I’ve been a freelance writer since 1999, the year my first child was born. Juggling “new mommy duties” while building a business was enough to drive anyone to a nervous breakdown, but it was worth every effort. After a lot of sweat and toil over the years, I’ve found some very workable solutions toward keeping freelance writing from becoming a distant memory on your resume.
I’m a mother of three, a five year old boy, a six year old step-daughter and a seven year old boy, so finding creative ways to keep my children from feeling neglected has been priority. Here’s what I’ve come up with over the passed seven years “in the field.”
We’re quickly approaching summer vacation and, with that, comes excited children. The last thing they want to do is sit inside hearing you repeat, “hold on, I just need to finish this sentence.” When I’m up against the wall with multiple projects and the children are home, I find busy work for them to complete with me that fits closely with what I’m doing. My children love writing, reading and art projects so this has worked to my advantage.
I’m lucky enough to live close to a playground equipped with a lot of activities, picnic tables and barbeque pits. If you leave the house around 10am, stay through lunch and return home around 2pm you’ll have nearly four hours of quality writing time while the kids are burning off energy. Pack all your assignments, writing supplies, cell phone (if you have one), laptop (if you have one), sun block, bug repellent and a picnic lunch.
I work when the kids are asleep, too. This could be first thing in the morning before they wake up or last thing at night after they’ve gone to bed. Back in the days of nap time, I would write during that period as well. If planned correctly, I could find at least two or three hours of writing time. This may seem exhausting or like the “last thing you want to do,” but soon you’ll wonder why you hadn’t started this practice sooner.
Other times when writing doesn’t really seem like something you’d be working on:
* while the kids are cleaning their rooms or doing other chores
* while the kids play in the yard (set up a mobile office on your picnic or patio table)
* while in waiting rooms (this could be up to an hour’s worth of writing time)
* while on hold (I could easily find two or three hours per month doing this)
* while the kids are away at a play date
* during “special movie time” or “special cartoons” (that’s what we call this time in our home because we don’t spend a lot of time with the TV on)
Utilizing these three strategies, in addition to the others briefly noted, will help keep your freelance writing business successful while you’re raising your children alongside of you. These methods have been tried and tested by yours truly and I can say my children hardly notice I’m working ever since I’ve implemented them.