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Friday, January 8, 2010

Balancing it All

This week, I have shared with you some of the goals I have for the coming year. They aren't lofty or unreachable. Every single one of them is within my power to achieve. I've saved the most difficult yet most important one for last. My eleven-year-old son told me one time that when I'm writing, it makes him nervous. Now that wasn't exactly something I wanted to hear. After further investigation into what he meant, I realized that what made him nervous was that he had to be quiet and careful not to disturb me. Any parent who works from home expects their children to show some respect and let them do their job. The problem is, I was working all the time. He never had a chance to be loud and obnoxious like eleven-year-olds can be. It wasn't fair for me to ask any of my children to be quiet the entire time they were home. One of my goals for 2010 is to balance family time with my writing, just like I would with any other job. I'd like to keep my writing, researching, social networking, etc. confined to the times that won't interfere with my family. In other words, I want to do these things when my kids are gone or otherwise engaged. I've decided to make this my biggest priority. I don't want to make my son nervous, now, do I? So how do you handle your writing time? Do you force silence upon your house at all hours of the day? Or do you limit your writing to when it doesn't interfere with the family? Have a great weekend!

54 comments:

Jennifer Shirk said...

Awww...to your son. I don't write on the weekends at all--unless the family isn't around.
During the week, I try to get as much done while they're sleeping or not around. If the family is around, that's when I do things that don't need silence--like blogging. LOL

Julie Dao said...

That's a great goal! I don't have a husband or kids yet, so right now I can be completely selfish and write as much as I want. Someday I will have to learn how to balance it with family too. I also like peace and quiet when I write! Have a great weekend!

KC said...

great blog! i can understand how your son feels...but i think i agree with Jennifer - try to get as much done when they are not at home, so when he gets home you can give him as much attention as he need!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I've tried to force silence and it didn't work. My biggest thing is I don't want people coming up to knock on the door, but I lock myself in for hours at a time and certain members of my family do not know how to wait for anything. The past few months I just tried to be nicer. But I didn't get as much work done. Sometimes I just put on headphones and ignore a knock if it comes--and if I hear it!

Natalie said...

I've been trying to only blog and write before my kids get up and when my 2- year-old sleeps. It doesn't always happen, but I'm trying.

jbchicoine said...

Aside from other responsibilities, the only one family member I have to buy time from is my husband, and he’s glad when I’m writing—he knows how much it helps me.
I didn’t write much when I had little kids, so, as usual, I have nothing helpful to offer, but I think it’s important to prioritize. You won’t always have your kids at home with you, but you’ll always have your writing.

staceyjwarner said...

I will limit my writing to when Goom is not here or sleeping. Raising Goom is the most important thing in my life, more important than writing.

much love

Matt said...

My problem is I don't write when I most can. I'm home by myself for most of the day. Supreme writing time, but I'm too easily distracted by things like your blog. By the time I get myself ready to write, my wife's on her way home from work. Too bad I can't set my modem on a timer.

Hey! Maybe I can.

JenE said...

Right now I only write after the kids are asleep, but the hours are KILLING me. I've become Mommy Crankypants during the day. I need to make adjustments, too, but I'm not good enough to block out noise during the day.
Sorry, I'm no help!

KatieGrrr said...

Oh thats easily resolved. Just lock him in the basement.

Veronica Barton-Dean said...

I utilize my basement alot for when I'm working on a project. The kids come down and do their thing and watch TV. I do try to write either before they get up or once they go to bed, but my sleep schedule is since I'm on overnights. Maybe involve him in the projects. I don't know if he is the type. Cloudya loves to hear me talk about my ideas for projects and help do research. Her favorite is finding the pics that I hang as I find things that associate with my project!

Heather Sunseri said...

Your son is so sweet. And that is an important goal. Although our writing is important and we deserve to have some time to devote to that, we can't let it become most important. I sometimes tell my kids that if they'll give me one hour of quiet, then I'll play a game with them, or let them do something they've been wanting to do. But I definitely need to make this my priority as well, because there are often times when I put my time first, and I need to put them first, my time second. I think they would appreciate that.

I also share with my oldest what I'm writing b/c she is my creative type/lover of books/ and writer, herself. So, she likes that and it makes her a part of what I'm doing.

destrella said...

Hi Susan, I think everyone is doing some re-prioritizing this year. Awesome!

You won the iTunes gift card at my site. E-mail me at estrella8888(at)roadrunner(dot)com and I will give you the code. Happy weekend!

Stephanie Thornton said...

I only write after my daughter has gone to bed or before she wakes up in the morning. There's just no way I can enforce quiet time on both her and my husband. :)

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I write during quiet time and the evening hours. I struggled with this for awhile and found that continually snapping at the kids wasn't doing anyone any good.

I protect the quiet hours viciously.
~ Wendy

Carolyn V. said...

My daughter told me something along the same lines a year ago. I finally had to schedule out my family time and writing time. So I try to write when my family is gone, but honestly, it doesn't always work out that way. =)

SarahAnn said...

