In the meantime, in between time, a friend--okay, Pam again over at Starbucks--shot off a little link-a-doodle about "12 Musts of Blogging." Currently, I follow about, err, zero of them. Some are technicalities that I haven't gotten off my "to figure out" list. Others are things like "be patient" and "be consistent" and "have a focus." Not sure if I'm nailing any of those right now.
Why do I mention both this Bloggin Guru and Stephen King? Well, it's that consistency thing. Both seem to think I should be writing more often.
I'm gonna' make a bold call right now, which might just be an excuse: I bet both these guys aren't the ones taking care of any kids in the house.
I don't really know about Blogging Guru, but Stephen Kind mentions having two children in his book, and at least has the grace or good sense to make a passing comment about his wife's writing, saying that she'd have broken through if she had 2 more hours in the day, but she has the same 24 as everyone else. (I believe Tabatha King may have some books out there--and surely, by now, she has some good connections, lol!--but King makes this comment discussing his early, not-yet-mainstream career.)
About 6 months after my daughter was born, I went to a local writing workshop entitled "Writing for Money," or something like that. (I'm guessing the workshop made the money, at $100 a pop, but I was desperate to get out of the house and feel human, plus there was another published writer there I was stalking, and it was worth it: I managed to get one article published in a local parenting mag. I think I broke even.) The keynote speaker was Michael Ruhlman, a guy I'd call a "foodie writer," except really he writes about much more; non-fiction journalistic stuff that reads like a story. Anyway, I sat next to him with my own copy of Soul of a Chef and had him sign it, so I was feeling pretty cool. Soon after, he gave the keynote address.
Honestly, I don't remember much of it, lousy listener I must be! I do remember him talking about his day. It sounded pretty damn idyllic. Do some yoga in the morning, have a nice breakfast, write for 4 or 5 hours, break to make an elegant lunch in gourmet kitchen with skills acquired from interviewing Thomas Keller, do a couple hours of revisions and marketing stuff, wind down with a cocktail and some nuzzling with the golden retriever.
Yes, I'm exaggerating. Some.
My day at the time looked something like this: Wake up. Nurse baby and change. Eat breakfast. Try solids. Fail. Nurse baby. Start laundry. Put baby down for morning nap. Do some transcription from random side-gig I'd picked up. Baby up. Nurse baby. Stick baby in exer-saucer in bathroom and shower. Get dressed. Try feeding baby solids. Eat peanut butter sandwich one handed. Take call for side-gig. Turn on the "Wiggles" while doing interview; eventually throw napkins at baby and make funny faces while finishing up on phone to keep her quiet. Ignore mess of napkins on floor to go play with baby in family room. Ignore mess of toys in family room and mess of napkins on floor to go fold laundry.
I'm not exaggerating. Nope. Pretty much not.
So I raised my hand during the Q&A time. While other folks where asking all sorts of writer-ly questions like "how do you find your material" and "do you like adverbs?" and stuff, I asked this:
"Umm...you mentioned having two kids. What are they doing during all this?"
I think he said they were in school or camp all day, or discreetly being nurtured by a sexy, off-stage au pair. We had a brief back-and-forth on the age of his children, and the age of my baby. Finally, Mr. Published Keynote Speaker said, "Oh, six months? You won't really have a whole lot of time to write until your kids are around eight."
Eight. I actually can't recall if that was the exact number, but it was something like that. Basically, I got redeemed by a professional for claiming (okay, implying) that finding time to write was really, really challenging with young tots underneath. So no, over the past 9-ish years, I haven't had the Stephen King/Blogging Guru discipline that these pros have advised. I've been busy. Raising a family. But if you are a mother looking to find some time to write--maybe 15 minutes a week, say--here are some tips:
1. Skip showering. Your kids probably don't notice, and it's kind of over-rated.
2. Skip blow-drying your hair or putting on makeup. People don't see you when you write.
3. Order pizza. Cuts down on dinner prep.
4. Ignore the laundry.
5. Win the lottery.
6. Let your kids watch Go Diego, Go! (If you're really kickin' it, let 'em watch a few.)
7. Install an iPad keyboard at your sink. (Let me know how that works.)
8. Pretend to "color" with your kids, but actually write.
9. Have your kid dictate stories to you; sometimes they come up with stellar ideas.
10. Fill the sink with water, pull up a stool, and let the kids have at it. This will buy you up to 20 minutes. It might destroy surrounding cabinetry, but hey, it's for your craft!
Until then, to all you genius mommies who