How to Continue Writing with a Toddler
That's one of the questions I kept asking Google. But Almighty Google did not find an answer that would suit my needs so I decided to write this post myself.
My baby is a toddler so my motherhood have only lasted for over a year. Can I still call myself a new mum? I think I can. Well, at least that's how I feel.
The burning desire to start using my brain came at around 6 months in - after we settled into a routine. My daughter and I created this slow dance consisting of various tasks, like feeding, napping, etc. We'd go through the motion and be content with the outcome. Then I realised that something was missing. Mental sweat was missing.
The blog was an obvious choice as I could not go back to work yet. We also don't have friends or relatives living nearby to give a hand with occasional free evenings to do whatever I want. I thought blogging should be easy to combine with being a stay at home mum.
Now I look back at the decision and laugh with tears running down my cheeks. I thought blogging was easy. Ha!
Well, it actually depends on your goals - if you blog purely for pleasure, blogging could be easy and straightforward. But if you decide to make a small living out of it because - why not - then you quickly realise how many moving parts this beast called blogging consist of.
I decided that if I have a website, an Instagram and Pinterest account, I might as well try to make a few coins out of it one day. But what this means is that I need to be consistent in my writing, brand look and feel and posts that are relevant to other human beings, not only me.
Being a mum with a baby that demands your constant attention and going though separation anxiety gives you no more than 2 hours per day - and not in a row.
I decided is to write whenever my child was preoccupied with either toys or TV (I know, naughty mum, but TV in small doses cannot hurt). My child only naps when on a walk so I could not do anything apart from walking and maybe listening to an audiobook during her naps (sigh). But if your child naps at home - lucky you - try squeezing a few tasks in.
Planning is critical. You need to plan and prioritise your tiny windows of opportunity. Writing the actual blog post is the most essential task. Because if you have no content, other social media might be redundant if it drives traffic to an empty site. When starting out try writing about 10 blog posts in a draft state so that you are slightly ahead.
Once you have a hefty backlog of draft posts, you could start editing and publishing some of them and moving onto social media if you want to. Yet again, plan how many posts you want to publish per day or per week, and plan the imagery, content and any other items accordingly. Winging it at this stage might cost you time. So it's better to know what you need to be accomplishing before you sit down to create your items.
Plan your editorial calendar at least one week in advance. It might not be possible to create a full-blown 365 days plan with a little one hence baby steps. You could also have a look at Ivory Mix blog or Suzi's from Start a Mom Blog for ideas and blog planners, they both served as a fantastic inspiration to me. Suzi also has a free course on how to start a blog.
Another reason why I decided to treat my blog as a business proposition because if I didn't, I would post once in a while. But I was thriving towards consistency as I was planning to rejoin the workforce soon. I thought that having a blog that I have to work on almost every day would retrain my brain to work consistently ready for work.
“Writing is an extreme privilege but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.” – Amy Tan
So my simple tips are as follows:
Use your free time wisely.
I mean, if you toddler decides to nap - take this opportunity and start typing - be it your phone or a laptop - don't waste precious bonus time.
Work in short 5-15 min bursts.
Dedicate at least 5 - 15 minutes to your writing per day. Regardless of circumstances. You have your phone, so instead of texting a friend or scrolling through yet another Insta feed - write down your thoughts. Because 5 min per day will turn it into a blog post in a week. There is an article on Medium talking about developing a writing habit in 5 minutes a day. It might be useful to start working on making it a habit so that circumstances do not affect your writing consistency,
Don't sacrifice your sleep for writing.
It's not worth it, and you'll still need to function the next day. You won't be able to stay in bed until midday no matter how tired you feel - your child won't allow you to.
Set realistic expectations.
Don't plan on finishing 1000 words in one day as it might not be possible. Thrive for consistency instead. Even 100 words a day is better than nothing. Because in a week you'll have an average length blog post (or a few pages of a novel if that's what you are working on) - isn't that great?
Note down ideas as often as you can.
Ideas don't take up much time. When one pops into your head - grab it! Because otherwise, you'll forget it. We all do but new mothers especially. We have so much on our mind that all our million-dollar-worth ideas might drawn in the to-do and shopping lists. Stray Curls has a lovely blog about it.
Commit to publishing twice a month.
Only promise something every two weeks. You managed to post something more often? It's a bonus. And don't worry about what everyone says about posting every day or at least every week. We have different circumstances. We need to enjoy what we do without turning into into an unbearable chore. Get in the groove first, adjust your calendar at a later date.
"Perfection simply doesn't exist. Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist." - Stephen Hawking
Ignore your demons of perfectionism.
Perfection does not exist. It really does not. What is perfect for one, might be boring, soulless or average for another. If you have something ready to publish - hit that 'publish' button, do not hesitate. No one will read your blog post. Sorry for bursting your bubble. But unless you promote it like crazy - no one will read it.
That means you can edit it at a later date. But something published will help you to write and then publish some more - because you made a start. So just do it. Polish it later.
And if you only have a 2 minutes or so to spare - check out my article on Medium "How to Create Content with a Toddler in Tow."