Someone – I think it was Siân (sorry if not) – asked me this aaaaaages ago:
Have you written anything about the practicalities, about how you manage your working life/writing/you-time alongside homeschooling? I think for many, or possibly just me, the prospect feels overwhelming, simply because of the organisation and juggling. How do you do it? Are you super-organised/structured or do you go with the flow or a bit of both?
We’ve been home educating for a full school year now so I should have this sorted, shouldn’t I? I think I have… maybe… although generally when I think I’ve got things sorted, they fall apart.
It’s probably not as difficult as people may think because we’re unschooling, so we don’t do any formal, structured learning – the boys can just get on with what they want to do. For example, right now I’m in the front room on the computer, Harry’s sitting halfway up the stairs on his DS and Joe’s in the lounge doing a painting on the side of a Shreddies box.
I have a daily To Do list on Wunderlist (which I’ve written about before), but I’ve spent the past year paring it down. I’m blogging a lot less than I used to (here as well as on Happy Home Ed, Mum’s Suitcase), posting less on UKYA and I’ve stopped chasing the writers on Bea. None of it is really time sensitive, but I used to feel a responsibility to post everywhere all the time and I’d fret a bit if I hadn’t had a chance, but I let that go and feel much better for it.
Writing fiction, however, is a different matter. I’ve never been one for writing every day and this year, because I’m out of contract, I’ve been writing different things and then waiting to hear back from people, so a routine hasn’t really been needed. Fingers crossed, that’s going to change soon and then I will need to write every day. What I’ve found works for me is getting the writing out of the way first thing so it’s not hanging over me and if, say, it’s a lovely day or something interesting comes up we can just go and do it. So Harry’s been getting me up when he gets up which is anywhere from 5am. Getting out of bed is not so easy, but once I’m downstairs with a cup of tea, it’s amazing how much I can get done before Joe appears (at about 7.30, usually).
Mostly though, the past year has been good for teaching me to relax more. There have been more than a few times when the boys have been asking to go to the park or even just out in the garden and I’ve been at my desk saying, “Just a minute… let me just… I just need to…” and then realising I can do whatever it is later. I’m very lucky in that David is often home by 5 and so if there’s something I really need to do but haven’t, I can skip off to the office, slam the door behind me and get back
on Twitter to work.