What My Writing Life REALLY Looks Like

Phew! What a summer! 

Since Aelyn's birth, things have been a whirlwind in our house. Seriously. When people come to visit, I usher them in, and say, "Welcome to the Haynes Family chaos." They laugh, but five minutes in they start to understand. 

With a two-month old, a three-year-old, and a hubby who owns a seasonal business (seven days a week, all summer long), keeping up with my writing has been a bit of a challenge for me. I'm usually typing over my Little Star's head as she snuggles on her nursing pillow, or trying to carry on a running conversation about Doc McStuffins with my Moonbeam while answering e-mails. Quiet moments of reflection are truly just moments; tiny islands in a sea of baby coos, toddler giggles, and conversations with my hubby shouted over the tops of little heads. 

My Moonbeam loves all of her babies - including her little sister!

My Moonbeam loves all of her babies - including her little sister!

And I wouldn't change a thing. 

This is my writing life.

I've created a life where I can be home every day with my children; even if I can't give them my full attention in every moment, I'm here when they need me.  I've created a life where I have an abundance of support from family, especially my mom, my parents-in-law, my dad, and my stepmom. I've created a life where I get to do what I love all day, every day, from anywhere in the world - and actually make a good living at it. 

My writing life is messy, chaotic, scattered, and totally without routine. I don't think we've eaten lunch at the same time two days running ... ever. I've learned to tune out the Disney soundtrack my Moonbeam prefers on Pandora while I work in the next room, and juggle my Little Star with one arm while fielding Skype calls with my amazing and very understanding clients. (One of the blessings of working mostly with women is that many of them are mothers, too!)

Contrary to what you might think, my focus has actually increased since I became a mom. I don't have those vast stretches of writing time I once enjoyed. I have to compress all of my creative power into blocks of one or two hours, and actually create something useful in that span of time. I've gotten really great at outlining in my head, so that when I sit down in front of a blank screen I can dive right in. 

Pre-kids, I used to make all kinds of excuses about how I didn't have the time and space to write. I wasn't in the right frame of mind. I was too tired. I didn't want to get up that early. I didn't want to be distracted by visitors. I tried to create the perfect set of conditions to nurture myself as a writer, like I was some kind of delicate hothouse flower who would wilt if it got three degrees too cold. The result was that I made it nearly impossible for myself to write consistently - because, as every creative person knows, conditions for creating are rarely perfect. 

Now, my writing time is "now or never." If I don't take the time that presents itself - whether it's at 5:00 AM, during nap times, or when my hubby's office manager can step in and play with my Moonbeam - I don't get to write. It's actually quite helpful to have these constrictions. I've been more productive in the last twelve months than at any other time in my career. 

So if you're making excuses about not having time and space to write, or trying to create that perfect set of conditions to fan your creative spark, stop. Just stop. Take a breath, carve out a little bit of space, and dive into the mess. 

Trust me, it'll be worth it. 

Bryna René Haynes is the founder and President of The Heart of Writing, the chief editor for Inspired Living Publishing, and the best-selling author of the multiple-award-winning book, The Art of Inspiration: An Editor's Guide to Writing Powerful, Effective Inspirational and Personal Development Books. In over a decade as a writer, editor, ghostwriter, designer, and publishing consultant, she has helped hundreds of authors find their authentic voices and create powerful, memorable, successful works. She lives outside of Providence, RI, with her husband, Matthew, their Moonbeam, Áine, and their Little Star, Aelyn.