This past week has been a week of two halves for me as far as writing is concerned.
Before the weekend, I was really finding myself struggling with the inevitable juggling that comes with being a stay-at-home mum to a toddler as well as an aspiring novelist. The edit itself was going brilliantly – I seem to have way more clarity this time round, noticing things that passed me by as I worked on the second draft and having no qualms about cutting things that I can now see are unnecessary. I’m also really enjoying elaborating where it’s needed, and I definitely feel as though the characters are springing into life much more convincingly as a result. In fact I’m enjoying it so much that actually I wanted nothing else but to hole up with my manuscript and my computer and just get on with it – let myself get lost in the words and the world I have created with them, just work and work until it’s done. And this is precisely where the problem lies.
Because I can only really work in chunks of a couple of hours at a time. If I’m lucky I’ll get two of those in a day, whilst Arthur’s napping in the sling and I can focus all my energies on the novel. More often it’s just one though – and sometimes not even that.
I know that I am incredibly lucky to be spending so much time with my little man. And I want to make sure that I make the most of it – that I’m truly present when we’re hanging out together. I worry sometimes that he’s missing out on the range of activities he’d get from being at nursery or with a childminder, so as well as the music and drama and gymnastics classes we go to I’m trying to find time to do arts and crafts together, to get outside as much as we can. And I think I’m getting there – but always swirling around with all of this is the desire to be writing, to be working on the edit. And the worry that maybe it just isn’t possible to juggle it all, that I’m going to have to admit defeat on one front or another. And that I really don’t want to do.
But then, just as my brain was about to explode, one of my oldest, bestest friends arrived for a visit with her family. Entertaining Arthur took care of itself – her older daughter is only a month younger than him, and it was lovely to watch them spend some quality time getting to know each other. She has a five-month-old too, who Arthur was completely rapt with, revealing a gentle, nurturing side to him that I haven’t really seen before. And us adults got to have lots of much-needed grown-up chats, about how hard it all was but how much we were loving it. And I remembered that it’s ok for the juggle to feel like a struggle sometimes and that I really should cut myself a bit of slack in my quest to be the perfect mum.
So whilst it’s now halfway through the week and the edit has remained untouched since Friday, I’m feeling pretty good about it all. My enthusiasm actually meant that I’d got through more than I’d thought I would before the enforced and much-appreciated break, and I reckon that if I can find a bit of extra time over the weekend I can make up for the time I’ve missed.
The chapter that’s currently staring at me from my desk, waiting for my scribbles before I rehash it in the electronic draft, is one of the most crucial overall. So I’m glad my head is a little less full as I turn my thoughts towards it.
And on that note, I had better stop my ruminations here and make the most of the rest of this nap. This edit won’t write itself after all.
Sophie you are an awesome mum! Seriously, you do masses with Arthur! Three classes a week plus arts and crafts and playing outside, not to mention masses of time with mummy – you’re doing a brilliant job! You should see what I’m like with my little one, he’s mostly a free-range baby who potters about singing twinkle twinkle little star to himself while I try and write blog posts. Either that or he’s being carted around in the wake of his big brothers! Anyway, I do know what you mean about the juggling and the frustration of not being able to get on with writing when you want to! You’re getting there! Sounds like a lovely weekend with your friends too. Thanks for linking to #whatImwriting xx
Thank you 🙂 There’s plenty of free range time here too! I think I just get a bit paranoid when I speak to people who believe toddlers need to be entertained/educated all of the time… But I know I don’t believe that so I should just ignore them really… xx
I can identify with those feelings of being torn between what you want to do as a mum and want you want to do for yourself. It’s easy to feel you’re not doing any of it very well! And the nature of writing means you’re often plotting out part of your novel while you’re meant to be reading Peppa Pig or similar (in fact I’m often over analysing the stories I read to my children!). Although it’s tough, I think it’s important to look at what you have achieved – and that’s loads!
Thanks Emily. You’re right – it does get all too easy to focus on the negative. I imagine I’d still find time to doubt myself whatever approach I’d decided to take! And the writing will get done in the end… x
You’ve been going so well and have probaly reached a point where you need a breather. It sounds like it could be a good thing because the crucial chapter you mentioned might flow better after having a little break. Keep up the good work!
Thanks for the encouragement 🙂 I’ve actually had a bit of a breakthrough since I wrote this so I think perhaps you’re right! x
Oh hon I’m so with you here, as I’m sure you already know from reading my posts. I think it’ll always be a juggle/struggle for me, I’m just hoping to strike a bit more of a happy balance at some point soon.
Sounds like the weekend with your friend was just what you needed. Best of luck with the crucial chapter xx
Thank you. I’m back on track now I think! I guess there’s never going to be an easy solution to the whole juggling act. But you will always be an inspiration for everything you’re managing to achieve xx
Juggling all those things is hard work! It’s difficult to know where everything should fit, and whether it should all fit and it’s very easy for writing to get lost in the bog when you’re trying to figure it all out.
You spend loads of time with Arthur – my kids get me for a few hours each evening but even then I’m a bit distant (at the moment – work is being, well, work) – I don’t think you have anything to worry about on that front. That’s hard, too, when you’re feeling that silly “mummy guilt” creeping in. It sounds like your friend was what you needed. x
I definitely needed a bit of a break! I guess my main worry with Arthur is whether I’m enough for him whilst my focus is so much on the writing, but I think I’m just being paranoid… I don’t know how I’d manage if I was having to go out to work too so I should just count myself lucky really xx
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