I used to think I was highly organized and extremely disciplined. I finished a screenplay every year. I regularly went through my closets and bookshelves and gave away stuff I no longer wanted or used. Birthday cards got mailed, and Christmas shopping got done. I kept neat to do lists. Everything was under control. And then I had a kid.
Here’s what I learned post-child: sometimes it’s better to go with the flow then regulate your life. It’s amazing how fast you can a) eat, b) go to the bathroom and c) eat dinner when someone with very large lungs really needs to either eat or go to sleep right this second. So quite a few things fell by the wayside for a couple of months.
When my son was four months old, I was fortunate to win a screenwriting fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. I used the money to pay for a babysitter and membership to the Writers Room. I parceled out my creative time in 3-hour increments. I rediscovered my efficiency. I had to finish my pages and get home. I realized in the past that I hadn’t been very disciplined at all. I had just had a lot of time.
This past year I’ve had to rethink my schedule again. Stretched between marketing, blogging, touring, freelancing, parenting and writing another book, I had to push myself out of my comfort zone and try new things. I started writing at night, which I always said I could never do. I got up really early to write (something I remember doing in high school to study Calculus). And I wrote in short bursts during the day instead of having the leisure to write for hours at a stretch.
This summer, my attempts to put my head down and write the third Lydia McKenzie book have been stop and start. Unfortunately it’s been mostly stop. My son no longer naps, but bursts into my office every few minutes to tell me things. But I’ve discovered that occasionally hanging out in kid time is restful and can be good for the creativity. I’m not stacking up pages, but I am getting lots of ideas while swinging on the swings for an hour after dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first to make a schedule as soon as school starts, but for now both my son and I are a lot happier without one.