A year and a half ago or so I decided I was going to try to chronicle both my wife's pregnancy and life as new parents. I chugged along for a while, bursting with ideas. Every single moment of our new life was suitable for a story. At the very least, I was preserving these moments for myself, even if no one else read or enjoyed them.
But, you know, there's a job and there's a baby and there's a house and sometimes I even like to see my wife. The time for reflection starts to fade away. It happens in those few minutes before I manage to fall asleep or while I'm driving to work.
I will never be able to write in the morning. I think the belief that you're most creative in the morning is a completely valid one, and I find that a lot of the ideas that come to me on my morning commute are the best ones. But the Appleseed wakes up whenever the Appleseed wants to wake up, and Nicole works long days, which means I'm often getting him ready the morning by myself. I could get up at 3 AM and still never find a half hour of time to write.
So I have to write at night. The Appleseed needs more sleep than I do, even if he refuses to accept that reality. But he's not a fan of sleeping through the night and, again, when he wakes up for good is a crap shoot. The only safe thing to do is to go to bed as early as possible. In a perfect world, we try to go to bed early enough to get 8 hours of sleep. We never get them.
This ultimately boils down to about 2 and a half hours of time between when the Appleseed goes to sleep and when I do, assuming I'm not living on the edge and staying up later. But in those two and a half hours I have to get all my daily activities done. I have to eat and maybe make my poor, overworked wife some food, too. There are dishes. There are all the various cat things (litter box, food, hairball treatment). There are any number of various and sundry other tasks that need to be addressed after a day stuck in a cubicle and my morning and evening spent hanging out with the most wonderful baby in the world.
In the end, I'm probably left with an hour. I have an hour to do whatever I want, and often what I want is to do nothing at all. I want to surf the internet and watch TV. I want to read comics. I want to do anything but sit down at a desk again. And I can't even imagine trying to write, particularly with a countdown looming over my head telling me how long I have until I have to go to bed.
So when am I supposed to get any writing done?
There's one piece of advice that every professional writer and professor I've ever had any interaction with has given out and it has always killed me a little bit: write every day.
I suppose I do, to a certain extent. In some way or another, I suppose I put words down in a Word doc. The problem is that I don't know how much progress any of those words are making, I don't know that they're moving me forward.
But I suppose this blog isn't necessarily moving me forward, either. Or is it?
If I want to make myself feel better, I can claim that any writing is worthwhile writing as it's working out the writing muscle. I think there's some validity to that, although it would be easy to point out that I could be working on my books or short stories instead. But it's not realistic for me to be able to do that, say, at work, whereas blogging I can squeeze in.
There's also the simple fact that, aside from perhaps Facebook where I'm only writing status updates, this blog represents my public face. The easiest way to find something written by me is to look at this blog. That's kind of freaking me out as I type it, because this is just a blog, and more often than not I barely manage to catch all the typos. Still, I suppose this is a decent snapshot of my writing world, if nothing else.
None of this answers the question: when am I supposed to get any writing done? Because there's really only one answer: I have no freaking idea, at least in any structured sense.
So I bought a cheap laptop with only enough memory for Word docs so I can write anywhere. And I'm trying as hard as I can to get myself in front of the computer for at least a little bit of time at night. But it's so hard when you know your time is limited, that no matter what you might be doing or how well it's going, you're going to have to stop because you have other responsibilities now.
My son will be one soon; maybe I'll get this figured out by the time he turns two.