Monday, June 22, 2009

A Few Quiet Minutes To Write

By Nichole Giles

The day school let out for summer was bittersweet for me. I love my kids, they are the light of my world. But having them home with me—all day, every day—just felt overwhelming.

I know I’ve done it before—this entertaining kids 24/7 thing. But ever since my youngest (now nine) started first grade, I’ve learned to cherish my alone time. It’s my cleaning time, my blasting-the-stereo-while-I-shower time, my running-errands-with-the-convertible-top-down time (even when it’s only fifty degrees outside). But most importantly, it’s been my writing time.

Oh, how I miss my writing time.

That’s not to say I don’t still find time to write, just that it’s a lot harder to do during the summer—especially if I try to write during the day, because I get interrupted literally every three minutes. All I want is a few quiet, uninterrupted minutes.

But there are benefits to not having my schedule revolve around school. For one thing, I’ve always been a night writer. There’s just something about the quiet of the house when everyone else is asleep that gets me in the groove. Except I must be getting old, because anymore, I can’t stay awake the way I used to. But when I do stay up—because I choose to, not because the neighbors dogs are barking incessantly or because the neighbor kids are playing night games—I can sleep in the next morning without worrying about making the kids late. Then I’d have to write a note to the teacher, explaining that my child is late because I spent the night in a battle between good and evil, which the good fairies and mermaids eventually won. Some teachers just don’t get it.

And as soon as it gets warm, we plan to spend time at the pool—me, the kids, and my notebook and pen. There’s nothing like the warm touch of sunshine to help me see the scene I’ve been searching for. Or…wait…maybe that’s the neighbor kid pushing his mother in the deep end while she talks on the cell phone. And…oh no…wait, it’s okay. The lifeguard will save her. I think. But they might have to get a diver to go after the phone.

Hm. I wonder if my computer chord will stretch into my closet? I’ll sit on the floor among the rows of shoes and write about dust bunnies who have an obsession with sandals. Or better yet, maybe I’ll try the bathroom. I could write about a main character who got sucked inside a cyclone and ended up in China—except no one ever leaves me alone in there, either. That’s a bad idea—not to mention a water hazard.

I tried writing in the backyard the other day, a story about two dogs who left their home to go on adventures yet unknown, but after a few minutes my knees dripped with doggy drool from my own dogs, and my keyboard was sticky from being licked—but not by me. I brushed the dog hair off my screen, and then the rain clouds opened up and sent a torrent. Nope, outside doesn’t work so well either.

Well, I should go. I’m going to try hiding out in my car. Maybe if I scrunch up in the backseat and write really fast, no one will find me…

Until we meet again, write on!


Christine Thackeray said...

It sounds like our lives are very similar. Library Wednesdays should help and afternoon reading time. They read and I write. We'll see how it works.

Nichole Giles said...

Good idea, Christine. Too bad my kids are too old for the library reading program. They do read, but not much during the day. Maybe I should try the library though...


Danyelle Ferguson said...

LOL! Oh yes, the joys of writing mamas during summer break! I loved your post. Summer is so hard with all the interruptions - I'm still trying to figure out a groove and it's almost the end of June! Yikes!

Mary said...

I understand your pain.
When my children were younger, I lamented that I didn't have any alone time. One of my children tried to cheer me up by saying, "but, Mom, you get to go to the bathroom alone....sometimes. " That said it all.

Nichole Giles said...

Yes, Danyelle, it's definitely hard to find a groove during the summer. Especially when we've had rain all month--which keeps the kids inside and bored. But I'll get there eventually--and then school will start again.

And Mary, Amen, sister. Amen. No lock can hold back the little voices on the other side of the door saying, "Mommy? When are you coming out of there? Did you fall in, Mommy?"

Yeah, some days I want to say, "Never! I'm flushing myself to China." But I haven't. Yet.

Rachel Rager said...

Hahaha! Oh, the joys of being Mom and writing! Best of luck to us all this summer!

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks Rachel. Good luck to you as well.

Maybe I should report that by staying up until 2:00 a.m. for two nights in a row, I've managed to complete a chapter and a half of my work in progress. Hooray!

Rachelle said...

Great post, love all your funny story ideas! Yes, it would be wonderful to have some quiet time and private time in the bathroom--let me know if you ever figure that one out. :)

Marcia Mickelson said...

I totally understand. I've pretty much given up writing this summer. I just can't do it. I'm a nightime writer; I can't even write during the day unless baby's sleeping and the other 2 are at school. Now, with summer here and a later bedtime, I just can't.

I am excited about next year. My little one will be in pre-k- every day for 3 hours and the other 2 will be there full-time. So, I am looking forward to those 3 hours a day all to myself.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Mary, my daughter, who is almost 13 and really should know better, has actually tried to follow me into the bathroom twice this week. What's up with that!!