A Writing Dad: Managing the Madness

Discussing Fatherhood.jpgSince 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.

baby thor sleeping.jpg

Thor – my alarm clock.

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.

The Workday.jpgI 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.

baby thor on the computer.jpg

Thor helps with the blog.

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.

Thor and I reading.jpg

Thor and I analyzing literature (picture book).

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!

Copyright Info (final)

47 responses

    • What a good question. Harry Potter would be on my list too. Off the top of my head I’m thinking: Chronicles or Narnia, Charlottes Web, The Hobbit, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, A Series of Unfortunate Events…hah…and this list goes on. I’m sure once he starts interacting more I can gear toward books he likes.

      Thanks for getting me thinking (wont be able to read boring nonfiction to him much longer).

      Like

  1. So glad I found your blog! Struggling with finding time to write. Wish I could use the time wasted at my “real” job to write! (I say “real” because it feels the furthest thing from real in my life – real is writing.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you stopped by to read. Finding time is a challenge, but it’s rewarding to spend the time doing the things you love.

      Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I go through this too, though it seems like your family has been more supportive than some of mine…. Just know in the end, when you are selling novels like hotcakes they’ll say they always knew you could do it! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  3. People who mock other’s pursuits are usually wasting the time they could be investing in their own goals, but it takes courage and commitment to go after one’s dreams. It takes the ability to try when fear of failure is devastating. Also….daycare is just under $12,000 a year. Why is it cool for one person to earn that money watching someone else’s kid but “uncool” to save that much money watching your own child? You keep working toward what you want. It’ll be there one day.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for the motivating words. I agree with your logic totally. I could have kept working, never saw my family, and had someone else raise my son. The benefit would have been about 15,000 dollars a year. If I did that until he made it to school I would have earned an extra 60,000 or so. I would gladly pay 60k to get to see Thor walk, learn to talk, and figure out the world.

      As for the road ahead, no worries bud, you know I’m in it to win it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. We might be the same person…I appreciate your perspective here and feel it mirrors my own in many ways. Good for you for fighting the temptation to be complacent. As a full-time working mother (I teach writing), my days are consumed by my two little people, but what a gift to experience the thrills of parenthood as well as the highs of connecting to the human experience through writing. The hard things are often the sweetest.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s good to meet kindred spirits in the blogoverse! Your two little ones are adorable. It’s crazy to think Thor will grow up to be as big as them. I kind of wish he would stay a baby, but regardless, I’m excited to see what his little personality will be like.

      Thanks for swinging in today and leaving these kind words.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I tell you what, we are having very similar days and I was wondering when my haters were gonna come out, wow! Someone really gave you a hard time about what you do? You probably get more done in the first 30 minutes of your day than they do all day. Don’t sweat the small stuff. No one knows what trials another person goes through daily. You will be glad you got to see him grow and help him develop. Screw the haters! Sorry, that was the wine talkin! Have a wonderful night!😃

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wine or no wine, I appreciate the sentiment! Thanks for saying all of this. I know you’re right, I’ll never regret time spent with my growing boy. Especially once he’s all grown up and suddenly my time with him is limited.

      On a side note, I tried going to your blog page today to like and comment, but the buttons were gone. You might have some ghosts in the machine over there!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This post was inspirational, Corey. Also, I find myself humbled by your daily energy. I’m old enough to be your mother, yet I’m learning from you as if I’m a little sister. Writing is hard cerebral work. It test the ability to juggle thoughts and actions without letting up. I have more hours during my day to write, yet the dribble away because I LET myself get distracted. And it is a case of LET, not some outside force dumping on me.

    My youngest grandson is a little over a year old. He lives several states away but with the use of Skype, I see him occasionally. Life will get a bit more complicated as Thor becomes a toddler. Still, he will be able to help you with your writing as he does now, but it’s be more action than listening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your kind words, as well as you stopping by and reading. I agree with everything you said. Writing can be incredibly hard, and finding time (striking the balance) can be even harder.

      I think about Thor getting older and my time dwindling because of it. I also consider he will be in school, freeing up a large portion of my day. As long as I can remain flexible in my goals and time management, I feel like I will be able to swing this writing thing (that’s what I hope at least).

      Thanks again for swinging in today and for the lovely comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Next Time Bring A Notebook | The Excited Writer

    • My answer to this question is – I’m not sure! Hahahah. I’m a dad figuring it out as I go, but I do think about this though.

      One thing I’m trying to do is write my blog posts in groups on the weekend. Stacking them up so when time is short I have fallback.

      As for writing – I don’t have a universal deadline to meet. Because of this, I don’t stress TOO much about meeting my writing goals 100 percent of the time. As long as I make some kind of progress (this can be as little as sitting on the toilet talking into my recorder) I go to bed satisfied.

      Ultimately, being a dad comes first. Especially because I’m a stay-at-home dad. But this doesn’t mean I will give up on my other pursuits. I believe there is a creative solution to be found, it’s just a matter of trial and error.

      Good luck to us both 😀

      Like

      • Well I better hurry up and think of something, I’m down to one nap a day!! hehe
        We always do find a way though ; ) I totally agree about writing them out ahead, I’ve got ideas written out here and there. Always good to tap when I’m in a bind.

        Meno

        Liked by 1 person

  8. As a Stay-At-Home-Dad and writer, I totally feel this. My wife just went back to work a couple of weeks ago and I’m already counting down the days until grandma visits so I’ll have a little more time to get some writing done.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I feel you on this! The struggle shared is real. Eventually (hopefully) you will start finding a rhythm if you haven’t already. I guess the biggest lesson is to learn to be mega-flexible.

      Thanks for reading and good luck to you! If you find some awesome tricks to manage time, you should post them. I know I will read them.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Half A World Away… There Is Another Stay-At-Home-Writer-Dad Just Like Me Who Also Has To Scoop His Cat’s Smelly Poop! – papaparisien

  10. Pingback: The Right Writing Routine « Quintessential Editor

  11. DAMN. I think there’s tons of ambitious father’s that get the struggle here. Sounds like youve been very successful at finding the balance. And I agree with what you put about priorities. You put the biggest rock in first and you can always find time for the smaller pieces

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping in and reading! It’s always a thrill for me to find other dads out here in the blogoverse. I need to update this post on my recycle days (the weekends) as Thor is now 11 months old. Time sure moves fast when you’re dadding it. I’ll add you to my dad blogger list and swing by every now and then to see what kind of shenanigans you and yours are getting into.

      I noticed you had two posts, so I’m assuming (and it’s dangerous to do that kind of thing) that you are just starting your blog up. If you are interested in finding some other dad-bloggers, I’d recommend From Rad to Dad and Papaparisien. Those two are a couple of my favorite dad bloggers out there right now.

      Thanks again for stopping in. Best of luck to you in all of your pursuits.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am just getting started as a matter of fact. So this time your assumption is safe. I actually have been looking for other dad bloggers and it’s definitely been a struggle. Thanks so much for the heads up. Best of luck

        Like

    • The struggle is real! I’ll have to update this post now that my little boy is almost a year old. New and delightful wrenches have fell into the gears, but I’m still trucking along. Thanks for stopping by and reading.

      Like

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