A lot of people have asked me how the hell I wrote Tumble with a 3 month old baby. The answer is simple: I didn’t.
By the time my son was born (five days late so I had 7 weeks on maternity leave) I had already written the book and it had gone through about 10 drafts. I kid you not. Once the newborn craziness had stabilised somewhat I felt sane enough to contact an editor to take this seriously. I had been thinking about self publishing for some time and knew I wanted my book to be at it’s very best, so I had begun researching who I wanted to edit my MS. I emailed Elise with a brief of my novel and what I wanted done and lucky for me she took me on. We discussed a rough timeline (I send the MS, then she has it for a week, then I have it for two weeks, then back to Elise etc) and just as I was about to agree I ended up back in hospital for a week. My baby was 6 weeks old and I got appendicitis and another week in hospital.
After emailing Elise to explain I was back in hospital and on pain killers and I thought it best we hold off on the editing until I was off the drugs, I gave myself a further two weeks to recover before I sent it off to her. This was December 2015 and I knew I wanted my book to be released in February or March 2016 at the latest.
In between this I was working with a designer (more on this later) to work on my cover. All this in between feeding and playing with my baby and in between morning and afternoon naps (for bubs and me). I would like to state to the jury that there is no way I could have written the book with a newborn. Yes we were blessed with a baby who started sleeping through from 8 weeks ( I don’t say that flippantly we know how god damn lucky we are) but even though I was getting sleep in a block, it appeared my baby brain did not leave my body when my son did.
The simplest of tasks like writing a text message tired me, I could only read one page of my book and not understand a word, and I had no idea what was going on outside my door let alone being able to write a novel but over time that has changed. I have always been someone who has been most productive while they’re at their busiest – I don’t recommend having a baby to test that theory – and I had the time as I was on maternity leave so I thought what the hell?
After my son was born I realised how much time I had wasted before he came along. I’m a pretty efficient procrastinator but having a child changes that. Gone are the days of hours passing with me doing nothing but writing or researching. Now, I’m lucky if I get one hour uninterrupted. I have become a morning person because I have been forced to be one. I get up at 5am to get in 1.5 hours of writing time before my son wakes at around 6.30. This 1.5 hours is purely for novel time, no social media, no emails just solid writing. And guess what? My novel is coming along faster then when I wrote without a baby.
Now, I’m not advocating that you go out and get pregnant and poof! Novel! When I wrote Tumble I worked on it whenever I felt like it. Before work, after work, sometimes on my lunch break, and whole Saturday afternoons because I’m a cricket widow and I lose my husband to a game that takes two weekends to complete. But there would also be large chunks of time that would pass where I wouldn’t work on it at all. I had the luxury of no real deadline until two lines on a stick gave me a deadline.
But now the window of opportunity is so small, I can’t be the A+ procrastinator I once was. I love that most of my day is taken up by my son but because I have limited time to write I have to MAKE the time and take it when it’s offered to me, however big or small that gap may be. As an example, this post has been written over a couple of days, squished in between naps, washing, dishes and eating.
My theory is I never know what my day is going to bring so if I start my day writing and if the rest of the day turns to shit and the most accomplished thing I’ve done is feed my son and my dog, so be it, because I snuck that writing session in. I miss long writing sessions when you get on a roll, but I jot down my idea, leave my writing in a spot where I can easily pick it up next time and get on with my day. So how the hell do you write a book with a baby? Simple: you sacrifice sleep. Or TV watching time. There are 24 hours in a day and I intend to make the most of them.
Over the next weeks I’ll talk about my self publishing journey as well as introducing you to some other pretty awesome indie authors.
One thought on “Writing…with a baby”
Oh I love that phrase ‘until two lines on a stick gave me a deadline’! Great story about how it all happened to produce your baby and book baby 😉