Tag Archives: housework

3 Symptoms of the Week 2 Blues (and How to Cure It)

NaNoWriMo Diary – Day 10

Total number of words written: 16283

Words Written Today: 250 (so far)

Coke consumed: 1 can

Chocolate consumed: 1 fun size Crunchie, half a cup of Milo–by which I mean just dry Milo, no milk or hot water involved (so far, but it’s only 2pm) (have sadly run out of milky ways) I should probably also mention the caramel popcorn and starbursts, but technically they’re not chocolate 🙂

In NaNo land there is something known as the ‘Week 2 blues’ and unfortunately it seems to have hit me the past few days.On top of that, it’s been a super busy week in Mummy land. I’ve had antenatal appointments, immunisations for Miss 2 (which turned out to be much more of a drama than it was supposed to be), an afternoon at the cinema with a group of playgroup mums and the usual weekly shopping trip. I’ve just signed my son up for the local Christmas play, so we’ll be attending rehearsals for that every week, the first one was on Monday. I also decided this week the fridge was in desperate need of a cleanout, not to mention the cupboard under the sink. And November’s calendar is filling up fast!

Sunday and Monday were both low word count days. On Sunday I consumed at 3 cans of Coke, ate a great deal of chocolate and ended up getting KFC for dinner, but still didn’t get near the daily word goal. I did go to the movies in the afternoon, though, and even though I lost a few hours writing time, I think I needed that break and to get out of the house to reenergise.

Since there’s nothing I can do about life’s happenings, I’m going to focus on getting over these week two blues.

The Symptoms:

1. Motivational high of week one has pretty much all fizzled out. All the excitement of going into a new story, all the buzz of new ideas, that spurred an initial surge of words spewing onto the page has died down.

2. It’s getting harder to push words out onto the page. You find yourself staring at the page, letting distractions take over. Whereas in the first week the words seemed to flow onto the page easily, this week you feel like you have to pry them from your brain.

3. You know where you want your characters to go, but don’t know how to get them there. You have your plan, you know what your next plot point is, but trying to get them there has you stumped.

So how am I supposed to get past this week two slump? I know other NaNoers who have simply quit, deciding NaNo just isn’t working for them this year. Some have changed stories and gone into a new idea with renewed motivation (I did this last year). Some have decided to take the pressure off by not worrying about the word count and just writing what they can, when they can.

I still love my story idea, and I want to keep on, so here are some ways I’m going to try to tackle the week two blues that have worked for me in the past.

The Cure:

1. Stay focused on where I want my story to go, but also let it surprise me with plot twists and extra details. My characters have just found the first clue to a conspiracy that I had not planned at all. It was an interesting surprise and a nice addition to build upon my plot.

2. Push past the ‘writer’s block’ by just writing. Write or Die has been a big help with this in the past in getting from one point to another.Wordwars/wordsprints are helpful too, and there are always NaNoers around on Twitter who are up for some word wars.

3. Decrease distractions by writing on my laptop (which has only Word programs and is not connected to the internet).

I am so grateful for that week one padding I built up when my motivation was still high, it has helped a lot this week. At the moment I’m trying to keep just ahead each day. I find if I think, “I only have to write 900 words tomorrow to reach the goal”, it gives me motivation going into the next day, because the goal isn’t as overwhelming as staring at the prospect of writing 1667. And then when I’ve hit the goal, I think, “Well now it’s only 700 more and I’ll have written 1667”. It breaks it into chunks, which makes the goal seem easier to reach.

Author Jody Hedlund has a great post on writing after the initial passion has fizzled: How to Keep Writing When the Honeymoon is Over

How is everyone else going? Have you been hit with the week 2 blues? How are you coping with them? What strategies are you using to keep on going?

