After Page One: Finding Time
A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire
A few years ago I was deep in the mama trenches with my two boys – the oldest four and the youngest on the cusp of his first birthday. Desperately seeking some semblance of myself in the day-to-day chase of life, I blindly decided to try NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), committing myself to writing and finishing a 50,000 word manuscript in one month. At first, I was exhilarated by the idea. I told friends and family so I couldn’t back out. I set up a space to write. I proudly declared it time for writing as soon as the kids were tucked into bed. I brewed cups of tea and in the warm circle of a desk lamp each November evening I booted up my cranky old laptop and dug in. It felt romantic and crazy and scary and fun.
And then, about a week and 9,000 words in, reality found me.
The kids were sick. A family member died. My littlest turned one. I caught the bug the kids had. Thanksgiving travel approached. Finding time and motivation to stick with the writing was tough. I often came to the page angry, tired or despairing that I didn’t have anything to say. But I kept coming back. I had to. I’d committed to it. I’d told people. I’d told my kids.
Each and every day, no matter what was happening or how late when I finally sat down to the keyboard, I’d crank out the word count. At some point, I realized the story I was building was seriously flawed and not the story I wanted to tell anymore, but still I pressed on. One day, I discovered characters I didn’t realize I had in me and found hope again. Thirty days later, somehow, I finished.
During NaNoWriMo, I didn’t write the great (or even semi-decent) American novel. What I did do was prove to myself that I could write something from beginning to end. I realized that making time for writing wasn’t a luxury, but a necessity. That most of the time just showing up to the page was enough. That making my writing a priority was something the entire family had to do, not just me. That my creative life is worth nurturing and protecting.
Novembers have come and gone since then without my participation in NaNoWriMo – a new job and elementary school demanded more of my schedule. But I would consider giving it a go again.
As a busy mom, finding quiet moments to write is a challenge. Having any energy left to tap the creative self when I find the time only compounds the challenge. Sometimes it takes a gimmick or a dare or a bet or an insane commitment to get started.
Whatever it takes, it’s worth it. It’s time to make time.
Editor’s Note: Learn more about National Novel Writing Month here. Do you plan to participate? Leave a comment;we’d love to follow up and hear about your success.
Join our After Page One series. We’re looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we’d love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude. The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll publish a short bio so readers can learn more about you and your projects.