My children go to a fabulous school. Not only do I love the school, but I sincerely cherish the time when they are at school and not talking to me. (Love them so so so much but why does everyone have to be either talking to me or touching me 24/7?!?) Anyway, the point here is that I try to write and do work while they are at school. I do this because it’s a lot better for my mental health.
This weekend, I took part in a 5K walking and writing challenge with one of my fantastic writing groups, 10 Minute Novelists. The idea was the walk (or run hahahaha) 5K and write 5K words in a 24 hour period. 24 whole hours! Easy peasy! I’m here to tell you that it is not easy peasy because I have little kids.
I started my 5K on the treadmill on Saturday evening. This was great. Except that my children stood right next to the treadmill watching and asking “is it my turn?” every ten seconds. I was very relaxed. When the children weren’t actively driving me nuts, the special needs cat was. Look, sometimes if you see a tiny kitten on the side of the road on a bridge, you should pick it up. It sounds like a nice, decent thing to do. Unless that cat happens to be Rugby. We nursed him back to health, bottle fed him, and put antibiotic drops in his eyes three times a day for weeks. The thanks I get is that he terrorizes my whole life. If ever I see another kitten on a bridge, I will keep driving while I pretend not to notice the little rat. Someone else can be a do-gooder and rescue it. I’ve learned my lesson. Anyway, he kept trying to kill himself and me while I tried to walk. Eventually, I caught him and locked him up. He only scratched me three times in the process! Little angel.
Then I got to the writing portion of the day. I’m sure if I go back and read the 5K words, it will make little sense. I imagine it’s just words. Child. Carpet. Yelling. Spilling. No. Stop. And maybe some of the middle grade story I’m working on thrown in there. I also had to stop every thirty seconds for someone to tell me what they wanted for Christmas.
Me refusing to make eye contact with child: Yes?
Child: Is Santa coming tomorrow?
Child: I want a bouncy house, a full-sized Spiderman, a light saber, all the Thomas trains-
Me: You already have about 70% of the Thomas trains.
Child: I still need them. And I want…
(At this point, I tuned out. Again, it will be interested to see if I transcribed the list into my novel.)
My husband agreed to give the children a bath while I wrote.
Me: Okay, you can start baths now.
Ten minutes later.
Me: Bathtime! *typing furiously*
Child: I want Shopkins for Christmas.
Me: I don’t know what that even means. Hey HUSBAND?
Me: Husband? Are you running the bath? (Not a real question bc I don’t hear the bath…more of a suggestion.)
More husbandly silence.
*gets up and stomps to the tv room*
Husband is asleep in the recliner.
*loses mind and yells at everyone until they are all at least in the bathroom*
*writes furiously and barely finishes 5K with five minutes to spare*
The lesson here is that the 5K write/walk is totally possible! It was fun and lots of people participated so it was a very supportive atmosphere. It might have been easier if fewer people needed to talk to me all day but that is the life I’ve chosen.
The other lesson is that if you hear of a mom with young children writing a novel, you should be extremely impressed. Like sending them flowers impressed. Or buying them a new car impressed. Because it is not easy. Writing = hard af. Writing with children = go ahead and reserve my spot in American Horror Story Asylum.
I do feel a bit proud knowing that I could write 5K in a day. Can I do that every day? Hahahaha. No. Not until someone builds me a soundproof room.