Such a good goal--family time is so important, and your kids are so blessed to have a mother who yearns to make that a priority.

We don't have kids yet, but I had to significantly switch up my schedule when I got married. When I was single, I could write whenever I wanted!

Now my husband and I take one evening a week where we each do our own thing--he likes to draw, play sports, etc. This is my time to do hardcore research, outlining, etc.

Other than that, I make him aware of my goals. For example, I'm doing the 1,000 word-a-day challenge. After dinner, I'll steal away to my "cave" and crank out the 1,000. Then no editing or anything. It's right out to the living room to spend some quality time together reading, playing games...or watching Netflix (which may or may not be defined as quality time, but it sure is fun!)

sarahnoelsmusings.blogspot.com

Karen said...

I'm not one that requires silence when I'm writing. Now that I have an iPod, it's even better. Just pop those ear buds in and I can get lost for hours without hearing a peep from the outside world.

It especially works now that I'm listening to music that reminds me of my characters. That was one of the best tips I think I've gotten!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

So I'm trying to imagine what writing in a quiet household would be like, lol. That would be amazing. Besides naptime, I write, blog, and everything with my two year old here. Half the time that means he's literally climbing on me while I'm writing.

I do try to make sure I balance my time so that he gets the majority of my attention each day, but it is hard sometimes. I think your goal is one I could probably work on too.

Tamika: said...

I reserve the weekends for family. Totally. They get my undivided attention. I don't blog, write, unless they abandon me on my own.

Monday- Friday I write early mornings before everyone rises and at work on my lunch break. In the evenings for an additional hour after the kids are down for the night. I try to limit the evenings to a strict 1 hour so I don't cut into me and hubby's time.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

I do most of my writing when I'm alone in the house. I've just set up a desk and corkboard in my bedroom so I have a seperate area to work on my revisions.

Girl in My Own World said...

Hey Susan, I left something on the blog for ya. I will be back later to get caught up! :o)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Important goal!

I can't write when others are in the house awake. So I do it all when they're gone or asleep :)

Cindy said...

I definitely understand that balance thing. I don't have a set writing time each day or on certain days of the week but I don't feel it really interferes with allowing my kids to be kids. However, I have made a point to try to start spending VERY specific time with them so that they don't take a backseat to my writing and researching.

strugglingwriter said...

The only time I can write is either when everybody is asleep or during my lunch hour at work.

Megan Petty said...

If I waited for my kids to be quiet I'd never get anything done. I have obnoxiously loud children.

I've been writing at night when they're in bed, mainly so I don't have a lot of interruptions, but also because it is quiet then so I can think clearer. On the weekends, I do write during the day when the kids are being kids. I shut myself in my bedroom with my laptop which cuts down on the noise level but does nothing to stop the constant interruptions. Since I sit in front of my computer all day while working my day job, I spend the evenings away from the computer (normally) and use that time to spend with my kids and then get back on the computer when they go to bed.

K. Marie Criddle said...

Susan,
Coming on over from Matt D's blog...what a great post for me to stumble on to! After years of writing, I STILL have no idea what my most productive creative environment is and I'm desperately searching for one (considering a new little baby's coming my way in the next few days...AH). It's great to hear all these suggestions and how other people handle communal living and life-sharing with non-writers. Cheers!

Kimberly Franklin said...

Oh the art of balancing. I'm not too good at it myself, which is probably why my husband and I eat Ramen almost every night for dinner. Yum...not!

Good luck!

K. Marie Criddle said...

P.S. I totally lobbied for your 10 word novel to win. It made me laugh multiple times and in varying levels of maliciousness. :) Mua ha ha.

Dara said...

I don't have children so I don't have to force the silence. Hubby tends to come home from work and play video games while I write (or procrastinate, as I so often do). My problem is not focusing. For some reason, it's easier for me to maintain focus when I know there's something going on around me.

Matthew Delman said...

I write when I'm at work for the most part, so I don't really have to enforce silence at all.

On the weekends when both my wife and I are home I tend to do little to no writing work, simply because I don't see her all that often during the week.

P.S. Marie did lobby for your entry to win. Because she's evil like that. ;)

Nancy said...

When I wrote more frequently than now, my children were small. I always wrote when they were in school, taking a nap, in bed or otherwise occupied in the evenings. It just seemed to work out for me.

Catherine Denton said...

I've had my kids say similar things to me. Like you, one of my goals this year is to be more balanced. Attempting to write when they're NOT around (or when they're asleep).

Anna C. Morrison said...

I used to have no choice, and had to ask my son to be quiet so I could finish deadlines for school. Now I don't have deadlines, unless they are self-imposed (which they are not), and I wait until he is otherwise occupied or absent to do my writing. I felt guilty. He's more important.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

That is a perfect goal, Susan. I usually write when my kids are busy or in bed. My goal this year is to remember that my hubby wants quality time too. I'm great about remembering the kids, but he gets left out too much. I have to change my "no kids = me time" mentality to include "no kids = US time".

