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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Writing – Mothering – Balancing

February 27th, 2012 at 10:35

It occurs to me that the blog has become less and less personal. I write a lot of pop culture essays, and put up links, but I don’t talk much any more about process, or my writing career, or even personal everyday stuff.

I’m not sure why that it – the process stuff I understand, because I’m so wrapped up in the -aargh- phase of finishing my new novel that I’m not ready to talk about it. And, you know, my kids are cute and all, but there’s only so many pictures I can post of them dressed as Doctor Who characters.

Still, I’d like to continue talking about home and domestic stuff, if only to continue my theme of – hey, writing and parenting, go together pretty well but it’s HARD sometimes.

I didn’t work this weekend at all. I often don’t – taking weekends has been a big and important step for me, and one I’ve only come to in recent years. Partly it was deprogramming from the PhD years, and partly a symptom of working from home – I’ve always been self-employed/freelance/creative and that means you never have a structured day off. You have to make one.

As a parent, the weekend is the time when I have a fellow parent home all day, and there’s a lovely decadence in that. Baby smells whiffy, there’s a 50-50 chance I don’t have to deal with it! But because of that, I regularly slip into the bad habit of assuming I will get more done on the weekend than I actually do, and feeling on Monday like I’m WAY BEHIND which is stressful and horrid.

Also there’s the thing where, during the precious Nap Hours that still occur most days (that’s when the 2 year old naps, not the rest of us), my seven year old daughter quite reasonably expects that sometimes we’ll do something together. Something Jem-free. I had no qualms about telling her to go read a comic or something, Mummy was busy, during the school holidays, but now she’s back at school, there are very few Mummy-Raeli-Jemfree hours.

So I try to keep my expectations of the weekend to a minimum, unless I have a dire deadline. This weekend, once I got the head’s up that we were going to have crazy 35 degree days with it not cooling down much at night (a rare occurrence in the Tassie summer) I decided that okay, I wasn’t going to try to get ANYTHING done this weekend at all, except for maybe catching up on my bookshelf reading.

Which was fine except that I forgot I do have a daily wordcount quota to reach – this is not a particular ‘writing this thing’ month for me, because of school holidays in the first half and working up to my big Fury revision (apparently I need to take a run up) but I had a bunch of small projects to work on so my plan was, starting from the 11th of the month, I would write 500 words a day on fiction.

My overall goal for the year is 200K of fiction, but that’s based on 25K a month from April to September (my sustainable active novel writing target) and then a successful Nanowrimo in November. However, writing 500 words a day from the 11th to the 29th (on things I had to write ANYWAY, chapters for a co-writing project and short stories, mainly) meant I could get a 10,000 word head start on my year.

And, this weekend, I fell down on it. Because 500 words is so small, I can manage it mostly with an hour or so (sometimes more, sometimes less) of concentration, or a whole bunch of 15 minute bursts of concentration, and there was no concentrating happening at all this last weekend. Mostly it was icypoles, Doctor Who Monopoly, and endless baths for the children to make up for the fact that they couldn’t go outside.

But with only a few days to go before the end of the month, and a hard deadline for one particular short story, I panicked yesterday evening and drilled out the 1000 words (on the right thing!) in a moment of adrenalin fuelled madness.

Sure, it doesn’t sound like much. It’s half a good Nanowrimo day. But I am out of practice, and it was hot enough to melt everything between my ears. So I take that as the victory it is.

I really need to finish that short story today.

But I don’t know yet whether my after school babysitting option is a go or not, and the difference that makes is an extra 2.5 hours in my day. 5 hours, or 7.5 hours. When you also need to clean the house, cook the dinner, catch up on a week’s worth of email and… and… and…

Really, I don’t have time to write this blog entry. But unlike everything else I have to do today, it’s finished!

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One Response to “Writing – Mothering – Balancing”

  1. SF Tidbits for 2/28/12 - SF Signal – A Speculative Fiction Blog Says:

    [...] Tansy Rayner Roberts on Writing – Mothering – Balancing. [...]

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