Let me preface all this by saying that, first and foremost, I actually am a full-time mother. My daughter is not in day care, nor does she have a nanny or a sitter. I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to raise my own child. My husband helps out, as do my parents, but in terms of full time childcare, they are the exception—I am the rule. No matter how I feel about being a writer, my child is not an inconvenience that I feel I must manage; my objective in life does not revolve around finding an arrangement that would free me up to do more writing. So worry not, skeptical acquaintances: there’s nothing wrong with my priorities. Yes, for me, writing is a legitimate need, not merely a want, but I never allow it to come ahead of parenting.
So how do I find the time?
I have very little of it, period. On average, I can’t work much more than about two hours a day. This, however, is both an advantage and a disadvantage.
The disadvantage is obvious: it’s downright very little time in which to write and edit. And because I’d rather spend the time I do have creating and polishing, it’s my marketing that suffers gravely. Still, no matter how important it is for my sanity to wallow in my imaginary worlds (oh and how necessary it is!), I know that nothing is as important as actually being a real, everyday mother, so if she’s up, so am I—I don’t huddle up with my laptop and tell her that mommy needs a few hours to talk to her imaginary friends.
The good news is that therein lies the advantage to working under such stringent time limitations: knowing that my time is not all mine, I am able to focus better and at least try to be productive in the time that I am able to carve out for myself. I know that I literally cannot afford to procrastinate because there is no time that’s built into my week where I can just make up the missed hours. If don’t write on a certain day, that’s it—that ship has sailed. So I must stay on course.
So when exactly do I write?
Literally, whenever I can. I work past my bedtime and at every available opportunity. My brain is often working even when I am away from my manuscript or outline, playing out dialogue and settings in my head (maybe this aspect is at least partly to blame for my insomnia). I try to jot down ideas on my phone or in my handy notebook whenever they come to me. Once, I even wrote a chapter in the backseat of my car while my daughter napped. We all do what we can.
The balance of it all is delicate and hard to come by, but such is the nature of parenthood, in general, no matter what it is you do for a living. I’ll continue being a full-time mother, but I will also continue to write. I am a mother first, author second…but I am an author, nevertheless.
Born in the former Soviet Union, Marina Raydun grew up in Brooklyn, NY (where she still lives with her family). She holds a J.D. from New York Law School and a B.A. in history from Pace University. Marina’s published works of fiction include a compilation of novellas “One Year in Berlin/Foreign Bride,” as well as a suspense novel entitled “Joe After Maya.” Her other passions include singing and baking.
Follow the Author Online: