There have been several points in my life where keeping a regular writing schedule has been difficult. When I was working and finishing my degree and enjoying an active social life and playing in a band, writing every day was a challenge. When I was newlywed and working full time and restoring a beat up house and adjusting to caring for both a marriage and a house, I hardly wrote at all.
By far the biggest threat to my writing has been having children. This is not only because I cannot ask them to give me an hour or two to finish up a chapter I’m working on, or because any free time I have comes in spurts of 5 minutes to 3 hours and I never know which it will be, or even because when I get those free minutes I have to do annoying things like laundry and cook dinner so these little people have clothes and food.
It’s because caring for young children sometimes requires all the creative energy I have.
It’s a strange phenomenon that I noticed when I was pregnant with my daughter last year. I had evenings to write, uninterrupted as my son was old enough to go to bed at eight and sleep through the night. I started out strong and then *fwoop* I had nothing. The words wouldn’t write. The ideas wouldn’t come. My body, my brain and my creative energy was focused on one very important job and had nothing left over for creating fictional people.
When the baby came, it took a few months but the creativity came back and came back strong. The novel I’d started at the beginning of my pregnancy went from five chapters to thirty in two months. I started cleaning up old manuscripts. I started this fabulous venture you’re reading right now.
But just because that sweet girl wasn’t requiring my body to grow her anymore, doesn’t mean my mind and my creativity belong to me alone. I learned with my son, kids require pretty much everything you have sometimes. And that’s okay, but it can mean that every ounce of creativity you have it being poured into envisioning terrifying scenarios of worry for your little ones, or brainstorming ways to overcoming a problem or just keep them occupied, growing and thriving.
Because you have so little time alone, your mind doesn’t have the chance to work independently sometimes, especially if your time and energy is currently consumed with worries for your children. It really kind of wonderful when it’s not so frustrating. These beautiful little people inevitably make you stronger, smarter, more creative and more resilient, even if you feel like you’re failing and losing your mind while it’s all happening.
So what does this mean for me right now? I’m getting through. We’re getting through. It will all come back when I can settle my fears a bit. And I think it will probably come back stronger, because we writers know our ideas don’t die.
When they are pushed into a dark closet they wait. They feed. They grow and change and if they are not let out, they will break down the door, screaming.