About a year ago, I was desperately overwhelmed. I had a precocious 18-month-old and a pre-schooler at home, as well as a Kindergartner and second-grader who each had active social lives. In addition to the the daily stay-at-home mom routine, I was juggling two part-time jobs and trying to be an attentive and supportive wife. My writing career? Non-existent.
Not for lack of trying. But each time I had a moment to myself, I would sit down at the computer, my fingers hovering longingly over the keyboard, and just as I would try to focus on the subject in front of me, my eyes would involuntarily glance over at the basket of unfolded clothes sitting on the corner bench. Or I would notice an unpaid bill sticking out of the pile of mail perched on the edge of the desk. Sometimes it would be an errant thought–Did I take out the chicken to defrost? Did I remember to email that guy about that thing for my client?–that would break the reverie.
I fully understand my propensity for procrastination, and these distractions played right into that. The thing was, and still is, I love to write. It’s my creative outlet. I enjoy it so much that to me, it’s a reward. So I have a tendency to put it off until I complete other, more pressing, obligations.
As a mom/wife/domestic goddess, I can assure you there are always more pressing obligations.
So what’s a writer to do? I tweeted about my predicament to Christina Katz, who wrote the fabulous book, Writer Mama. Her response?
Turns out, she’d written a brief post about the same thing. I took her advice about using “blinders” and in the past year, I’ve been able to contribute regular blog posts for a couple of blogs, write a novel, and write a monthly column for a local paper. Is my house OCD perfect? Not a chance. But my family still eats (and eats well–I’ve discovered a passion for gourmet cooking), we have clean underwear, our bills are paid mostly on time, and no one has broken a leg or ingested anything requiring a call to Poison Control. (Well, there was that one incident with the probiotic gummies, but I caught MJ in time…)
Since I have to work in the living room, it’s still a little too easy to get distracted by the piles of stuff laying around or the bickering between siblings. So I continue to fantasize about turning my stepsons’ basement lair–which has a door and padded walls, just what a writer needs!–into a true home office once they fly the nest. But until then, I take Ms. Katz’s advice and urge you to do the same–put on those blinders!