Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Making Time

Sometimes, people ask me, “Melissa, how do you find the time to be creative when you have two kids?”

This is generally the cue for hysteria-tinged laughter.  Because finding time is not something I do.  I carve time ruthlessly out of the flesh of an angry T-Rex while clinging to the side of an out-of-control bullet train with one broken arm and an alligator clamped onto my leg.  And now that I’ve written that, I need to draw it, because those are the rules of this blog:

More specifically, for the first year after I had my first baby, I didn’t find time to do creative things.  It was the first time since I was about 7 years old that I wasn’t working on a book, and aside from taking some sporadic notes on certain ideas I had for a later project, I was practically creatively dead.

If you’ve ever had a small baby who never wants to be put down and NEVER EVER SLEEPS, you might understand why.  I actually learned to surf the internet with my toe while nursing.  And I got voice software, but let’s say the technology was far from perfect.

Things got a bit better as the baby got older.  Then, finally, my kids went to school, and suddenly, for the first time in years, I actually had a few hours a day to myself.

Quickly, I learned that if I wanted to get creative stuff done in the extremely limited time I had available, I had to cut almost all other leisure activities from my life.  I allowed myself virtually no movies, TV, or internet surfing; limited social media; and even (sob) drastically reduced reading time.  It was tough, but it let me get a little writing in every day.

However, I may have overdone it a bit.

Finding a balance where I could fit things like hygiene and actual time with my husband into a day along with parenting and creative projects was difficult, but at times I managed to succeed for a while... though it meant never getting to experience many things that sounded wonderful, like Zombieland or Downton Abbey.  (For the record, I do mean to correct those sad gaps in my cultural education at some point.)

Then employment struck.  Now I work for the entire time my kids are at school.  When they come home, I have to help them with homework, spend some good mommy time with them, make them dinner, bathe them when possible, and get them to bed at a reasonable hour. When they’re in bed, I finally get to write...

...Or do I?

And what have we learned today?

Chasing down a bullet train while clinging to a T-Rex is way cooler.

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