Three Year Plan
Being able to spend more time with my children was one of the major perks of my leaving my full-time position at BioWare. Certainly I appreciated having more time to write stories and novels but hanging out with my kids while they are young is also important to me. I think I’ve struck a reasonable balance and so for the past year my youngest has been going to a dayhome while my eldest attended kindergarten. Kindergarten in Alberta is only part-time… so for part of the day he would go to school (and I would write) and then would spend the rest of the day with me — fishing, biking, building robots, whatever.
What should have happened this fall, with my eldest attending full-time school and the youngest at preschool and a dayhome was that I would have more time to devote to writing. I’ve been looking forward to it.
But I’ve spent August taking stock of what I’ve accomplished. From an objectives point of view (things I have control over) I’ve done very well with my writing… I’m on target for having a 300 000 word year, in terms of actual writing production and have written many new stories, cleaned up a novel draft and written a rough draft for another. So, I’ve been productive despite only writing part-time.
In the end however it is difficult to justify missing out on time with my children when the results of my writing have not been as significant as the effort I’m putting into it. So, instead of diving into a full-time writing schedule I’m going to pull the youngest child from his dayhome. Basically he’ll attend preschool in the mornings (and I’ll write) and in the afternoons he’ll be home with me. It will basically be the same scenario as the past year except I’ll be home with the younger child instead of the elder.
I’m committing myself to doing this for the next three years (two years of preschool and one year of kindgarten before he enters school full-time). After that? It will depend if I’ve hit the targets I’m aiming for, writing-wise. I will have (at least) another six novels written and probably thirty to forty new stories. If my writing sales are matching my writing effort at that point then I’ll be more than happy spending all my time writing.
If not maybe I’ll start a game development company or something :)
Jane Chin, Ph.D.
You are amazing, Brent. I fully support your decision; I’m in a similar position and it was one of the reason why I wrote for Adam’s “spotlight” series how I had to adapt [http://blog.iwritereadrate.com/?p=1554].
I was reading (I forgot where, I’ve been reading different things in different journals/books on writing] an article on the craft and the columnist said that almost every writer he has met has a life full of demands… children, elderly parents, full time job, personal problems… and yet they are still writing.
I bet you will still produce a lot of words only now you’re mindful of where you want to prioritize your attention.
Wow- you are really on track. Great to spend time with the kiddos when they are little.
Thanks Jane! To be a happy writer requires striking a balance… as a workaholic it is a struggle for me to maintain that balance. But I feel this decision will help me towards that.