It’s about 9:00pm right now, and we just got our little one to bed about an hour ago, after several protracted potty adventures. Yesterday, I caught myself saying, “Get busy pooping, or get busy sleeping,” as if I had landed in some crazy toddler version of The Shawshank Redemption. Actually, an all-toddler remake of The Shawshank Redemption sounds pretty awesome. Or maybe I’m just that crap-happy these days.
Amidst all of this, I am getting some writing done, somehow. For the next month and a half, while my son is still in preschool, I’m still on my schedule of three mornings a week for writing, with two hours of actual sit-down time during each session. But when preschool ends, we have him signed up for summer camp, and that will be FIVE days a week, with four hours of writing time during each session, even more if it’s a day I don’t need to drop him off in the morning. I’m finding it hard to believe that I will soon have all of that time at my disposal. Might I actually have the opportunity to write AND accomplish some minor household tasks? At first, when this idea entered my head, I chastised myself for even thinking of devoting my precious time to something other than writing. But really, I’m not the kind of writer who can sit down in front of a laptop for hours. I have to get up and do other things, to give my eyes a break, and to allow my brain to focus on something else. Because it’s when I’m doing those other mundane things that my story problems manage to solve themselves. It’s like those people who get their best ideas in the shower (while I am always forgetting whether or not I just put in my conditioner). I get my best ideas when I’m pouring a fresh cup of coffee, or emptying the dishwasher, or folding the laundry. Diversions are part of my writing process, as much as roughing out a first draft or jotting in my writing journal might be.
However I end up spending it, I am SO GRATEFUL for this extra time — or for any free writing time at all, really. For the first two years of my son’s life, I was with him every hour of every day, and that was (mostly) great, but it left me with no time for creative thought. I tried working early in the morning or late at night, but I found I had little to no creative energy. Thankfully, my husband would take the baby for a few hours on the weekends, and I’d use that time to get away and write my heart out. Because while being a parent (especially the at-home parent) is unquestionably fulfilling, there comes a time when we need nourishment — and no one is going to be waiting around to give it to us.
Late last week, I found out that I didn’t receive the grant I’d applied for a few months ago. (Add another one to my CV of Failures!) It was a grant specifically for creative parents. I’ve tried not to let the rejection bother me, but I have to tell you that it does bum me out a little, because the money would have given me one less (BIG) thing to worry about. And not being chosen feels like someone out there is telling me I’m not worthy. But really, all I can do is keep working, and finding ways to afford the precious time I have to do what I love. That’s all any of us can do, right?