|Sleep? Meh. Sleep is for amateurs.|
Babies will not conform to your schedule.
In fact, they don’t know what a schedule is. I learnt this one early. I had everything planned out, you see. I was going to start my maternity leave six weeks before my due date, and I was going to spend those six weeks writing like a madwoman and finish a draft that I’d been working on forever. And also I was going to write approximately ten thousand blog posts and schedule them in advance, for those tricky early months. Because, you know, I was realistic. But as it turned out, my kid was one step ahead of me. I got a week into my maternity leave and made some progress on the draft. And then? Then she arrived, five weeks early. The best plan is probably not to make a plan. Just wait and see what happens.
I seriously cannot emphasise this enough. In order to get writing to fit around a baby, you might have to write in new places, by different means and at weird times. Pre-baby, I was pretty fussy about when and where I wrote. After baby, well. I discovered the fine art of one handed typing while nursing the baby with the other arm, and scribbling things in precariously balanced notebooks while nursing the baby with the other arm. (You’ll notice a common theme here.) I started getting used to this, but remember what I said before about my baby being one step ahead of me? She got distractible. She started trying to steal my pen if I was writing in a notebook and helping me type if I was on the laptop. (Literary ambitions start young, apparently.) Then she got so distractible that feeding her off to sleep meant spending huge chunks of my evening in a darkened bedroom. Not particularly conducive to productivity. So I started taking my ipod touch in with me and making notes on there. And writing things at crazy late night hours after she’d gone to bed. (I try to take advantage of naps too, but my baby isn’t all that into napping. If she naps long enough for me to write something, that’s a bonus.)
Expect things to happen at a slow pace.
This might not be the case for everyone. However, when you haven’t had much sleep, when there are piles of washing in strange places all over the house, when there’s a little person who needs to be held, you may find that other things slip ahead of writing on your priority list, such as, you know, eating and showering. It is worth trying your very best to write something every day, even if ‘something’ means one sentence. But you might not even manage that. That draft I was talking about before, the one I wanted to finish before I had my baby? Well, my baby is seven and a half months now, and I’m still working on it. Is it worth beating yourself up over slow progress? Absolutely not. And there's a reason for that.
Your baby will be more incredible than you ever thought possible.
No really. They will be. I promise. Whether or not you admit to it, you'll probably find yourself spending a lot of time staring at them in wonder and thinking, I made that thing? Seriously? When you think of all the many years you and your child have together, there are plenty of years ahead when they'll be bigger and less needy, when they'll come home from school and stomp off to their bedroom, and suddenly, you'll remember the baby creature with its wide eyes and tiny hands, the one you held in your arms for hours on end. Even if it seems epic at the time, babies don't stay babies for long. So enjoy them. Make sure you put down your pen and turn off your computer and give them as much love as possible. It might seem counterproductive, but it's the opposite. Your baby will give you more inspiration than you ever thought possible.