I decided that my goal for 2014 was to write for one hour a day on my own personal projects. When I made that decision, I failed to factor in the fact that I have kids.
I have sat down at this computer about 20 times today, and I am pretty sure that I have yet to accumulate 60 minutes of total writing time. When I’m not at the computer, no one needs me. But if I look like I am going to be personally productive, then my kids are guaranteed to have some urgent problem that they are unable to solve without my help.
For example, I wrote the first sentence of this post, and my son Micah came up and really wanted to practice guitar. I’m pretty sure that this was the first time in weeks that he wanted to practice guitar of his own accord. Of course, I was obligated to put my laptop down and help him out.
Then, I returned to my laptop and started to write again, only to hear my four-year-old screaming outside. At first I ignored it. As a parent, I mentally rate my children’s cries on a scale of urgency. There is the fake “I am crying more to tell on my siblings than because I’m hurt” cry. That ranks super low on the urgency scale and high on the whiny scale. Then, there is the frustrated “I can’t get my own way” cry. That ranks about the same as the last, but maybe a touch higher. We can’t forget the tired cry. That is medium urgency. That requires me to get up and put the kids to bed. Finally, there is the “I’m in a lot of pain–come save my life cry.” That ranks high on the urgency scale. As I was sitting there, I judged Isaiah’s cry to be low on the scale. I tried to wait it out, but after a while, he was still crying, and I was forced to go help him. He was crying because he wanted our neighbor’s toy. Concentration broken.
I had to stop to rinse globs of conditioner out of one kid’s hair. One needed dessert for an event. One needed a ride. Then another one needed a ride. One pooped in his pants. You name it, it probably happened.
Now I have resorted to hiding. I WILL write for an hour a day. Even if I have to do it in 2-minute increments.