Guest Blog: 5 Tips to Balance Writing With Childcare


Soooooo! In answer to my Call for Guest Posts I do have a selection of posts for you from various sources. These fabulous people have been kind enough to take time out of their days to write up a little something for this blog because I’m so crazy busy! You’ll see these pop up over the coming weeks so be sure to keep coming back!

The first post of the selection is kindly written by Roger Colby and a post I particularly like (it has to be said) since it contains tips that I may well be able to use myself. And it begins with a truly adorable picture!!! Awwww. 😀
Thank you very much, Roger!!!

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I am a father of four, and as Ileandra Young is about to bring twins into the world and knows full well, children can to some extent put a damper on the fire of your writing time.

My oldest child is 12 and my youngest is 6, so over the past few years I have come up with some ways of taking care of their needs (and they are many) while not compromising my daily regimen of 1000 words per day.

1. Nap time is your time – I have not raised twins, but my first two were 14 months apart. When one was fussy the other was asleep. We had to get them synchronized so that my wife and I could rest. Even though I was exhausted with my second child (she literally cried for three months straight when we brought her home) I always found time during their naps to at least churn out some writing. At the time I was heavily writing short stories so I could usually get a rough draft or an outline done in about an hour or so.

2. Rely on your spouse/significant other – Yes, I am male and my wife is the ultra mom, but I would have to take care of the little ones to give her rest on an equal basis. When she was taking them or when we were not both playing with them or making dinner or washing clothes or cleaning, she would give me time to write. However, I would then give her time to go to her mother’s house or to go to town and unwind or just take a nap. We managed to work out a schedule for both of us that allowed us to have “me time”.

3. Rely on Grammy and Papa – Grandparents are awesome. We could once in a while leave our little ones with them and go out together to keep the romance alive. We would also use this time to spend apart with friends or for me to spend time writing. The important thing is that you spend plenty of time together so that you remember why you fell in love in the first place. However, this time could also be used for writing.

4. Night time is the right time – Once children get on a regular sleep schedule and sleep through the night (children must be trained to do this) you can spend time, if it is only an hour, to write. Fight sleep. It’s tough when you’ve been taking care of tiny babies all day, but it takes discipline. If they sleep all night it is a plus. You will have quiet when all go to bed. I still find this time to be optimum for me and my kids all go to bed at 8pm.

5. Early bird gets the worm – And yes, if you just can’t stand up after taking care of the kids all day, then by all means crash, but set your alarm to wake up an hour early to focus on writing. Get a cup of coffee (quietly so as not to wake the little ones) and get busy. Work until they wake up, but shut it down immediately. I also would keep a notepad handy throughout the day so that when an idea flew into my brain it wasn’t wasted to the lands of forgotten memory.

As a final word, I would like to say that the above tips are only possible if you practice discipline in your life. It is tough to juggle your novel with other things in this world. I guess this is why most Victorian novelists were well to do and didn’t have to work a day job. It will take dedication on your part, but above all you should not neglect the duty you have as a parent. Those children are your priority. Sometimes the novel can wait, but don’t let it wait too long. Balance is key.

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About Ileandra Young

I'm a thirty-*mumbles* year old (purple loving, cheese worshipping) author of fantasy, juggling a pair of beautiful twin boys with my burning desire to make up stories and write them all down. When I get the chance, I play games, listen to music, and in days long past I even ran a radio show. Though I occasionally write non-fiction, my heart lives in fantasy and my debut novel, Silk Over Razor Blades is now available through Amazon along with part two of the trilogy, Walking The Razor's Edge.
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9 Responses to Guest Blog: 5 Tips to Balance Writing With Childcare

  1. Wonderful tips, Roger! I have a preschooler and a baby who just outgrew colic, and I’m struggling to get writing time. I live by rule #1, which is why my house is messy! One other key, for me, has been to train myself to write in short bursts. Fifteen minutes is better than nothing!

    Like

    • My house has never been so tidy! My mum got a but crazed in making sure everything was clean, tidy and accessible.
      It won’t take me long to wreck it though. :-p
      At that point, these tips will be beyond value. ^_^

      Like

  2. rogerdcolby says:

    Reblogged this on writingishardwork and commented:
    Wrote a guest blog article about balancing writing with the demands of 4 children. Go over to ileandrayoung.com to check it out!

    Like

  3. These are great tips. I wrote all of my books after my kids were born. As a professional storyteller, my schedule was flexible. I still toured with one kid at home–my sister came with me, and so did my baby. But when the second one came, it was too much, and I stopped taking all but the best jobs that would take me out of state. But when you have kids, there is an additional motivation to write–as much as you love them, it is an accomplishment you can claim for yourself even as you work it around their schedules. We were also very lucky to have my mother-in-law just around the corner, eager to babysit.

    Like

    • Virginia says:

      Naomi, that is really inspiring. I have a young family also and everyday I aspire to show them that you can work towards your goals no matter what.

      Like

  4. 4amWriter says:

    Wonderful tips. I’m a mother of two, and I wake up at 4am (if you couldn’t figure that out by my username) just to get my writing in. Everyone is different and there will be lots of false starts, but if you stick with it, then you’ll find out what works best for you.

    Yes, I LURVE GRANDPARENTS! 🙂

    Like

    • Finding that balance is going to be really important to me, I imagine. I still have ideas crawling around my head that need to be written down (and I was certainly up at 4 am last night!), but i’m going to hold into them for a little while.

      Like

  5. Pingback: Challenge Day 5; Writing And Childcare – A ReBlog « Poeta Officium

  6. Pingback: Challenge Day 5; Writing And Childcare – A ReBlog « Poeta Officium

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