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My 2 Year Old Whip Cracker

NaNoWriMo Diary – Day 5

Total number of words written: 10231

Words Written Today: 2121 (so far)

Coke consumed: 2 cans

Chocolate consumed: 6 fun size Milky Ways, 4 squares Marble chocolate, bowl of ice-cream drizzled with chocolate topping (so far)

As it stands, day one was my best day in terms of word count. Day two was pretty good, considering my morning meant getting child one ready for kinder and dropping him off, followed by playgroup for child two and a trip to the library, meaning my morning was a complete write off. But in two days I had managed to reach the day three goal. Things went downhill a bit after that.

On Thursday morning I managed only 70 words before breakfast, and I was lucky to get that. Dear daughter was having a rather demanding morning and every time I put fingers to the keyboard I was pulled away by whinging, nagging, fighting, or sometimes just plain old wanting a chat. I gave up trying to type. I also realised, after the last two days of writing, it was time to get stuck into some housework as the toys were taking over and the washing piling up. Between bits of housework, when the kids were playing nicely, I slipped in a sentence here and there. With a burst in the afternoon and another big burst after the kids went to bed, my Thursday word count wasn’t looking so bad after all.

Friday. Oh, Friday. ‘Twas really not a good writing day. I woke up tired. No words at all before breakfast, despite being up quite early, as my brain just couldn’t think straight enough to put words on the page. Got a little bit written after taking son to kinder and before I had to take daughter to her swimming lesson. Then to the in-laws’ for lunch and an afternoon spent with my hubby’s sister who was visiting with her family from interstate. Got a little writing done before cooking dinner and a bit more after kids were in bed, but went to bed early with only 800 words under my belt for the day. Was thankful to have that extra padding from previous days.

Which brings me to today. Although Saturday is my ‘day off’ from housework, I was worried with the expected hot temperatures I wouldn’t get much writing done since I don’t cope well in the heat while pregnant (brain turns to mush). So I endeavoured to get as much writing done as possible before it got too hot. But I found my story had hit a point where I wasn’t sure how to push forward, so the writing was slow. On top of that, my motivation was low after receiving a short story rejection in my email (one I had been feeling quite positive about). I found myself procrastinating on the internet, but my husband was my saviour (though he doesn’t know it). He wanted to watch a movie on the computer, so I transferred my story over to my laptop, which not only had no internet to distract me, but also only has Wordpad, which doesn’t show the word count like Word does, so I couldn’t obsessively keep checking my word count. I ended up staying on my laptop for the rest of the day and as a result hit 2000 words for the day, pushing me over the 10000 word mark in total. And the heat turned out to be not so bad after all, I managed to keep the house relatively cool, plus the dining table is a much cooler place to write than the computer (as that room gets quite warm in the afternoon).

As for the 2 year old whip cracker… Sitting at my laptop, and getting a wee bit distracted, I started singing along to the children’s show that was on TV. My daughter, who was sitting opposite at me, looked at me with the sternest of looks and jabbed a pointed finger at my laptop as if to say, “Stop singing, keep writing.”

Point taken.

Finding Time to Write: 3 Tips for Writing with Kids

With the goal of writing fifty thousand words in a month for NaNoWriMo next month, I’ve had a lot of people say things like, “I’d love to do NaNoWriMo, but I just wouldn’t have the time” or “How do you find the time to write?” But I think one of the best things I ever learned from doing NaNoWriMo for the first time was that the time is there, you just have to learn to find it and use it effectively.

The first year I did NaNoWriMo I had a VERY active nearly-three-year-old boy who had grown out of naps, an eight month old baby AND I was teaching part time. No, I didn’t write fifty thousand words that November, but I did write twenty-five thousand. The days I taught were usually zero word count days, as by the time I got home from teaching, cooked dinner, organised kids for bed, etc. I was just plain worn out. But I was proud of my twenty five thousand words — it was twenty five thousand more words than I had at the start of the month, and by January I had finished writing the first draft. PLUS I learned A LOT about managing my writing time effectively.

