Monday, 7 March 2016

Just 5 minutes

Since having my baby I have found it increasingly hard to find time to write. I had naive expectations that I would write when she napped and in the evenings when she slept. Oh how innocent and unknowing I was. Because my little SJ would only sleep ON me and for most of her 11 and a bit months she has woken hourly for breastfeeds. This isn't a blog about babies or breastfeeding and parenting, there are plenty out there who can do it with more wit and panache than me, so I don't want to get bogged down in the you should have, and you could haves. I chose a style of parenting that felt right to me, I am proud to parent this way, I love it. But. But, it is exhausting and it feels like putting myself on hold. In a life driven by an impulse to write I am suddenly not writing, I am Mummying. The self I am is not the self I was before SJ was in my arms. I am now SJ's mum and during these intense first years that is who I will be. I don't regret it, it just takes getting used to.

So anyway. I've been desperate to write. Just because I haven't been able to get the words out doesn't mean they're not in there filling me up, pressing at my eyelids and lips and skin trying to get out. I tried dictating into my tablet but that was SOOO hard to get the sentences out as they were in my head. So I sat back and I took a breath and I let it go. My mantra became: patience, patience, patience. This does not last forever, do not miss the little moments because you are straining to see past the now into a WHEN.

So SJ's habits are settling down a bit. She'll sleep in the stroller now during the day, sometimes she doesn't wake up every hour and I have an hour between putting her to bed and turning in myself (what do people do who stay up past 9pm? For the life of me I can't remember ever being awake enough to find out, though I'm sure I used to...) and I've been finding some time to write.

But it's baby steps. There's no more sitting in front of the computer for hours and hours merrily typing away or rereading or editing. I don't have the energy for that. It has to be bitesize pieces.

I've been reading The Library Book, an anthology about how important libraries are. It's a great read, though I doubt the people who SHOULD read it ever will (yes Tory Government I'm looking at you).
Aside from all the wonderful points it makes about how amazing libraries are and how we should be forever thinking it wonderful that we have them instead of closing them down, I came across a chapter that spoke about writing and it was called The Five Minute Rule written by Julie Myerson.

This line caught my attention:

'Tell yourself you're going to set aside five minutes a day. If you can't do more don't worry. But never let a day go by without doing your five minutes.'

Fittingly, the advice was given to her during her own maternity leave. She continues:

'Of course you almost always end up writing longer, is gloriously undaunting. It somehow helps you scale that initial terrifying cliff-face of 'where will I ever find the time?''

So this is my goal. To write for five minutes every day. I've only started applying this for the last couple of days, but so far so good. I've written some notes for a story I need to research, I've written a letter to a friend (which I'm counting as writing) and I'm writing this blog post. At some point I will reopen the file containing the first chapter of the book I want to write, but I'm building up to that because I know that the second chapter has to be rewritten because I forgot to save it. Still, it feels good to be writing. it feels good to have the goal. Just five minutes. Five minutes of word following word. Five minutes of being me. Five minutes of feeling like a somebody instead of somebody's mummy. And if I do longer than five minutes, great, but if not that's OK because I still did five minutes.