“Be ruthless about protecting writing days,” J.K. Rowlings, mother of three and author of The Harry Potter Series. “Guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.”
I don’t have kids.
But I am blessed to be Auntie Monie to my two beautiful nieces, Amari and Khila.
They live in Detroit, so I only get to connect with them over the phone or on Thanksgiving – the only Holiday I visit home.
Since I just get to see them once a year, as soon as my plane lands in the D, I happily claim responsibility for them. Picking them up from school. Helping them with homework. Babysitting them for days at a time.
We take walks, play games and I – the only adult in their lives unable to see ‘Mari and Khila Bean frequently – patiently talk and listen to them about whatever happens to be on their curious, little minds.
I recognize this is a honeymoon experience. I’ve only had to discipline them a few times — I don’t like it — and my mom, bless her heart, handles hair and breakfast duty. Still, in my ignorant, empty wombed mind, I’ve often wondered what it would be like raising my nieces full-time.
Well, if the few days I spend with them during Thanksgiving are any indication, I can tell you this — I’d be exhausted. And writing? Forget about it!
Amari, 8, and Khila, 6, have more energy than any two human children should be allowed. And the few times I did have a moment to myself, all I wanted to do was hide and veg out in front of the t.v.
Needless to say, I didn’t churn out any pages, but my time with my nieces did produce this burning question:
How do you, sister/brother artistpreneurs raise your babies AND make time to create your art?
My late mentor Judith Paige Mitchell once told me that she learned to pen novels so quickly, because when she was raising her kids, she would write in between the hours they were attending school.
A fellow scribe I met on my book tour also shared with me that he used a Word App on his cell phone to write his first novel in the car while waiting to pick up his kids from football practice.
And a friend of mine told me that she rises at the break of dawn when her husband and children are asleep… Just to write in peace.
Makes sense to me. And yes, I’m always touting the advice – Guard your writing time with your life. But when you throw kids in the mix — You guessed it, there’s a chance Amari and Khila will soon be spending summer vacation with me — I’m at a complete loss.
Fam, I need your help. What do you do?