Monday, June 13, 2011

Maternity Leave Multitasking — Finding Time to Write

Before I went on maternity leave it was suggested to me that, as a first-time mum, I may have been overestimating the amount of spare time I would have to spend on creative pursuits while on leave. “Ha!” I scoffed, imagining at least four-and-a-half months of what seemed to be “free time” stretching before me. I anticipated being able to write a blog post a day, work on my interactive social history project to pitch to the national library, knock off another couple of kids books, tap out a few magazine articles, submit some queries for finally completed works still languishing in my top drawer, and finish my long-overdue YA apocalyptic novel.

But first on the list were a few “housekeeping” items, such as learning how to animate using Adobe Flash or, better yet, how to create my own simple “apps” using the new CS Flash 5.5 once released. I also planned to convert some poetry, short stories and out of copyright content to eBooks for various platforms — as a kind of eBook sales experiment — and put them up on Amazon’s Kindle store and the Apple iStore. Then there was painting the downstairs granny flat, sanding the tricksy corners of the kitchen floor that were newly exposed after our recent kitchen renovation, and re-tiling the upstairs toilet. 

I’m sure it doesn’t take a genius to figure out just how many of these pipe dreams have since fallen by the wayside. If the lack of recent blog posts is anything to go by, just about all of them!

Now, not to make it sound like my child is a nightmare and I never get anything done —that is far from true. She is, for the most part, an angel. I have whiled away numerous lazy hours baby gazing; nappy changing; feeding her; playing with her; crying; cooing at her; showing her off to other people; sticking my fingers in my ears and going la-la-la-la while she screamed inconsolably for no reason; marvelling at her genius, beauty and sheer fabulousness; wiping the baby spew off my clothes; and just generally being “mum-ish”. 

On top of my new role, I have also managed to work on several paid editing assignments and manuscript appraisals, had a very talented musician set one of my children's poems to music to perform in schools (you can listen to it here as a sneak peek — just click on the little arrow below the cover) and wasted more than my fair share of time tweeting and facebooking (it being easier to do that one-handed on an iPhone than, say, write my magnus opum by three-finger typing on a laptop while balancing a hungry, squirming baby on my left breast). So the lack of free time to work on my own blog posts and creative endeavors is partly a result of my poor time management and my desire to minimise the mummy guilt and enjoy my little darling's first months. Having said that, two and a half months into motherhood I still find myself dreaming that I will eventually discover a rabbithole that will lead to several hours of uninterrupted  creative time (or, if not that magical rabbithole then at least a large bottle of gin labelled "drink me").

While working on the edits, I have been gobsmacked by (and more than a little envious of) some wonderfully entrepreneurial young authors who are embracing new media with fervour and seemingly have discovered that elusive rabbithole and have found the time to do a lot of the things I want to do — things I keep telling tell myself I will do eventually. Not only have they been doing this courageously, they've been doing it transparently, which makes it all the more interesting.

One of them, an Irish writer living in Sweden, David Gaughran, has just published his first eBook compilation of short stories, which hovered at rank 50 on Amazon shortly after release (up there with big-name authors like Stephen King) and is documenting his e-publishing journey on his blog (and managing to find the time to blog daily, lucky him). Those of you who are considering self-publishing eBooks should certainly check out his very informative blog Indie Publishing for International Writers, which has some great tips, advice and encouragement for “newbie” authors wading into eBook publishing.

Meanwhile, despite my patchy commitment to my blog of late, I’ve been asked to do a guest post over on Women Writers  later this month, and will direct followers to that when it happens sometime the week after next. As a result of that invitation — and now that the Dear Little Monkey is starting to be able to amuse herself for at least half an hour a day — I’m trying to get organised, get creative and get back into blogging and writing. If you are glad to see me back to my wicked writing ways, please spread the word as I continue to post, and forward or retweet anything you see here that takes your fancy. I promise to try harder this time! ☺


Sweet Scarlet said...

Great blog post Karin!

I found my rabbit hole on Sunday. I put Shane in charge of the kids, I packed up the laptop and I spent a good five hours straight at a cafe not 5 minutes from home, sipping delightful lattes and drooling over the lovely morsels in the cake cabinet opposite me!

It was heaven - I got so much done! And no internet connection meant no FaceBook or Twitter diversions.

Throughly recommend it. Maybe we can do it together sometime - you know make a date and stick to it - kind of like exercise.

Great post, am now following your blog.


Write with you said...

Thanks Elise. Sounds wonderful. Maybe as a monthly or fortnightly outing. It is so liberating to get out of the house and free from distractions like loads of washing to hang, cats meowing to get in or out, partners wanting to be fed etc. It sounds wonderful.

Thanks for following and keep those delish cakes and cupcake recipes coming. I baked yummy macadamia cookies the other day. A first for me!

Nell said...

Ha Ha! That elusive rabbit hole! Don't worry, the distractions just "change" as they get older - more washing, nightly "readers" and "sight words" and help with school projects...sigh
Glad to see you are at least getting somethings done!

annalisahorsfield said...

Ha I think every mother wants to know where that rabbit hole is. Mine is called Jay and family who want my children for a few hours. Love the blog Karin. Cant wait for the next one

Write with you said...

Gee Nell, thanks for the support. :-) I know it'll only get harder, especially if I am wrong about my whole mini-pill roulette business, but funnily enough it is a lesson in creativity in a different way. I spent yesterday morning trying on clothes in front of her (trying to decide what to pack for Port Douglas) and asking her opinion in an insane array of weird accents. (German made her giggle the most, which is understandable. She was a bit in awe of Russian. Couldn't understand a word I said in Geordie. ;-)