While stories and characters and ideas flow around in my mind all the time, catching them and committing them to paper and ink (or, rather, screen and pixel) can be a challenge these days. I’m learning how to make the use of minutes (or seconds!) instead of hours. Oh, how I used to be lazy with my time. I’d take hours to stare at the laptop screen in front of me while revising a manuscript and when my muse didn’t strike fast enough for my liking, I’d wander into Facebook land or idly browse Pinterest. You know, “for inspiration.”
I think this can only improve my work since it must be so focused as a result, but it is certainly difficult to keep continuity of thought. I’m not sorry, though. In fact, I wouldn’t change a thing.
See, there’s a new little man taking up a lot of my time and attention these days (in fact, he’s the reason I haven’t blogged since September, as my last few months of pregnancy and then postpartum were difficult), and he’s worth every minute of this creative challenge. It has made me so much more appreciative of the struggle others face to balance their family and creative work. For me, writing is my passion, yes, but it is also something I hope to make my full-time job one day, and as my infant son takes most of my time and attention right now, I’m learning how to use my few minutes of downtime to write. I’m also blessed with a husband who cultivates my creative side, which makes things a little easier. Earlier this week he sent me out to a coffee shop with a pen and a notebook so I could have some uninterrupted time to work on plotting a new project I have under way while he watched our little one. I’m very excited about this story that wants to spill out, and I am so grateful for that hour. I made good use of every minute!
There are other moments I have free, of course. In fact, I’m currently blatantly disregarding the sage advice to “sleep when the baby sleeps” so I can write this blog post while he dozes in his swing. And then there are the times we go out for a walk and I push his stroller and hash out details of the new idea while circling the neighborhood.
I do fantasize of technology that would allow me to mentally write an entire scene while out on one of our walks, without resorting to awkwardly typing on my phone with one hand. Or looking like I’m talking to myself while my iPhone takes bad dictation through the hands-free microphone on my ear bud cord. I mean, I am talking to myself. But I’d rather not look like the crazy mom on the block.
The new project is set in the near future. Maybe I should just invent this technology in the story. It would be so satisfactory. Somebody should have it, even if it isn’t me in the present day.
But for now, excuse me … the baby stirs …
Don’t be surprised if concentration is a problem for now. I swear I lost some precious IQ points when I was postpartum, both times. You may not find this to be the case (lucky you) but if you do, know that it will pass.