Mama Writer: the Nanowrimo edition.November 23rd, 2009 at 22:38
Every now and then I have to stop and remind myself “…with a three month old baby.”
For everything. It used to be “…with a newborn” and then we were counting week by week, but somehow now we’re at “…with a three month old baby.” (she’s three and a half now, but who’s counting)
In the last month and a half or so I have completed major edits for Power and Majesty, my first adult book with a major publishing house in, um, ten years. (I was busy!) I wrote several new scenes for said book. I finished the draft of book 2. I have written nearly (tomorrow!) 40,000 words. I am (ha, just barely) keeping up with the demands of a small business.
“…with a three month old baby.”
When I express frustration about how I’m not writing as fast as I’m used to, or not getting enough done, or dropping any of the dozen balls I have in the air at any one time, someone whether it be my honey or one of my very good friends, reminds me that, you know, there’s a baby there. And she’s entirely dependent on me.
I used to do weekly updates on how I was managing to get back into writing, juggling that with the whole issue of being a new mother all over again – sleep deprivation, marathon breast feeding, stress of dealing with older sibling… a lot of those issues have melted into the background since then and yes, I am managing an average of 1667 words a day (though not a lot more than that) which is way more than when we started this latest crazy journey.
This week, she even started this really bewildering pattern where she sleeps through the night until 6am. I KNOW. Somehow it makes me feel sleepier, though. godiyeva suggested today that I was probably losing my adrenalin-cope-with-sleep-deprivation-superpowers and have to function like a normal person which is so hideous I can’t contemplate it. Possibly I need more sleep.
So anyway. I’m out of survival mode and into real person mode. But real person mode still comes “…with a three month old baby.”
Saturday’s writing morning was disastrous for many reasons, but one of which was that the baby woke up and needed a feed in exactly the one window between various pieces of chaos. Sunday we went to Mures down by the docks and she got cranky enough that she had to come out of the pram and into the baby pouch – where she slept while I pounded out the words, but I have to say having many kilos of baby strapped to your front is not the most ergonomic way to type. Today I went to godiyeva‘s place for our usual Monday morning write-in, and Jem just – couldn’t settle to it. Cot didn’t work, quilt on the floor didn’t work, bouncer in the door frame (waves guiltily at my honey) worked for five minutes until she realised I wasn’t going to actually sit on the floor making faces at her the whole time…
Eventually I had to give it up as a bad job and come home. Everything is easier at home. But between the stay-at-home mum thing and the isolated writer thing, it’s very easy to end up self-trapped because you just can’t bear the thought of getting the baby in and out of the car one more time… (last time I didn’t have a car, eeek how did I stay sane?) It’s made harder by the fact that Jem, after beautifully accepting expressed bottles through her first month (and my painful week of mastitis) rebelled against it and still won’t go back to drinking from bottles. Which means I can’t leave her anywhere, with anyone, for any length of time. Ever.
Three months ago, writing more than 100 words a day (if that) was unimaginable. Two months ago, I had managed my first 1000 word day, but 500 was a more comfortable maximum. NaNoWriMo has forced me to up my game, and has provided yet again a lovely network of people to hang out and talk writing with (IN PERSON) which was something I desperately needed at this point in my life, without even realising it.
It is possible. It can be done. Not just with a three month old baby, but with a four month old, and a five month old… not to mention the nearly-five-years-old big sister, who may be able to eat real food (ha) but brings her own challenges with her.
It can be done. Contracts to fulfil. Deadlines to meet. Books to write.
“…with a three month old baby.”