Monday, May 19, 2008

Things You Need to Get Things Done

If you've been a writer and a mother for any length of time, you know that there are things that you need or lean on that give you just a couple minutes of space so you can get your work done. TV is a popular choice, but of course, we could let our kids veg out for hours on that. Video games, too.

I admit that I’ve let my son play those in excess. But he goes through bursts where he would really play them all day long… and then he doesn’t touch them for a month. I think the binge playing isn’t doing too much damage! At least I hope note… I heard a rumour that his dad lets him play a few more adult games. We stick to Star Wars or Spiderman…

So here’s my ‘set up’ for maximum writing efficiency:

1) A great neighbourhood where you can kick your kid outside and let him play with neighbourhood kids. We actually pay more rent than our place is worth because there are at least five other townhouses in our complex where we know M can go play and the same number of friends who will come over and entertain him, and sometimes even his little sister.

2) A backyard, no matter how small. Ours is about 20 feet by 20 feet, fenced. It’s not huge by any means. But we put up a little gazebo so there’s mostly shade. My office (slash the living room and the kids’ playroom) is connected to the backyard via big patio doors, so the kids are in the backyard, but also just feet away. It’s like another room… yesterday we put out the outside chairs and moved the play bench outside… all things that had been taking up space in my office/living/play room all winter. The picture to the right is E, reading to herself in the backyard with her bear. I took this photo from my desk chair. No telephoto lens. ;0)

3) Good weather. Boy, Mother Nature and I have had our go-rounds. Waking up on the morning of a deadline when you were SO counting on good weather but instead it’s raining and your kids are inside, staring mournfully outside and wishing that they could go play. With the gazebo tent they can go out in a drizzle, but every once in a great while there’s this torrential downpour and it’s freezing butt cold and no one wants to venture outside at all.

What about you? Do you have something that helps you get writing done? A trick, a crutch, a technique?


Carolyn Erickson said...

My tricks include being a night owl and having a door on my office. (But oh, I wish it had a lock! ;-D)

Obviously when my daughter was younger, I couldn't shut her out (no telling what she would get into), so I saved TV time for when I *really* needed it (telephone interviews). We had a selection of videos she loved. (I like Veggie Tales!)

Kai said...

My kids are older so the only time we have conversations about 'mummy working' is o the holidays - at which point I switch my reading time for my writing time - so I write in bed and on note pads( during the day), and I read during the day, whilst at the park with them.
The kids also both know that if I'm on the phone asking me for something will lead to swift grounding, so they just don't any more :).
Another trick, though not neccisarily kid related is two fold. One - I disable my internet once a week for a whole day (usually a Friday, so as not to interfere with my other half's wow addiction) or remove myself from the modem permission list - and just write. No internet, no email...its bliss in short bursts :)