Writing with a Newborn

The first thing that everyone, without exception, does when you tell them that you’re expecting a child is offer advice. Sometimes they’ll disguise it as a story from their times as a parent or caregiver and other times they pretend they heard you ask them just so they can tell you. It’s a little annoying, but it’s harmless and, to be completely honest, I’m certain I’ll do it to someone else when the time comes (or I already have!).

For writers, it’s no different. While Ren and I received, and continue to receive, everyone’s general opinions about fussiness, diapers, and corporal punishment, my writer friends have only ever said one thing:

“Good luck finding time to write.”

Now, I’ll admit that my first several weeks with my beautiful bundle of joy was exhausting. She’s perfect in every way, but she is still a baby, and baby’s in those first few weeks can make every day feel like you’re walking through mud. Exhaustion is real, my friends.

BUT! Once she started to learn us and we started to learn her everything began to gel and I started to wonder what the heck all of my writing friends meant. I managed to meet two anthology deadlines without any problem.

While I still haven’t written anywhere near as much as I would have hoped to have written by this point in 2018, I will proudly admit that it has nothing to do with my daughter. My procrastination in my writing has been entirely the same as it was before she was born.

“Hey there, Mr. Novel-in-Progress! How are yo- Oh, look a (Netflix show, phone game, Youtube video, cat that needs petting, or butt that needs scratching)!”

Writing is one of my favorite things to do, but my biggest problem in writing has always been me. Once I sit down and make myself start typing, it flows easily and I can get a lot of words down. It’s that initial “making myself sit down and start typing” that’s the hardest part.

And that has nothing to do with my daughter.

To that point, there has been adaptation. I don’t expect to sit down and get four straight hours of writing in the middle of a Saturday. Instead, I adapt. I write when she naps, or I write when she’s gone down for the night. In contrast to the myth, having a child doesn’t require 100% of your day. She does require 100% of your love and attention when she’s awake, but if she’s napping next to you looking all adorable, there’s no reason you can’t pop open your laptop and let her be your writing muse!

I’m only speaking from the position of a parent who’s only child is under 6 months old. It’s likely that as she ages and and her needs change I will find less and less time to write.

The good news is that I don’t believe any of that.

I believe that as her needs change I’ll adapt my writing schedule and style. I’ll still procrastinate but I’ll also evolve as my daughter grows.

“Good luck finding time to write,” is a nice sentiment, but it implies that my not writing is her fault. That’s not true at all or we’ll have to blame Netflix and Cat-petting as well. Nope, my schedule and how I find time to write are entirely on me. I’m responsible for when the words get on the page, and I’m responsible for when they don’t.

That being said, I totally wrote two more chapters in the next Andrew Doran novel last week. You’re welcome.

I love my Peanut. Her and Ren are the best Muses a guy could ask for!

–MD–

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