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Writing a book with a toddler on your lap

Okay, so he's technically not a toddler anymore, (he's four), but in my eyes he is. And he has to be right by my side---all the time. What does that mean when it's time to write? Well, it means you have to figure out how to balance that kid on your lap while you type away.


When I first pictured myself actually writing Eleanor Mason's Literary Adventure series, I pictured myself alone at my desk, while the kids slept soundly after the bedtime routine was completed. I know some of the seasoned writers with little ones are currently laughing hysterically at my vision. Don't worry, I laugh at it now too.


So what did my reality look like? Once bedtime routine was done, I was ready for bed. No world-building for me. This was before the quarantine, so my husband was still working his full-time job. So, I just grabbed my computer and wrote whenever the kids were giving me five minutes. And then I saw the Instagram challenge--10k in 10 days. The goal was to write 10,000 words in ten days. Easy-peasy, right? Only 1,000 words a day. Except, I can't write 1,000 words in five minutes. But I took the challenge anyway.


I am a homeschooling mom, so I came up with a great idea for day one. I had ordered really cute little blank bound books. The kids were going to write a book with me. I made a perfectly spaced out table area in the kitchen--with enough space for each of my kids to work without fighting over crayons, and a space for my laptop. By day four, someone had spilled something on my son's book, which led to a melt-down and him destroying his sister's because it wasn't fair.


So what did the last seven days of the challenge look like? It looked like me writing half of the 10,000 words with a bouncy boy on my lap, talking my ear off while I was trying my hardest to concentrate. It was me bringing my laptop into the bathroom while the kids took their baths. It looked like my husband cooking dinner on that last night so I could finish.


But you know what? I finished that challenge. Well, we finished it, my family and I. And we celebrated the victory together. Because that's what mom life is, at least for me. At least 1/3 of Nightshade Forest was written with my kids tugging at the cool trinkets in my office. It was written after being interrupted 32435746548392384 times for snacks. And then I turned around the next day and did 10k in a day.


And to be honest, as much as it drives me nuts sometimes, I actually like the process. So I see you. I see you tired mamas just trying to get five minutes at the computer. Find what works for you, and own it. Because you CAN write a book with a toddler on your lap.

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