By Melissa Gijsbers
I am a single mum. I have two gorgeous boys and I have a day job. I'm also a writer. Managing all this takes a lot of juggling.
I've read a lot of articles about writing and how to fit it in - set regular writing time, set a number of words per day, have a special spot for writing, and so on. The problem with a lot of this is that they don't seem to take in to account the curve balls that life throws in your path.
For me, as well as all of this, I have a 9 year old with glandular fever. That's a lot of juggling. There are also days when I'm so tired, no amount of sitting and willing the words to come will make them come. One day, I even tried meditating to calm my mind, this resulted in a lovely 2 hour nap, but no words on the page.
I dream of the day when I can be a full time writer, but that day is quite a while away. Until then, I must juggle.
Some of the things I do to snatch writing time include:
- Carry a notebook - there are times when I'm waiting for school pick up or a doctors appointment or any number of other times when I'm out and about and have five minutes. Often a story idea will pop in my head and I can write it down to use later.
- Work on something shorter - while I would love to write a novel one day, now is not the time. Instead I'm working on shorter pieces such as flash fiction, chapter and picture books for kids, and blog posts. This way I don't lose momentum and go off on a tangent the same way I would with a longer piece.
- Keep the laptop on - I rarely turn my laptop off. This way I can write a few words whenever I have a spare minute or two without waiting for the computer to load up and log on.
It's not a perfect system, and there are days when even this doesn't work, but I'm getting there slowly. There are some days when I need a complete break and give myself permission not to write at all. It's amazing how much easier the words come when I've let myself have a rest and a good night sleep.
Melissa Gijsbers lives in Melbourne and writes in between working as a bookkeeper and being the mother of two active boys. In August 2013, she had 3 fractured fairy tales published in Teapot Tales: a unique collection of fairy tales. She has also had Christmas stories published in Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit from Around the World, and Tales by the Tree: An anthology of Christmas Flash Fiction. Follow her writing journey at www.melissawrites.com.au