Tuesday, April 15, 2008

When Real Life Intrudes

Once upon a time, I had all the free time in the world. I could spend days reading, writing, playing around on the internet. Ahhh....

But then, my husband and I thought maybe, just maybe, it was time to have kids.

After my daughter was born, it seemed I still had quite a bit of free time (what were all those other parents talking about? Never a moment's peace?? Bah - I had a lot of moments!) My daughter was a good napper, once I could convince her that she wasn't going to miss out on anything by sleeping. Her naps were 2-3 hours (in one block of time, no less), and I was so sad when she was old enough to give them up. But then school started, so instead of tiptoeing about my office so as not to wake her, I had the house to myself for almost 3 hours.

But by then, my son was here. A good napper - but in shorter bursts. Okay, no problem. Work around it.

As they grew, it seems my time has been whittled away. There was once a time when I was up until the wee, wee hours of the morning. I'm a night owl by nature, so going to bed at 3AM was nothing.

'Cept I can't do that now. By midnight, I'm actually getting sleepy. Eeek.

Of course, back in those days, I wasn't published. I wrote when I wanted to, and didn't have to worry about things like edits and deadlines. Now, I have edits and deadlines, and not nearly enough time.

I'm almost finished with the FLEs for Eden's Pass. My son helped. He sat on my lap while I worked - and we took the occasional Noggin.com break (he loves the video clips from The Upside Down show.). So, we worked out a deal. He'd let me do a few pages, and then we'd watch a clip. Then I could do a few more pages, and so on.

He's pretty good about leaving the keyboard alone -but the mouse pad fascinates him. He's gotten good at closing the windows I need, and opening the ones he wants. There's always about six different things open at once - from internet pages I'm using to double check word origins, to the various email programs (how many email addresses can one person actually have? I have three - though I only use two for the most part), to Noggin.com. Not to mention the Word docs I have open.

So, I've learned to adapt. I write around naps when I'm not on deadline. When I am - like now - my husband is great about keeping the Boy occupied while the Girl is in school. It's one of the perks about being married to a union guy - when he's between jobs (like now), he's always around. It can be a drawback during a particularly long layoff (like now) - but this one's not so bad because there's a lot to be done around the house as well. And he's very understanding about my having a deadline. He knows these edits have to be in on time.

And when it gets close to the actual deadline, I have a strict no one bothers me unless something's on fire or someone's bleeding from their eyes policy. For the most part, I can work around most of the chaos - but when I've got three days and one hundred pages to fine-tuning, the blood and fire rule is hard and fast.

I know a lot of writers who complain about how no one in their household takes their writing seriously. That's not the case in my house. I'm grateful that my husband takes my writing as seriously as I do. And the Boy's too young to understand, but the Girl is terrific that way as well. They give me space when they can, and when that just isn't possible (like this morning, as I watched Shane and David from The Upside Down Show for the tenth time) I find ways to work around it.

Though, I do miss being up into the wee, wee hours. There's no peace like the peace of the middle of the night....

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