Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sunrise, Sunset

by Stephanie Black

This week was a huge milestone in my life. My youngest child started preschool.

For the past seventeen years-excepting the three-week period between when my younger son started preschool and my youngest daughter was born-I've had at least one child at home. Now, for two and a half hours, three mornings a week, I'll have no children at home. This feels . . . momentous. In fact, it was so momentous that after I dropped my preschooler off at school on her first day, I marked the occasion by buying two donuts (yeah, both for me). No one knew-no one else was home as I devoured my treat. (Not that I'm not capable of sneaking snacks when my children are home. If you can't sneak that last ice cream bar without getting busted by your children, you're not trying hard enough).

It's amazing to realize I've reached the point where I'll regularly have blocks of time with no children at home. It only gets more so from here-next year, my youngest will probably start kindergarten (unless we don't think she's ready. They have a late school cut-off date here, and her birthday is in October). In kindergarten, she'll be gone every morning or every afternoon. Then the year after that, she'll be gone all day. That seems really, really strange. This is as big of a milestone as when my oldest daughter got old enough to babysit the younger kids. We no longer had to hire a babysitter when we wanted to go out on a date! Ah, the long-awaited day!

I swear time keeps accelerating. My oldest daughter-who, according to photographic evidence, used to be a baby-is now a senior in high school. That toddler I cuddled is now sometimes taller than I am, depending on whose shoes have the higher heels (barefoot, she's 5'7”. I'm maybe half an inch taller). Next year, she's heading off to college. Two years later, my second daughter will follow. I'm already planning to get all weepy. How can my children be this old?

But back to the present. My goal is to make preschool time my prime writing time. The difficulty, of course, is that this will involve being disciplined, and so far, that hasn't happened. Two and a half hours-minus the time involved in dropping my daughter at school and picking her up-is not very long, and it's easy to let the time slip away. Right now, I'm trying to brainstorm a new project, and I get bored very easily at this point in the writing process, so I tend to check my e-mail a lot, then fall asleep. So if anyone has any extra discipline sitting around, send it my way. I'll buy you a donut.


At 10/01/2008 5:23 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

Yes, I'm in the same boat. I have about 1 hour and 45 minutes of writing time each day with no kids. So I have to use it wisely. Some days, I put in 300 words, others 2000. Turn off the lights and turn on some music. It keeps the "to do list" voices out of your head a little better.

At 10/01/2008 5:32 PM, Blogger Charlie Moore said...


I certainly do like a good donut, especially baravian filled with chocolate icing. Alas, I must do without. I don't have those disclipinary words you seek. My own writing process is when I'm in the mood I write (sometimes, I force myself and sometimes I'm in the mood for long stretches at the time), but when I'm not feeling it I do like you; I check emails and numerous writer related websites.

Congrats on getting your youngest into school and on your oldest close to graduating. My wife and I have all our children graduated. Our youngest graduate this year (2008); but two of them still live with us. Now I ask for your help. How do we boot them out?

BTW, I plan to buy your books soon.


At 10/01/2008 7:10 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

FWIW, you look great for having a daughter in her senior year.

Also, I think I was born with a discipline deficiency.

At 10/01/2008 10:06 PM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

You can have all of my self-discipline, because clearly I'm not using it myself.

mmm, donuts.

At 10/01/2008 11:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm scrimping and saving all my discipline to resist things such as doughnuts at the moment, so I'm not much help in that area.
My youngest only has one more year of school left.
I imagine that now as a happy day - but I'm sure I'll do my share of weeping then too - it all goes by so fast!

Charlie; if you figure out the "booting" thing, please pass it on - I have a few "extras" here too...


At 10/02/2008 10:50 AM, Blogger Jennie said...

Treasure those milestone moments in your life, but go on to savor and sometimes ache a little bit over those yet to come. As for discipline and donuts, I seem to be a bit short on both at the moment.

At 10/02/2008 11:44 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

At least I feel better knowing I'm not the only one with a discipline shortage :)

Heather, thanks for the advice. And I'm awed that you can sometimes write 2000 words in under two hours (I always suspected you were Wonder Woman!).

Jon--thank you! You made my day. Charlie--I hope you enjoy my books! Thanks!

As far as how to boot older kids out, I haven't a clue!

At 10/02/2008 8:43 PM, Blogger Danyelle Ferguson said...

Stephanie -

I had that same problem last year. First it was hard because the house was actually quiet for a change. It was kind of unnerving actually. But then I started sitting down at the computer - and getting sucked into emails!

I finally decided to take myself off my AuthorsIncognito emails and just read them on the yahoo site. Then I forced myself to only check my personal email accounts once before starting to write. I would sometimes even set a timer. :)

After I got rid of the distractions, I was amazed at how much I was accomplishing during that 1 1/2 hour time block.

You can do it! Just identify what's distracting you the most and make a plan.

At 10/03/2008 12:49 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Thanks, Danyelle! Excellent advice!

At 10/07/2008 10:27 AM, Blogger Josi said...

Stick to it, Stephanie, I quickly filled most of my pre-school/kindergartener time with other things that were so much easier to do without a sidekick. Now she's in school Alllllll day and it is lovely, but I still only write for about an hour. I find my brain is so conditioned to short spurts of writing that it doesn't do well with large chunks, but it's glorious to clean and cook and do all those other things without the constant "mo-om". Big congrats.


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