Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Writing, With Kids

Over the past couple of days, I've been trying to work under two kinds of pressure: chronological, and family-induced.

The first is obvious: my fellowship year is almost over, classes begin in six weeks (yeep!), and I'm still proofreading, filling in square brackets, and writing an introduction and conclusion. I'm far, far behind, and have precious little time to catch up.

The second bit of pressure is unusual: due to a series of family events and dynamics, I have been called across two time zones to babysit my five year-old nephew for five days. I love him, just like I love my six year-old niece, and he can be a lot of fun, but boy, this is one high-energy kid. He never stops, and he never plays on his own.

Here's the hilarious bit: when I explained to my mom that I'd do this, but mentioned that I'd need to head home right afterwards, and not stay around to visit, because I had to write write write, and that five days was doable, but only just barely, she said, "Well, you know, you can put him down in front of a video for half an hour and write then."

This is not mom's fault – why should she know anything about the writing process? But the idea that I could sit down, immediately start writing, and make some sort of progress knowing that I'd only have 30 minutes? I imagine that there are academic-writer-parents out there who have found a way to do just that, but I suspect that most of them get up at 5:30 a.m., and stay up until past midnight in order to get their work done.

Anyway, I managed to drag myself out of bed early this morning, head to a local coffee shop, and get 525 words of the intro written before I have to run one fun errand (more on that tomorrow!), then pick up my nephew for eight hours of being the world's second-best spinster aunt. Good news: I get to have dinner with my old friend The Lazy Gardener tonight! Whoo hoo!!!


Anonymous said...

"I imagine that there are academic-writer-parents out there who have found a way to do just that,"


"but I suspect that most of them get up at 5:30 a.m.,"

yes, sometimes

"and stay up until past midnight in order to get their work done."

oh, yes...definitely.

I would never expect a non-parent to be able to dive in and make 30 minutes of (let's face it, interrupted) time productive. I can only do it most of the time, not always. I don't mean to say it's because you're no good. It's because you haven't developed this as a survival skill. There's no changing you writing process for the afternoon, either. It just won't work.

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