How do you cope when your routine is interrupted?

It’s the end of school holidays, and I’ve managed to get very little done in terms of writing-career progression or children-fun time progression. It would make complete sense to work towards accomplishing small goals in each area: an hour in the morning for work then an hour to the kids, a morning for work, an afternoon for the kids. It seems so simple!

We’ve all heard of the buddy system, but have you heard of the bud-i system?

When you go to a theme park and you want to go on a roller coaster, you grab your buddy, you egg each other on, and you keep an eye on each other so that you won’t get lost. When you get off, you’ve had your ups and downs, but you feel like you’ve done something. Gotten somewhere. This is what writing is like for me when I’m following my routine.

But with the bud-i system, my routine has been interrupted. It’s very much like going on those nauseating tea cup rides. I would come on with you, but I just ate a hot dog, but I like to keep my lunch down, but I  find it really rude placing my butt in crockery that a giant might have to drink out of one day.

Whatever the reason, with the bud-i system, you feel you are going nowhere, stuck on loop, feeling sick when it seems it will never end.

I have to work, but I have to spend time with the kids.

I have to spend time with the kids, but I have to work.

I have to work, but I feel guilty about not spending time with the kids.

So what do I do? I get stuck on loop and get neither done. And at the end of the day, I’m unfulfilled and nowhere closer to my goals, feeling sick about it and cranky. Which starts another loop led by But’s friend, Because.

I’m cranky and depressed because I didn’t write.

I didn’t write because I was cranky and depressed.

When the kids go back to school, I have to be wary of a new bud-i loop that’s been getting a little too cosy with my consciousness. That’s another thing, when I’m worrying about all the things not getting done, without getting them done, I have too much time to think.

I have to write today, but I have to get those agent queries started.

I have to get those queries done, but I have research to do.

I have research to do, but I have to write today.

They are all excuses; they are all crutches.

I wrote a post a few months back talking about how if I was going to take time off writing, I was going to make the most of that time. And that’s what I should have done.

Maybe I need a buddy to drag me back to the roller coaster.

How do you cope when your routine is interrupted? Hopefully, better than me 🙂




Writing, children and ‘work’

Apparently, there’s a cyclone coming to Brisbane. It’s the only possible explanation for the amount of groceries I bought today. This shouldn’t make me excited – that would be quite macabre if there was actually a cyclone coming- but I have never enjoyed strolling down those aisles more (Oh, look, two free wine glasses when you purchase two cream cheese products. They do know me. And I thought all that marketing business was a waste…) And yesterday, I did thirty minutes of housework and it put the biggest smile on my face. I miss my routine, and I think the kids do as well.

They don’t understand that for the past month I couldn’t go shopping, that I couldn’t move their clothes from the lounge room to their rooms, that I couldn’t muster the energy to move items from tables that have been piling up. I feel like I’ve been moving from the PC to the kitchen to school and then back. Sleep is in there somewhere. Two days ago I had some downtime and I decided to read. It was bloody nice! I missed it so much. But do you know what happened? I found that someone had used the word barrelling and used one ‘l’ where I used two in my synopsis. That was not a pleasant few hours.

So anyway, to the point. We’ve asked the children to appreciate the time they have at home and to behave because I ‘work’ from home and work around them. They are only children, right? They don’t understand. I hear you. We have it drummed into us so often, that I don’t need to tell myself – someone else is already doing it, and they are doing it louder.

But I can’t help but look at this differently. We were lucky growing up that Mum didn’t work and we were able to have a parent home before and after school and weren’t rushed around. I appreciate that so much – now. Maybe I didn’t then? Maybe I was a brat? I don’t know, I can’t remember. But I know that I would never have spoken to my parents the way mine speak to me.

So my daughter doesn’t classify what I do as work.  And I tell her – it’s work.  Just because I don’t get paid and just because I love it,  doesn’t mean I’m not doing this for them and the family as a whole.  She can’t see it? She’s just a child.

But again, I can’t help look at this differently. I want them to appreciate what they have. If they don’t take things for granted, then I believe it makes them a more respectful person. Writing is work. I’m doing this because I want this to be my career. I’ll be writing even if I don’t make a cent. If someone is building a business and they don’t make any money for years, does this mean they aren’t working? Those people will tell you, it’s work alright, and it’s hard because you don’t make cent.

I know that I don’t have to justify myself to my children, and I don’t expect them to bow down to me for writing while I’m raising them. I’ll never claim to be super mum.  But I do want children that understand what it means to be passionate about something enough that you are willing to fight for it.