Friday, December 20, 2013

The Tasmanian Devil Ate My Writing Time

I am a stay at home dad of eight. That's right, eight children. Our newest is 3 weeks old and my wife was back to work a week after delivery. Why? She wanted to get the hell out of the house. In addition to the 3 week old, I have a 13 month old, a four year old and then lots of 'other year olds' of varying sizes, shapes and smells. The only thing they all have in common is my last name, ridiculously loud voices, and a knack for losing remote controls.

Let me give you a typical day. I wake up as if in some kind of a drunken stupor because I fell asleep in front of the computer typing. The last two pages of my WIP look a lot like this. lk;jkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkllsdk;ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssslk;;;;;;;;jnvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv,...............................sdlj;;;;;;;;;;;;;.

I wipe the drool off the keyboard and run deodorant over my tshirt to freshen that baby up and then start conducting the three ring circus. Some days, I'm throwing eggo waffles like frisbees on the quad, I'm usually answering a few last minute math questions for my daughter or poking my eyes out over some idiotic word search a teacher has given one of my children (can we stop with the word searches already?), often I'm duct taping a hole that's opened up in one of my kid's pants (I'm looking at you Jude), and usually there is a copious amount of yelling.

I get the newborn baby ready in his carseat, then pick up my 13 month old and carry both down the stairs (did I mention I don't have much cartilage left in my knees), squeeze everybody in the van and get them to school. I drive the younger three home, we eat breakfast, play, feed the baby, change a poop from the 13 month old, then get him down for a nap.  Usually, while the 13th month old naps, the newborn wakes up. I often hold him, balance a bottle between my chin and his mouth and try to get some work done at the computer.

By 11am, the 13th month old is up and we are getting ready to take the 4 year old to school. So, we eat lunch, get ready and take the little rascal to preschool at noon. Then I take the youngest two home and frankly, I don't know what the hell we do. I know I hold them alot, often at the same time. I know at some point the 13 month old gets owly but doesn't really want to sleep again. So we wrestle. We both make animal noises while we roll over on the ground together. He a 25 pound halfling and me a 250 pound gigantour.

At some point, I try to poop. In fact, I try to poop every day. You know what the 13 month likes to do? Jump into my arms when I poop. (Don't you have doors you ask? Yes I do but trust me, it's a losing battle.) And so, I have become proficient in the art of pooping while holding a human being in my arms. Good times I tell you.

At 3pm, I get the runts back in the car and go pick up the bigger runts. I take them home and start conducting the after school circus. What happens to the house after school is very similar to what happens when the Tasmanian Devil enters a forest except instead of stumps, my house is littered with toilet paper, peanut butter and jelly, and crumbs. Some days I actually think they collect crumbs at school and then deposit them in my home Great Escape style. By 4:45, I am cooking dinner and watching the clock carefully because, Holy Shit, I've only got a little more than an hour to clean the house before my wife gets home from work.

And thus the mad dash begins. Kids do chores, I clean while playing zone defense on the 2 babies and usually by 6:20 the house is starting to resemble something a human being would feel safe entering.

I could keep going but you get the picture. Now, do I share this with you to make you feel sorry for me? Big Hell No. First of all, my wife and I chose to have a big family, we wanted all of this crazy chaos. But even if we didn't, my point in all of this is...every aspiring writer out there has a crazy chaotic life. It may look different from mine, but chances are, you are pretty damn busy.

And you know what? Through all of the craziness of my day, of holding human being while I poop and strapping and unstrapping an inhuman amount of car seats...through of all this, I write. And you know what? I write a lot. It ain't always pretty, but those words are a lot prettier than they were two years ago. You see,  I'm getting better. I have my own definition of what making it as a writer will mean. And trust me, there is not a doubt in my mind that I will make it.

And my message to you? You will make it as a writer too. Will you be the next Rick Riordan or the next fill in the blank? That's the kind of stuff we can't control. But, will you become so good at your craft that you will learn how to tell entertaining stories that make people laugh and cry from page one? Will you publish good stories. Absolutely, one hundred percent, Hell yes!

You will make it because screw what life throws at you and screw how busy you are. If writing is in your bones, if its a part of who you are, then you will write. You will get better. And you will make it.

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