Please welcome Nancy Parker, a freelance writer and former nanny. Below, Nancy provides some tips on balancing the writing life with the family life.
What most people don’t understand about people who write for a living is that writing doesn’t end with the normal 8-5 work schedule. It’s one of those professions that rarely stop at all – you can never tell or control when that elusive inspiration may strike, and writers have the blessing – or curse, however you look at it – to get all-consumed in a project once inspiration comes a-knocking. This works out great for writers as individuals, but can be pretty frustrating for family members who value a more structured schedule. So how do you manage to find a balance between writing and family?
- Keep a notebook with you at all times
It can be an actual notebook that you write down notes in, it can be a “notebook” on your computer or an app on your phone – so long as you have something to jot down an idea quickly when you’re out and about and can’t sit down to write. This way you won’t lose any great ideas but you also don’t have to sacrifice what you’re doing at the time.
- Figure out your best writing time of day
Whether you’ve really thought about it yet or not, every writer has a time of day where they are more creative. For some it’s in the early morning hours before anyone else is awake, for others it’s during the traditional work hours of the day, and for some it’s late at night when everyone has gone to bed. Whatever the case, you have to determine the time that works best for you and designate that time as your personal writing time.
- Set aside specific times to write
Once you’ve determined the best time of day for you to write, set defined hours that you will be writing. Let everyone know that during those hours you aren’t to be disturbed. This way you’ll have a certain amount of time – whether it’s an hour or five – which you know you can dedicate to getting some work done.
- Get words on paper daily
Even if it’s just a few sentences, you should strive to write down something every day. This way you’re continually growing and improving as a writer, but not necessarily taking out huge chunks of time day in and day out to write, which will allow you time to focus on your family as well.
- Be flexible
Just as you need to set aside certain time to write, you also need to set aside time to be with your family. Making sure you’re meeting your family’s needs is the most important, so by scheduling the time which you’ll be writing you’re allowing the rest of your time to be dedicated to your family. And it’s ok to write less some weeks to focus on your family more – you have to be flexible to their schedules as well.
Being up front with everyone from the get-go is the best way to figure out a schedule and determine when to write and when to focus on family. The juggling act of family and writing is a tough one, but once you find the balance between the two they can exist harmoniously.
Nancy Parker is a former professional nanny. Now she loves to write about a wide range of subjects like health, parenting, child care, babysitting, and nanny background check tips. You can reach her at nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com.