Currently I’m a busy mum of two (and one on the way) running between preschool, swimming lessons, playgroup, grocery shopping, etc. On top of that, although I’m not currently teaching, I’m helping my husband run a dairy farm by doing all the paperwork. Plus I do all the cooking, cleaning, washing, etc. BUT I still get writing done.

How do I find time to write?

Easy answer: Have you seen my house? It’s not going to win any prizes for neatness. I do have to balance it though. So here are three of the ways I make time.

1. Write after the kids go to bed at night.

My kids go to bed at around 7pm every night, so once they’re in bed it’s a good time to get some writing done (depending how tiring the day has been–sometimes I just want to collapse in front of the TV or get lost in a book). I know other mums who get up an extra hour early before their kids get up to get some writing time in. This doesn’t work for me because 1. My kids are early risers (ie: 6am) and 2. I am so not a morning person. Work out what’s best for you: if your kids are late to bed, late to rise, try getting up an hour early to write, or if your kids are like mine, early to bed, early to rise, try doing some writing at night.

2. Write after lunch/at lunch.

This is my second best writing time. My kids tend to have some quiet time around this time of day. When they still had naps, this was usually naptime. Sometimes my youngest still has naps if she’s had a big morning out (like today). As for when they’ve grown out of naps, they still have some quiet time, whether it’s quiet play with their toys in their bedroom/the loungeroom or some downtime watching a Wiggles DVD or ABC for Kids. My oldest loves being outside, so he’ll often go out for a play in the backyard. Sometimes I’ll get my laptop out on the kitchen table and write while we eat lunch. If you’re working, you can always get some writing done on your lunchbreak.

3. Computer placement.

This could mean having your computer in the same room where your kids play, eg: the loungeroom, so you can write while they play. I had this set up at my old house and it worked really well. It’s not possible where I am now as the loungeroom is too small, but I do have it set up so I can see straight into the loungeroom. I also use my laptop so I can sit in the loungeroom/dining room to write. I like to have a view outside since my son loves playing outside and that way I can watch him. Of course, be prepared for distraction. While sometimes my children will play happily for small blocks of time, more often than not they like to climb on my knee and watch me type or ask for something to eat every few minutes. It can be hard to keep any writing momentum going, but I still get little bits and pieces written.

P.S. It’s so tempting to use quiet time to catch up on Facebook/Twitter, read blogs, play games, etc., but you’d be surprised how much writing you can get done by just disconnecting from the internet or using a computer/laptop that doesn’t have internet.

But what about the housework?

1. Do what you can with the kids underfoot, so when they’re not, you can write.

I found it’s easier to do housework with kids distracting me, than trying to write when they’re distracting me. So instead of hanging washing while they nap, I’ll take the kids outside to play and then when they nap, I write. Involve the kids in what you are doing. My kids love passing me clothes to hang on the line, they love standing on chairs at the kitchen bench to watch me prepare dinner (especially if they get to eat pieces of chopped carrot and cauliflower) and they love pretending the vacuum cleaner is a monster chasing them.

2. I’ve now got a whiteboard where I write up what I want to achieve for the day.

I have a section for the farm business, a section for housework, and a section for writing. For example, on the board today I have: FARM – call electricity company, update records for workers’ hours; HOUSEWORK – Do a load of washing, do dishes, fold and put away washing, clean bathroom; WRITING – 300 words (minimum) on short story, blog post. Priority is given to the business, then housework, then writing (though I often slip writing in between my housework). (I still need to clean the bathroom and do my 300 words today.)

3. Have a day off.

Saturday is my self-designated day off housework. I’ll load the dishwasher and make breakfast and lunch, but that’s about it. I don’t even cook dinner on Saturday, that’s our takeaway night. It’s a quiet cruisy day, and often perfect for catching up on some writing.

Like I said, my house isn’t going to win a prize for neatness, so I’d love to hear any other tips you have for staying on top of the housework.

What do you do to find time to write?

How do you balance work, writing, housework, being a mum?