Thursday, August 27, 2009

Taking it where I can get it

When my son was born, close to 2 1/2 years ago, I was a little over three quarters finished writing my first novel. Thank God for that, because if the entire endeavor had been like that last quarter I would probably be working on it even now.

It's true that most babies sleep a lot in the first months after birth, but they don't do it all at once, and if you don't sleep when they do at least some of the time then you are screwed. Add in a full time job and the minimal amount of hours needed to keep the house from turning into a roach infested superfund site and, well, if you're a writer then you're screwed. Sacrifices must be made, and for me it was sleep. I did a lot of writing during naptime, with my son asleep in my lap, and a lot of writing and revising in the car while he slept in his seat in the back. Thankfully, he was born in winter, so this could be done at a park with the windows rolled down (it is the desert, remember). It was an arduous process, but I stuck it out, and like any habit worth having that perseverance has stuck with me.

Still, that was two years ago, and I can forgive you for wondering what relevance this little anecdote has to my writing life in the present. Well, let me tell you, it doesn't get easier as children propel themselves like lemmings headfirst toward their first years of school. They sleep less, and if anything they demand more attention. Also, forget about Quiet and Solitude, they left for the childless neighbor's house. So what to do? Right now I'm writing this in a notebook (a real notebook, pen and paper) in my car while my son is asleep in his seat in the back. Correction: was asleep. Sigh.

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