5 New School Year Resolutions for Writing Parents

Kids back at school

In which I muse aloud and you get to listen in.

Although it varies by a week or two across the Northern Hemisphere for many parents, children round about now are returning to school and the more rigid routines of school days, homework and earlier bedtimes will come into play. As parents we need to be more organised and lovingly firm with our kids as we ease them through the change.

Whether you are a going out to work writing parent or a stay at home one or a bit of both, it’s a good time to think about your own schedule, your priorities in terms of projects that you have to complete, client commitments and projects that capture your heart and that you want to spend time on.

An important question to ask is ‘what is actually possible?’ We can take steps to create writing time by getting up early or staying up late, by being good at using small pockets of time between chores or on commute but believe it or not, writing isn’t everything. Our resolutions need to take account of the current demands of our lives timewise, physically, emotionally, mentally. At different phases these demands will fluctuate. All out commitment to the cause of writing without consideration of your current situation cannot be a good thing. As children settle into school they may require more of our empathy and listening time, will benefit and feel less anxious by us just being around, taking a walk with them, creating space for communication. Later on in the year these demands may change.

But if we get a chance to write, we want it to be as fruitful as possible. I often struggle to feel satisfied with my achievements because I have several tasks and projects on the go and have not identified which need to come higher on the list. At the end of the session, which is never very long, I have achieved not much of anything as I flit from document to document, to my email, to Google etc. A simple thing, but sometimes I’m not really clear what I’m working on. Just writing that down and having a schedule will make a lot of difference.

Sometimes I come to write and just can’t get into it, I have no spark. This is often after a period where I have not had any down time, general pleasant relaxation, a walk, or sit down with a book or even an evening in front of the TV.  It is possible to make writing a stick that doesn’t bear fruit because you are beating yourself with it. (Ah the mixed metaphor, my favourite beast!)

So what resolutions might be good ones for the new school and writing year?

5 Resolutions for the new school and writing year

1: Write less but more fruitfully and watch more telly

2: Pick a project, set a deadline or a mini deadline and work to it

3: Think each day about your current demands/desires emotionally, mentally, physiologically, socially, for family etc and decide what is most important, what is possible and necessary.

4: Take pride and joy in what you achieve even if it is less than what you had hoped, write down what you have done, it’s easy to forget

5: Think about, interact with and support others, friends, extended family members, other writers, create a strong and positive network.

Goodwill and good effort for the most part come back. Writing and life energy can be created by taking care of our time, ourselves, each other.

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7 comments

  1. My boys are not in school until Thursday (roll on Thursday). I have taken 3 weeks off over the 6 week break. But the whole thing has been very stressful.
    They are too old to go to a holiday club for the full day. They have gone to sports club some mornings and are supposed to amuse themselves the rest of the time.
    I thought that I could juggle them & work but I have missed appointments and been rather tense (like knicker elastic some days.
    I always over estimate what I can achieve in a day! I will be printing out your suggestion 3. & sticking it over my desk.
    Thanks Alison!

  2. Sounds like a great five step plan to me. I am now back on campus and the routine and need to focus on being more productive with my time.

    Love the photo. So cute!

  3. Top tips, thank you! 3 of mine go back on Thurs and the 4th starts school (sob) on Friday so I have all the half day stuff for a few weeks which makes it very difficult to get anything done!

  4. Came late to this post through facebook – what hit me is your phrase, (esp having a young family) “what is necessary, what is possible”…
    My back to school resoloutions include not “Digging My Own Writing Grave”
    – after an immersion in “I need to get this done asap kind of writing, I think I’ve drunk my well dry! And I really miss the freestyle joyous notebook writing I did before I ever considered publication. I went through a period of being preoccupied with writing submissions/comps – they provide great opportunities – how else do you move on as a writer? But they are also so, so distracting…I’m trying to finish a novel (still) but keep getting blown off track by the flashing lights of mini literary glories (that don’t happen!) so I’ve decided to wear blinkers and ignore the latest bling bling competition till I have written “The End”
    My second resoloution is not to be so intense about it all, so (like you) I’ve decided to watch more telly! ( On the grand scale of ONE programme, and of course its the only time we’ve visitors)I’ve taken on an x factor addiction which, funnily enough, my family seem to really enjoy! It’s become a satuday evening routine, fire lit, (though we don’t need it yet) and me parked on the couch – its strange but the children like this so much better than me parked in the kitchen writing on the laptop (aka checking blogs, email and now facebook…) I think I got siderailed with writing, but the more siderailed I got, the less writing I was actually doing? More kind of flitting and fussing, though the internet is useful, I think I got a lot more real writing done before I discovered it (around a year and a half ago) – a really big beetle just ran across the floor, i hope its a beetle… thanks for this post Alison, taking pride in what I achieve on any scale and interacting with people, esp family and friends, has been (re)prioritised this september for me too.

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