the least. So, I’ve tried to find ways to get this done without the constant resentment. I tried to write late at night when everyone was asleep, but frankly, I’m tired too. I already get up at 6:00 am, any earlier and I’m wiped from the night before.
So, just this past month I changed my commute that I’d been doing to NYC for the past ten years. Now I’m taking a train to work, instead of driving and standing on a crowded subway. This way I can bring my laptop on the train and write. This commute costs more money and still offers only snippets of time, 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there (because I have to change trains), but it’s something. And if I don’t have a lunch appointment, I’ll find a place, hunker down with a salad or sushi roll, and just write for an hour. It’s helped me tremendously. I got tired of telling my family that “based on their behaviors none of them are getting in the dedication of my next book!” (like a little kid having a tantrum and that’s my biggest threat, right?)
One day, when all the books are out there and maybe I can make an income at it, or not, my family will realize what I was working towards and they’ll understand. And, deep down I know they do and I know they support me. My son read this blog before I posted it and looked at me with big eyes. “I’m sorry, Mom. I don’t think what you’re doing is intangible. I think I understand now.”
That’s all I can ask for. 🙂