ElanaJ said...

I let my kids do whatever they want -- I wear headphones. When they need me, they make eye contact and I take them off.

But I'm like you, I need more balance. I'm imposing a new rule for myself. No computer between 4 - 8 PM. This is family time, the precious few hours that we're all home together. Have I done this? Not this week. I've failed every night. This little voice in the back of my head is whining, "But they're just watching movies. What are you going to do? Sit there on the couch and do nothing? You need to revise."

And so I do. Sure, I'm in the same room with them, but I'm not really there.

So I need to do better.

Angie Muresan said...

I'm struggling with this at the moment too. I'm greatly considering renting out a studio space where I can go daily and write, so that when I'm home I can focus on my kids.

Jade said...

Well, I don't have children so I'm sure it's easier for me. I usually try and write while my husband is at work so I can still spend time with him. If I want to write when he's home, I go into my study and shut the door!

Kathryn Magendie said...

You are thinking the things I have been thinking: Balancing. I don't have children at home, but between my writing, my Rose & Thorn work, and the social networking, little time is left for just me and for me and GMR...so, I've decided to spend less time first on social networking ...it can suck up so much time, even though it's wonderful 'meeting' new people, seeing what friends are up to, learning about people and places, I find myself constantly stuck to my laptop!

I think you are a wise mom *smiling*

Melissa said...

I'm also guilty of this. I'm going to try to ignore the computer while my oldest kids are home and do my work after they are in bed. Blogging can be done while they are at school. The only other problem I have is my 17 month old crawling on me when I'm at the computer. Yeah, I need to work on balance, too.

Niki said...

Lovely post. I always feel like writing at the wrong times and when the time finally arrives that I can sit down in peace, I can't think of anything to write :o(

Tricia Lynch said...

I have really enjoyed your posts this week. We have very similar goals and I look forward to reading how each unfolds for you -- as well as tips on how you accomplish them!

I homeschool, so finding time to write when all is quite is pretty much impossible. I try to write when my kids are asleep or outside playing. I am also guilty of putting on a movie to sneak in an hour and a half of uninterrupted quite time. My main defense against the constant noise filling my small house - head phones and good music!

Leah Rubin said...

Naah, I don't believe in silence, but I also don't believe in listening to my husband's on-line tutorials (in whatever he happens to be learning at the time) blaring through the walls of his study, either. We reach an understanding by moderating the volume and closing the doors. Your son is so sweet and considerate! Happy new year!

Kristi Faith said...

I have learned to tune out the noise..uhm actually, i think I embrace it. When we first moved here, we stayed with family that had their computer set up in a different room of the house. I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't clearly hear what was going on, or something. I don't know why it bothered me. SO, my computer is in the living room and as long as they don't come tugging on my sleeve, I'm cool. :0)

Lily Robinson said...

Luckily, I don't have a noise problem here. But when I want quiet and still want Hubby's company (he's a TV addict), I put on my ear muffs... the industrial strength noise-protection kind like you wear when running noisy equipment.

That might help your son be not so nervous. Try them and maybe they can be kids while you write.

quixotic said...

Being recently unemployed and making writing my job, I'm still learning the ropes on this one. I hope to figure it out as well this year. I don't want my munchkin to feel she has to be nervous.

Dominique said...

I remember having to be silent for extended periods of time around that age. I didn't get nervous, but I know I got annoyed as a bee stuck in a glass jar. I can sympathize with your son.

I don't think I could ever enforce any silence on my surroundings, unless I happened to find myself, but some freak of the universe, alone. Then again, I don't really like silence, so I'd probably crush the silence on my own. As long as it's not too quiet or too loud, I'm fine.

Erica said...

The balancing act - yeah, that's a hard one... I forgo sleep for writing... that's how I do it, however I wouldn't recommend it! I have a hard time writing with other people around - weird I know- so I may have to adjust this someday when I have children :o)

Good luck with figuring out the right balance o)

Word Designer said...

I love that you have put your family first. I think you will always do best when you know how to balance your priorities.

Wordy
Word Designer

James Oh said...

Wishing you a success

#167 Dad said...

I often find myself grading papers, blogging, and writing with my kids in the room. Don't know how I got to this point but I dig having them around...

WhisperingWriter said...

I tend to write more when the kids are sleeping. I do write a bit when they're awake but only when they're distracted by the TV. I know that probably sounds bad--but I'm still in the same room with them and I won't be surprised if my novel has references to creepy songs that they sing on Yo Gabba Gabba since that's what my two year old seems to love to watch these days..

lauraabest said...

When my kids were small I often wrote at night or when they were at school but there are times when you just have to get somethging down regardless of the mayhem that is going on around you. In the past, I've stolen moments for writing amidst the noise and confusion. It is often a juggling act when the kids are young. Now mine have allleft the nest and it is no longer an issue.

Denise Burks said...

I'm going to walk away from the computer right now! It is 4pm and I am still in my pajamas!!!

You are right.

Balance!

Denise Burks

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