Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Secret Writing Weapon....

My secret writing weapon crack, otherwise known as a crib mobile. (Is that pronounced like the gas station or the Alabama city?)

Every day my seven month old starts jonesing for his fix sometime around 11. So I gather him up, nuzzle his little neck, carry him upstairs, pop his binky in, and lay him down. Then he watches in sleepy-eyed anticipation as I wind up the music on his mobile. In months of doing this, it has failed only once but by then we were at DefCon 5 and I was ready to start scrambling the fighters on an intercept course. (The metaphor falls apart at the fighters but feel free to interpret it your own way.)

The routine soothes him and he falls asleep in moments, eyes drifting closed as he watches the little animals on the mobile dance in countless circles. Those cues are what help him sleep. It's the same things, in the same order, at the same time.

I recently set a goal to write a thousand words a day. I have no idea if this is ambitious for most people, but it seemed like a stretch at the time. As a stay at home mom, my days are bracketed by my older son's school drop offs and pick ups with a few set gym times in between but beyond that....well, it's a hodgepodge of running the million different places I think I need to be, infant in tow. So like with every goal I set, I made a plan. And the plan was this: instead of baby spending his nap times in various shopping carts, surrounded by summer produce or bargain size vats of mayo or Target clearance items, he would spend it in his crib.

And while he zoned out on his baby crack, I'd apply bum glue and park my behind on my sofa with my laptop ready to go.

It worked. The simple routine we follow each day lulls baby into his nap and it eases me into writing. I've hit or exceeded my goal every day since I hatched my plan. Then there's the other part of successful goal setting: accountability. I update my webpage daily with my word count and gave close friends and family license to nag me if they don't see the numbers changing fast enough.

And to confess, it helps me with my own addiction. I'm a praise junkie. But now instead of needing fifty people to validate my content every day when I haven't even had a chance to edit it and put my best stuff in front of them, I find praise in the act of writing and producing work. And I'm not forcing my gnarly rough drafts down my inner circles' throats. (I'm not even going to think about how wrong that possessive is.)


Susan said...

Hey Melanie - Thanks for your comment on my blog. I love yours, too. I'm impressed that you are so dedicated to writing, despite the distraction of a baby and "a voracious reading habit." LOL. I definitely know what that's like! You have a great voice and style - think of my little ole book blog when you're sending out ARCs of your up-and-coming bestseller!