(Today’s post is by a good friend of mine, and fantastic writer-stud, James Ninness, and is on a subject I’m sure a lot of stay-at-home authors are very familiar with. James is the writer of the really spiffy webcomic, MYTHOI, from Semantink Publishing…check it out!)
The Tribulations of Writing at Home by James Ninness
Kids are be time consuming beasts.
All the whining and jumping and playing and eating and pooping and peeing… To say that personal time is rare in the presence of spawn is a gross understatement.
For parents with a nine to five, a career can be solace. Eight hours away from the non-stop whirlwind of post-procreation rearing can seem like the most relaxing time of the day.
Unfortunately for stay-at-home writer/parents, there is no such alleviation.
It is difficult enough for writers to stay disciplined. It can seem like we have to force ourselves to sit down in an isolated area, avoiding the temptations of Facebook and Twitter in order to hash our a few words that may or may not supply a bit of income. And that’s without kids. Throw the unstable, everyday nasty of children into the mix and the harmony of wordsmithery is thrown almost infinitely out of balance.
But it is not impossible.
If you are one of the writers of the world, using your children as an excuse to remain unproductive, the truth is, harsh as it sounds, you do not really want to write. Those who want to write make time to write. That’s all there is to it. It may sound like I’m oversimplifying the situation, but it truly is as simple as it sounds.
I have two children, both girls. One has existed for almost three years and the other has been breathing for almost twelve months. Thankfully my children are cute — not in the way every parent says their kids are cute, but genuinely cute — so I don’t hate them. My wife works a nine to five, leaving me to the general care of our cherubs for much of the day.
During this time I have still managed to work on five comic books, six short stories, two film scripts and a series of side projects. I’m not bragging. To the contrary, given my lack of fame, yet modest financial return, I am placing myself in line with most people’s worst-case-scenario. If I can do it, anyone can.
Getting the writing done requires a great deal of flexibility. Some days I wake up at five in the morning to scratch out some script work before my wife heads off to work. Other days I am up into the wee hours of morning after the monsters have been put to bed. The bottom line: I make time because I have to. If I don’t make the time I won’t get the time. If I want to write, that isn’t an option.
Avoid the distractions. Stop buying video games. Don’t use your kids’ nap time to catch up on your favorite DVR’d sitcoms. Consume every minute you get in front of your writing device, transforming the minutes into words. Eventually you’ll end up with something resembling a finished work. It’s all about putting the small moments together into a polished work.
Writing is easy. Throwing words together and calling it a story is a very basic concept that requires little more than a basic understanding of language and button-pushing. Being a writer is a far different experience. It requires willpower and stringent conduct to produce on a timetable efficient enough to meet deadlines while simultaneously developing a quality product on a regular basis.
It’s not unlike parenting. Almost anything with genitalia can reproduce. However, being a good mother or father takes a great deal of patience, love and understanding.
I’ve met plenty of parents who write. They’re a dime a dozen. In order to be a inspiring as both parent and writer one has to make time and remained both disciplined and discerning in every minute of the day. As I said before, it’s simple but it is not easy.
You’ll need help. If you have a spouse, or anyone else to help with the kids, develop a plan with them. Come up with a schedule that works for all parties and stick to it.Take the help that is offered to you and use the time you get wisely.
Kids are time consuming beasts. So is writing. Thankfully life is little more than a string of seconds, minutes and hours.
Use them wisely.
James Ninness is a San Diego-based writer, husband and father. He has released few books through Semantink Publishing (MYTHOI, DUST, The Heaven’s, Drace Grey, and The Undergrounds) and is currently working on more comic books, short stories, some television pilots and a dabble of film scripts. James have wrote a few short films, including AMIRA which took home the Gold Medal for Musical Excellence in a Short Performance Film from the Park City Film Music Festival.
James received received his degree in English: Creative Writing from Cal State University Long Beach in 2007 and has been attempting to make a career out of that degree ever since. He loves meeting new people so feel free to drop him a line, follow him on Twitter or add him on Facebook (links below). James also has a blog wherein thoughts drip out of his brain and onto the interwebs, so take a look at that as well.