Since I started doing this blog, I’ve been getting emails/messages from friends (new and old ones). Some of the messages are really encouraging, and others are laced with hidden sarcasm. Many of these exchanges, while on the surface are kind, hide this sentiment, “Oh…you’re writing a book, editing, and doing a daily blog. Dad life must REALLY be busy.” *insert sarcastic eye roll*
Now, I know my friends and family love me. I also know they aren’t intentionally trying to bust my proverbial balls. But the truth is, dad life is busy. Those of you who are parents (past or present) know it to be true. So to save myself from explaining my process over and over again, I thought I would compile it here.
To preface this, it should be noted I am a stay-at-home dad. My wife Heather is in the military and works as a Navy Nuclear Engineer. She wakes up before Thor does , and usually gets home as he goes to bed (not easy for her at all). Like I said, I’m a real deal stay-at-home dad.
So here’s an average day.
I get up at six or seven. Thor is my alarm clock. During the day, Thor takes three naps. He’s still only eight months old so he is supposed to get around 3.5 hours of nap time a day. This gives me three blocks of time to actually accomplish tasks like: write blog posts, editing, work on my own novel, clean bottles, scoop cat litter, laundry, engage in battle with the growing forces of dirt, eat, sit down on the couch and stare up at the ceiling fan.
Heather usually gets home around 7:30 pm. We spend time together until she crashes out at around 9pm -that’s when I start working in earnest. I usually go to bed around 1-2 am.
If you think about it in these terms, I have roughly 8.5 hours to accomplish everything I need to accomplish. It’s comparably to a normal working day. It’s just that around half of that time is split between everyday life tasks. Also, if Thor is throwing lightning bolts and beating on his anvil (not napping well), time is even shorter.
I think what makes it seem like I have a lot of time is the fact I use all of it. I’ve read studies where people who have normal 9-5 jobs only spend a fraction of that time doing actual work. I know from my own experience in past jobs that I have easily wasted away days accomplishing little to nothing. I would get one “big” thing done and say, “That made this day productive.”
Now I work for myself. I also believe in what I do with a full heart. When your passion aligns with you work, amazing things start to happen. You find ways to weave those passions into your “free” time. Work becomes habit, because it’s no longer a dreadful task to accomplish.
For example, I read to Thor everyday. We don’t watch tv. I don’t just leave him sitting in a playpen drooling on toys and plotting my demise. I read to him. We read about everything. He has probably listened to me read more books on writing than most people have ever read. We both benefit from this.
I blog everyday. I blog about writing. Even this “escape” guides me closer to my goals and aligns with the craft.
I talk about writing everyday. Many of my friends are writers. We talk about my projects, their projects, doubts, hopes, life, and everything in-between. When my wife gets home she asks me how the book is coming along and what is happening in the blogospace.
So yes, I do have time as a stay-at-home dad. However, it’s time I carve out with my own two hands. I had to cut away the frivolous little things, and make space for the big things. And honestly, it was easy. This is the important takeaway. When you key into the one thing that truly makes you tick – it should be fulfilling to build your life around it.
Are some days harder than others? Heck yeah. Do I have doubts? Sure. Do I sit down and have to punch the voices in my head who say, “You are wasting your time with this Corey. Writing isn’t a real job Corey.” Yep. My knuckles are always bleeding. But deep down I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing. That’s a good feeling.
More of a rant than a writing tip today. But honestly, the more time you dedicate to the craft (whatever your chosen one is), the more the muse will sing for you. Time dedicated to the craft of writing offers you many escapes. There is much fulfillment in the act of writing, studying the craft, and reading other authors’ works.
Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!