Who can write? Don't you know it's summertime?

Posted on July 20, 2013
It's summertime, and that means two boisterous kids running around the house begging for attention, fighting with each other, asking for meals, making messes, cleaning up messes, day trips to the park or pool or playground sprinklers or....

How do I get any writing done? The answer to that is simple: I don't.

It's close to impossible to switch your mind to a creative mode when your children are in the house with the radio or Xbox or Wii blasting through the walls or the television tuned into another rerun of Diary of a Wimpy Kid on cable.  And I can't just ignore them and hope they keep themselves busy and not burn down the house. I want to spend quality time with them since it's summer and they're home full-time for only two months, two weeks, and three days...give or take a day. Who's really counting anyway?

I've recently discovered myself buried under a mountain of guilt because I went from writing from 9:30am-2:30pm weekdays, the time the kids are in school, to writing less than one hour per week. I should spend at least a couple of hours writing every day, trying to finish my next novel or pouring out those short stories I scribbled notes about. If not writing, then I should work on some marketing or other aspect of the writing business. Just one hour a day would make me feel better.

But at six or seven in the evening, when my husband comes home from work, it's all about dinner, a few baths, some small talk about our days, and maybe a family hangout session in the living room. By nine I might have some time alone but by then I'm too exhausted to think straight. I didn't take the nap I so desperately needed at one in the afternoon after we spent the morning at the pool. If it knocks my kids out, the little monsters who I swear eat batteries when I'm not looking, imagine how I feel trying to keep up with them. I didn't have that second or third cup of coffee at four to keep chugging along because I was helping my daughter with her model makeup for the pretend game show she's about to host in her bedroom.

Even with my son sleeping on the couch and my daughter playing quietly up in her room, I still couldn't turn on my creative juices. At any moment my son would wake up and ask for something to eat, or cry because he had a bad dream, or bug his older sister and start a fight. This anxiety is an anti-muse, a painter's canvas ripper, a writer's pencil snapper. It's worse than a distraction. At least a distraction or a tangent has you doing something productive.

This anxiety has me so edgy that I'm afraid to open my documents in the fear that I may get so absorbed in my writing that I won't notice the fire alarm go off or the basement flooding.  My kids already do the, "Mom...I'm talking to you...hello?" hand wave in from of my laptop when I don't acknowledge their presence on those few moments I submerge myself in creativity. Let's not even talk about THAT type of guilt piled into my shoulders; the "you're a bad mom" guilt badge we mothers tend to put on ourselves. That's another discussion for another blog entry.

Even now, as I rant on about not having time to write, at one in the morning, I still can't start it off because I know what will happen next. I'll finish at a point where I'm not comfortable finishing because the birds start chirping outside my window. Time speeds up and what seems like twenty minutes will be more like five hours and before I know it the sun is rising. I won't have a chance to sleep for another sixteen hours at least. I will break night, be cranky the rest of the day, scream at my kids for no reason, and possibly have a melt down in the middle of Burger King. So, instead, I write on my blog to give me a sense of artistic accomplishment.

Does ranting count as writing. I vote YES!

So, tomorrow is Saturday and we're going to Sarasota for a week. I know I won't write for the duration of our trip, because my kids will be with me the entire time, but hopefully I'll be able to sneak in a Margarita at four in the afternoon at The Hub Baja Grill while the kids nap at the booth next to us. Something about constant sun exposure, beach running, and salty breezes puts these kids to sleep in the middle of the day. Thank goodness!

Until school is back in session and I have my regular five-hour schedule, my writing career will be as slow as the sea snails we find along the shorelines at Siesta Keys. Well...maybe slower.

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