Writing With Children Underfoot

I was supposed to post last night, but I was running around all day preventing mishaps that involved children. Once bedtime rolled around, I looked like this…

(Wait, the kids are supposed to look like this at 8 p.m., not me…)

So today’s post is for those of you who write books with children underfoot. I started (seriously) writing when my first son was two. Now I have two children, almost-six and almost-two. And I’m writing even more. And I look like this…

My group blog member Elaine is fond of lists, and so I thought I would share my list of strategies and “things” that have been useful when writing with small children underfoot:

DROPBOX. I have Dropbox on my laptop, iPhone, iPad, and work computer. Having Dropbox on multiple devices like that means that I can quickly type in a scene, sentence, or even a word when I have a second (and sometimes it’s truly just a second or a few minutes at the most).

A ROUTINE. I work part-time and pick up my kids after they have lunch. We then have quiet-time. My youngest one naps while my older one does his homework (or quietly looks at books – okay, okay, sometimes I’ll let him watch a movie). I use this time to write. I think that most writer-parents would agree that when children eventually give up their naptimes, it is cause for doing things like this…

(… but don’t forget, quiet time is as equally doable.)
A PLANNED ESCAPE. I used to feel terribly guilty about this one, but I finally came to realize that my children do enjoy playdates and even their babysitters. I got into the routine last fall where I was leaving the house for two hours a week and escaping to the coffee shop to write. I’m actually out of this routine this winter, but this post will hopefully remind me to get back into that routine again. And this leads to the next thing on my list…
DEDICATED TIME. I made the mistake of trying to write when my children were TRULY underfoot. And then I found myself getting annoyed when they asked for a snack. And for a drink. And then another snack. And another drink. But getting annoyed with them is my red flag behavior – it means I’m trying to do too much and that I need to slow down. So I have time with my kids where we go and do fun things and time with my book characters where I am more of a recluse. Kid-time and writing-time can overlap a little bit, but in general, they need to be separate (for me, anyhow). The same applies to time with husbands/wives/partners. I often write at night, but I also make sure I set the laptop far far away on certain nights for some quality time with my hubby.
Oh, right… this was supposed to be about children. Well, children, husbands. Very similar at times.
Last thing on my list:
What about you? Do any of you have a small child or small children underfoot? Or larger children? Or terribly demanding dogs? What strategies do you use to get in your writing time during the day (or night)? 
This is important, you know. Because kids grow up quickly and before you know it, they won’t look like this:
(And yes, they are playing with Legos)
(All photos were obtained from Wikimedia Commons except for the last one, which was taken in my living room last summer.)

5 thoughts on “Writing With Children Underfoot

  1. OMG, I feel like this post was written for me~ I just had my second little one (we have 2 teens as well) and I'm finding that writing time just isn't happening for me. And if it is, I'd rather sleep in order to retain a sense of non-zombie-ness (technical term). Thanks for the strategies!


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