Trying to write with kids in the house is my life right now since they are home on summer break.
Some days it’s super easy. Some days it’s impossible. Most days it’s a mixture of both.
The average day with my three kids (ages 6, 4 and 2) is some sort of rendition of this:
and me being like this:
Then they are all:
and I’m like:
Then they come back with:
and I go:
Okay, just kidding about that last one.
But really, it’s not the easiest thing to get creative work done when you have kids at the house.
I’ve found a few tips that help me get things done.
- Make a schedule. Figure out what needs to get done that day and set realistic times in which you will be able to accomplish it. Do you need to grocery shop, write 1k words, revise a chapter and fold laundry all before cooking dinner? Schedule it out!
- Don’t try to work through meal times. Just stop what you’re doing, make them lunch and sit down and eat it with them. They need too much during meals and you’ll just get frustrated if you’re trying to go back and forth from writing to cleaning up a spilled drink.
- Don’t rely on the TV. Now don’t get me wrong, movies/shows are a great tool for you to get work done. What I’m saying is that you should try to save it for the afternoon or for short bursts (if your kids don’t take naps anymore.) That way, you get a good hour or two to work without them bugging you. However, if the TV has been on all day, they won’t pay attention to it anymore and you’re out of luck. Netflix is awesome for finding movies they’ve never seen that can keep their interest.
- Call in the troops. If you have a deadline that you MUST meet, then you’re going to have to find a sitter. If you can afford it, I would encourage you to find a reliable babysitter to come once a week. If not, try to see if a family member will come by and pick up the kids or stay with them while you head out to a coffee shop. Sometimes you just can’t afford to have any interruptions and the only way to guarantee that is to get out of the vicinity of “MOMMY!!!!!!”
- Set daily goals. This is THE most important thing for me because if I set a goal, 90% of the time I will work until I get it done. That may mean coming back to it after the kids are in bed (or before they wake up – but I’m not a morning person so that seems like torture) regardless of how you get it done, as long as it gets done, you’ll reach your goal.
Everyone has their own particular way they can get things done with kids in the house, these are just a few of mine. I also copyedit, transcribe and intern at a literary agency in addition to writing and so I use these tricks a lot!
The biggest thing is they’re your kids. They are only this age for so long. They’ll only desperately need our attention for so long. Time flies and we writers sometimes need a reminder that we can’t just live in the worlds we create. So when the kids interrupt you for the millionth time in 20 minutes and everything in you wants to go:
Just remember to:
Because the last thing you need is to give them any more fodder for hating you when they are teenagers.