Babies operate on their own schedules, and good luck trying to dictate anything different!
I learned that more quickly and painfully when my daughter decided to cut what is usually a many hours- or even days-long process of arrival down to two hours. Of course, I knew this about babies years ago, but knowing something in theory is not the same as knowing through experience.
This does not mean I can’t have a writing schedule, but it does mean that my schedule follows no clock.
My little one has something of a routine. She wakes me up for the day most often between 6 and 7 am. Stages of eating might be interspersed with time in her play gym. She can keep herself occupied for up to half an hour or so, which gives me a chance to run around and get things done. As much as I’d like to use that time for writing, I use it for other necessary things like a bathroom break, making coffee, and shoveling food into my mouth before she realizes that mommy is eating when the baby is not.
A couple times, she’s played long enough for me to write a few sentences in the current story or get out a blog post. But I can’t count on that time.
This cycle of eat-burp-play, repeat as necessary, takes an average of two or three hours, often with a few eyelid inspections thrown in for good measure. Eventually, when she judges herself sufficiently full, she will sleep. And sleep and sleep.
So long as I’m holding her. And since this is generally the best time to write, I’ve become rather proficient at one-handed typing.
Afternoons? Well, I’m back at the day job three afternoons a week, for now. (Jury’s still out on whether I’ll have to revise that down.) The rest of the afternoons fill up quickly with visits and errands and attempts at cooking and chores.
Evenings are the crankiest, fussiest time of day, so my only other regular chance to write comes after she goes down for the night. If I can stay awake!
I managed a grand total of three sentences last night before falling asleep over the keyboard.
Yet despite being acutely aware of my limited time, I have more days when I don’t take that morning opportunity to write. Wise time management has ever lost out to my procrastination habit, and the phone now provides me with endless distraction when the baby tethers me to a chair.
Though perhaps – just perhaps – some subconscious part of me knows those are also my only times to sit and stare blankly, as this borderline introvert/extrovert occasionally needs.
Or maybe that’s just another excuse to procrastinate.
In any case, I’m learning how to fit writing with her schedule and it hasn’t entirely backfired. Yay, me!
And yay for a baby easier than I could have imagined.