Thursday, July 29, 2010

Balancing Family and Writing Career

I know I've told you before that this is definitely the toughest pregnancy I've experienced so far, but the amazing thing is that I've managed to really advance my writing career during this difficult pregnancy. I now go to three to four doctor appointments weekly, and take care of two toddlers, and write -- all while feeling extremely tired and pretty crappy physically (because of this high-risk pregnancy and the medications that my doc has me taking). One word comes to mind: BUSY.

There was a time in my life when I would have said that just making it through these nine months with my sanity intact would have been a big enough feat on its own, much less actually setting and reaching some lofty (for me, at least) writing goals. So I have to say that I am actually quite proud of myself and very grateful for having come to the understanding that I am really capable of doing quite a lot if I set my mind to it, busy or not.

In fact, I think that might be one of the most important things I've been able to do -- realize what is and is not a priority in my life, and then plan - and act - accordingly.

In my case, my family takes precedence over everything. While writing is important to me, it still comes second on the list of priorities. Knowing this, I am able to schedule my days so that I can be a good mother to my kids, spend quality time with hubby, and still have time to write. Granted, I don't always have as much writing time as I would like, but I make it work. And, for me, the pressure of time limitations works a lot better than self-imposed deadlines, so I've managed to remain quite productive.

Unfortunately, this means that I have to be extremely selective with how I use my time. For example, I often find myself in a situation where I have to choose between drafting an article or sending out a pitch versus writing a blog post. Nine times out of ten, I write the article or pitch letter. But it can be disappointing having to do that because I really enjoy blogging.

My goal here isn't to complain, but rather to show that you really do have options -- you can choose to have a writing career while raising kids. And succeed at both. It's a choice. Everyday you make little choices that end up dictating the life that you lead. Those choices reveal what's most important to you, and have a large influence on the person you are and the person you are becoming. These choices allow you to develop and share little bits of yourself with your family, friends, editors, readers, etc.

In a nutshell, I am busy. A busy mom. A busy writer. A busy wife. A busy preggo woman. Would I prefer to be less busy? No way! Because that would mean that I was giving up something that I love.

So are you a busy writer? And would you change anything?


Brooklyn Ann said...

I hear ya. I have three kids and a job and summer vacation is making it near impossible to write. Still, I manage. I wish that the kids went to summer camp or something.

Anonymous said...

How in the world do you manage to do it all? I'm a mother to a 8 month old and I have a really hard time taking care of her, cleaning house, cooking dinner and writing for a living!

I'm trying to build a home business by writing for corporations and it's slowly starting to build but the problem that I have is finding enough time to write and market to these companies. I also desire to send out query letters at least twice a month as well as maintain a blog but sadly those two items have been pushed to the side.

I feel frustrated because I'm not sure if I'm just not organized enough or what the problem is. I know I can do this but the day is over before I realize it and I have not been able to get it all done.

I have someone who babysits in my home one day a week for 4 hours but other than that I can't afford anymore help. I am under pressure as I only have 5 months to make this happen or else I'm afraid it's back out to a 9-5 job for me. NOT what I want, I love being with my daughter and working from home.

I would love to hear your suggestions and tips on how you organize your day and get it all done!

Sarah said...

@ Brooklyn Ann:
I am always impressed by moms who are able to parent their kids and maintain jobs while writing. Keep up the good work!

Sarah said...

@ tiffany:

It sounds like you have accomplished A LOT! Don't be too hard on yourself - a writing career takes time and a lot of hard work, but it sounds like you are already experiencing that.

In answer to your question, my house is often cluttered and my hubby helps out with the cooking a lot. I know that I can't do it all - I would end up exhausted if I tried to. Most of the time, I just try to write when the kids are sleeping at night and napping during the day. When I need more time, Hubby takes the kids out for awhile so that I can get all my work done. I definitely haven't figured out a perfect system yet, but I've been making it work.

Before having my first child, I never realized what a homebody I am, but I am so grateful that I get to stay home with my kids (and write). It makes meeting deadlines a lot more stressful sometimes, but it's so worth it. :)

I'd love to hear how your writing business comes along!