Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Guest Post: The Battle for Time by Natalie Rivener

As a stay-at-home mom (of a toddler), it’s really a serious challenge to find the time to write. If my (adorable) little girl isn’t awake and demanding time/food/love/a change of diaper, I need to do the laundry, make dinner, pack away toys and projects, feed the cat, feed myself, prepare my dance classes for the week (I teach), get in some exercise…or at least a little yoga, spend a few minutes with my husband (usually, we just lie semi-comatose in front of the TV) and then catch a few winks before the next day comes around.

You’re probably thinking that it can’t be that bad. You do a lot of these things after a full day at work. But, let me tell you this, trying to do everything on that list in the few moments that your little bundle of love actually takes that one golden nap in the afternoon is no picnic. When your child is awake, you have to stop the little monster from maiming themself, you have to get food into them, get them clean, supervise as they eat some dirt in the garden, keep the cat from mauling them, get in some educational time (learning words and all that), play with them and battle with the little squirt to get them down for a nap.

So, how do I get anything done? It’s all about learning how to use the time you’re already using for something else.

While my little toddling disaster is actually playing on her own, I get out my notepad (no, not a little laptop, I mean old school paper and pen – toddlers just love insisting that typing aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa is much more important than whatever you had in mind). I plot, I plan and I try and think through all the brain-twisting logistics of my stories. If I can concentrate for long enough, I even start full on writing. If you use this time effectively, you’re ready to make some serious progress during nap time.

During the golden (aka silent) hour that toddlekins is napping, I have to decide whether I’m doing what I’m supposed to in order to keep the house functional or whether I’m sneaking off to my computer to type as fast as my fingers can go. Right now, I’m not preparing dinner…or watering my garden or taking out that nappy that’s brewing up a smell storm by the front door or tidying up the living room.

At the end of the day, when I put my little girl down for the night, it’s prioritizing, round two. Do I get in some decent sleep for once? Or do I “quickly” update my various social platform statuses/tweets/posts and try and get my word count over 500 for the day? “Quickly” tends to take around two hours. But you’ve got to keep your fans interested, right?

About the author
Natalie Rivener is a member of the Pretoris Writers' Group. She is taking part in the STORM anthology project. Her fantasy story, BEYOND, will be published as part of STORM Vol I in June 2014.

Twitter @NatalieRivener
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