With a demanding part-time day job and a baby at home that doesn’t like to sleep at night, I have had it uphill to find energy and time to write. I don’t know how people with full-time day jobs manage – and I know that there must be people out there that do manage.
So, how do I keep sane? An important part has been sharing the burden with my husband. There are no grandparents within practical distance, so we are on our own. We both lose grip on things from time to time but, thankfully, not at the same time. Also, my husband is fully aware of what I dream of in life and he supports me in it by treating my writing not as my hobby but as my job.
Having that down, what do I do practically to stay sane and keep writing? I have boiled it down to three simple activities:
(Reminds me of Eat, Pray, Love.)
1. Sleep. Our baby doesn’t go to bed too early and wakes up with us (and several times during the night), so sleep is scarce and bad, but I make a point of going to bed as early as possible. No late-night activities.
2. Write. I squeeze in writing whenever I can. If I don’t write for too long, I get kicked out of balance and that starts a vicious circle that leads to even less writing, less sleeping, and less exercising.
I have developed the ability to turn on and off the tap of creativity on demand. I never thought that it’s possible to be creative in such a practical manner, but it is. It just takes some getting used to. I have thrown out any “writing rituals” that I had before. They are simply a waste of time. I just grab my computer and do my thing.
3. Exercise. Exercising is almost impossible to do in a structured manner. I am a late riser, but I do manage to go to yoga once a week early in the morning before my husband has to leave for work. That’s it. The rest is taking lots of walks with baby and climbing the stairs at work rather than taking the elevator. This is a huge decrease from what I was used to pre-parenthood (swimming several times a week, long hikes). But that’s better than nothing, for a wise lady (Michelle Huneven) once said in a video I watched as I took an online writing course that if your body is shabby, so will your mind be.
Now and again, I break all of these rules. If I don’t, I will go insane. The important thing is to keep writing. Somehow.