finding time to write in the school holidays – #WhatImWriting

This Tuesday has snuck up on me and I’ve suddenly realised it’s time for #WhatImWriting! School broke up for Easter here last Friday and, since then, life has been a bit of a whirl of swimming lessons, day trips and play dates. I’m actually a firm believer in plenty of unscheduled time for kids to just romp around in (for want of a better phrase) but somehow this holiday seems to be full to the brim with activities. Not sure quite how it happened but it’s certainly making it hard to find any time to write.

circles

Wondering when to write? Just look for the gaps.

However, if you’re determined, I’ve found there are ways to squeeze in bits of writing time here there and everywhere… I’ve even found time to write a list:

Seven of the best times to write/blog in the school holidays:

1) When the kids are asleep.

Some people favour the early mornings but, since I have to be forcibly dragged from my slumbers most days and can’t form a sensible sentence before my first cup of tea, getting up before the kids is not an option for me. So I write in the evenings. Mind you, after a day of entertaining small people I often feel too shattered to get much done so have to rely on the following points as well…

2) During toilet trips.

Not very dignified but it’s amazing how much you can type on a smart phone while on an ‘essential’ loo break. Invent an exhausting bout of explosive diarrhoea if you like – anything to keep the small people away for those crucial few extra minutes.

3) While the kids are otherwise engaged with an activity that doesn’t require your input. 

I armed my three with wellies and spades and pointed them in the direction of a rather unloved corner of the garden with the instruction, “See what you can make there kids!” . They spent an hour and half building a ‘water feature’ (AKA a muddy hole). When they came back inside they were up to their eyeballs in mud but at least I’d had a bit of time to myself (I wish I’d spent more of it writing rather than cleaning the kitchen and putting the washing on but hey.)

4) In your head while vacuuming.

The noise of the hoover drowns out any nearby yelling, leaving you free to concentrate.

5) With your children’s help.

My ‘limerick challenge’ does the trick for us: my boys choose a subject, I write a limerick about it and they provide the illustrations (I’ll be posting another one soon).

6) While cooking tea.

When trying to parent and find time to write, guilt often steps in. Surely you should be spending every minute with your little ones? Well, cooking time is guilt-free time because everyone has to eat. Type between stages in the recipe or *whispers* put fishfingers and chips in the oven and have an uninterupted 15 minutes! But what are the kids doing while you’re cooking? Well…

7) While the kids are watching telly.

Thank heavens for Peppa Pig, Lego Star Wars and Curious George. Their input is worthy of an acknowledgement in my book I think!

***

Using these little bits of time has enabled me to write this month’s BritMums poetry and Prose Roundup this week and this post too of course. That might not seem much but it’s better than nothing!

When do you find time to write in the school holidays? I’d love to hear your tips!

Muddled Manuscript
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16 thoughts on “finding time to write in the school holidays – #WhatImWriting

  1. Emily Organ

    All good tips which I often try out! It’s hard to get writing done in the school holidays. I always try to schedule it in but it never quite works. When they play Minecraft is a good time, and they could play it all day but I feel the need to time limit them on screens which limits my time to write too. Now the children are older they can occupy themselves for a while, but I writing time is limited as there always seems to be a fight or an argument to break up. And they have to get out each day somewhere otherwise they’d explode with built up energy. I have to resign myself to not getting much word count done. However I’m researching for my next bit of writing now and that’s mainly reading and is easier to fit in!

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      My older two love minecraft and, like you, I have to limit it or they’d spend far too long on it! I’m lucky in that my kids are pretty good at entertaining themselves but as soon as I get on a writing-roll you can guarantee I’ll be needed for something! xx

      Reply
  2. Mummy Tries

    Brilliant tips Maddy, as Sara said it’s incredible how much we can achieve in such a short amount of time! I do a lot of writing in my head at the mo, but also forget most of it. Damn baby brain! I also might take an extra five minutes when going to the loo ;-) sorry I missed this on Tues hon, not sure how that happened xx

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      That’s the problem with writing in your head isn’t it? I’ve written masses that way but only remember a portion of it. I try to scribble it down as soon as I can to keep as much of it as possible. Maybe we should use dictaphones? Don’ worry about Tuesday! xx

      Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      I’m so useless at doing anything in the morning – brain like sludge! nap times are very useful to me normally, just not in the school holidays when the older two are running around. Thanks for commenting Laura. x

      Reply
  3. Charlotte @ Educating Elsa

    I have to stick to nap-time and after Elsa’s gone to bed usually but I do occasionally sneak in a bit of a writing session while she watches Peppa or plays a game on my iPhone. There’s no way she would let me do anything while the tea is cooking! She hovers round my legs crying most days :) #PoCoLo

    Reply
  4. Verily Victoria Vocalises

    LOVING number 4!! And Grace was writing a script this evening – must be rubbing off on her :) These are great ideas. I have found that getting up early before she wakes up helps. Hope you enjoy the rest of the Easter holidays. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

    Reply
  5. Chrissie (@rantybeast)

    This is how I wrote the first “novel”. This week I’ve been using bowls of water and some garden mud to entertain my three. They’ll make mud pies for hours.
    Most of my writing is done once they’re in bed though because I can shut out the outside world. X

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Mine love playing in mud too. I’ve toyed with the idea of having a wet room-style porch built so I can sluice them off as they enter the house! xx

      Reply

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