You see, I've neglected this blog for some time. My "I will post once a week" mantra fell by the wayside once I started full-time work. There simply aren't enough hours in the day. Too many socks to sort, meals to plan, groceries to buy, stories to read aloud, (paid) columns to write.
So writing for myself - with no agenda, no tangible reward - has taken a backseat.
Which is making me feel slightly queasy because I'd promised myself at the start of the year that I WOULD finish the first draft of my YA novel by the time I turned 40. That's 55-60,000 words between now and end-March 2016. I just don't see how it can be done?!
I'm heartened by a conversation I had with a successful writer (who was also a working mom) at the Singapore Writer's Festival last year. She said that she really only managed to sit down for two hours a night to write her book after her youngest turned five. Before that, she simply didn't have enough energy or focus.
I look at my typical weekday and wonder how I can recalibrate it to squeeze in some writing time:
Daily routine of a working mom (i.e. the minutiae of life)
- 6.30am: Wake-up
- 6.35am: Shower
- 6.55am: Cuddle kids while they wake up
- 7.05am: Make breakfast for kids and self (usually pancakes)
- 7.35am: Pack lunch/fruit/snacks for self (Mr Turnip does older kid's lunch)
- 7.40am: Get dressed (while talking/playing with kids)
- 8.05am: Hug kids, leave house and walk to work
- 8.30am: Reach work
- 5.00pm: Finish work (usually have half an hour during the day to run errands like go to the library or buy supplies for kids or self)
- 5.05pm: Mr Turnip and kids pick me up.
- 5.15pm: Home (one of the great joys of living in a small city)
- 5.20pm: Manic dinner prep followed by meal at table
- 6.00pm: Clean-up and do cursory tidy-up while kids watch TV. Flip through mail catalogues of whatever or look at phone for a bit. Go through school bags to check notices from school. Do any administration like pay bills etc.
- Till 8pm: Ensure everyone bathed and changed into PJs, teeth brushed, stories read, many many cuddles.
- Anytime between 8 and 9pm: Kids sleep (depends on whether younger Turnip has had an afternoon nap or not). This time usually involves a) making tents out of sheets, b) playing ring a ring a rosie on the carpet, c) telling silly jokes.
- 9pm: Have adult conversation with Mr Turnip (or not, because sometimes we are just too tired by then and just watch The West Wing on repeat). Or catch up on some work. Or random YouTubing. Or read.
- 10pm: Sleep
Weekends are pretty much the same except the time where I would ordinarily spend at work is spent doing fun stuff with the kids. So... if I were to squeeze in some regular time for writing, it would either have to be a) early morning (wake up at 5 to write perhaps); b) late night (no-go because I wouldn't be able to function properly at work); c) schedule a night where I don't do the bedtime routine and just go somewhere and write between 7 and 9pm.
I'd love to know how anyone else out there schedules some me-time to work on a dedicated project. I know it can be done. Just need to put a structure in place for it to become the new normal!