I can’t say I am a regular writer since my role as a mother, homemaker and also as one of the directors of my company, Flugelsoft, comes in the way. I have had the habit of creating timetables right from the time I was young – the perfect timetable where not even a single second is spared. But of course it isn’t followed as perfectly as it is made, hence most of the time I end up giving into the addiction of recreating my timetables endlessly.
The ideal time that I would prefer to write is early in the morning with a refreshing cup of tea and some delicious bakery biscuits accompanied by the fragrance of incense sticks. My mind is fresh and I being a partial panster kind of writer, this time is like the most creative and productive time in my entire day when I am at my peak. Early morning is when words and ideas flow to me like a torrent and I don’t have housework and kids to attend to, run errands, or answer the endless doubts of my domestic help. But the life of a mother comes in the way. I can only take up the morning slot best during school spring and winter breaks. And I have managed to produce many of major first drafts or second revised versions of my books during those times by using this slot.
Ultimately life as we know is all about adjustment and on regular school days, most of the time I need to prepare my children’s lunch boxes, breakfast, regular housework and even squeeze in a swimming class which is pretty early by 5:30 am in the summers at the local stadium here.
It is only after 7:30 am, when the children go to school, that I get free. So after catching up with some house work, cooking, exercise, bath and a quick breakfast which might be either roti-sabji (Indian bread and vegetable curry) or bread toast with eggs or again eggs with oats khicdi. I sit on my table at around 9:30 am approximately. Of course this is on the days I have domestic help; otherwise cooking, cleaning and housework can stretch up to 11:00 to 11:30 or even later. At the place we stay in India we really need to rely a lot on stored water due to unavailability of running tap water. Hence house work and cooking tends to be tedious, tiring and hugely time consuming. Like for example the washing machine too needs to be loaded with water manually and by hand as running tap water is never available.
So on a normal day when fate is good to my needs as a working woman I start with my meditation and a little bit of free flow writing. I also light incense and a lamp at the corner of my living room which has a beautifully decorated altar to bring a sense of inspiration and calmness in me. Till 3 pm when my kids are back from school, I divide my time between company related works like working on technical projects, managing our publishing division, digital marketing and social media works, article writing, producing YouTube videos, coordinating with my team and so on. Coordination with my team will be mostly on the phone when I am working from home. So in that slot from 10 am to 3 pm, I work on my novel which might be approximately one hour or more depending on my volume of work from other areas. I have cut down my time to commute to office as most of the work is supervised by our managing team at office now. Last few years I of course had to commute to office regularly and reach there by 9 am, supervise my office team, look into the HR and administrative works as well as supervise various tech projects. During those times I would either pick up one hour of writing time in the evening from 5 to 6 pm after kids go swimming or are relaxing at home. Evening slot is again irregular as kids need to be dropped for swimming practice, tuitions or sometimes even dedicate some play time for them at the local park. In the summers the kids are out swimming for a longer stretch of three hours and five days a week, hence that is another valuable slot when I pick on my writing work in case I can’t give time in the day.
These days since I work mostly from home, I love working best from nine-thirty to eleven in the morning or maybe on Friday and Saturday nights when I can stay up late. Sometimes there would be two to three months, when office tech projects are lean and I can delegate more time to work on my novel. Then there would be months when I am juggling at some office project and writing takes a backseat. Again there will be days when my domestic help has other obligations or just resign and I am just overloaded with too much of housework. Those are the days I end up doing only housework or taking care of the kids from morning to night. Sometimes housework can be very silly and unproductive as waiting for the water supply to be delivered by the suppliers and the whole day is wasted struggling for water and trying to get work done with minimum water. So then writing fizzles down to a total zero.
Children’s exams or sudden illnesses of children which needs a lot of tending to especially since they are young can suck up my writing time too. There are days when my child stays up late for homework’s or school tests after midnight since they also have a gruelling swimming schedule where they reach home at 8:00 pm in the evening. So what with waking at 4:30 in the morning after a minimal of two three hours of sleep at night, I am really exhausted after a hectic round of cooking, housework, and preparing children for school that I just lie down for a cat nap right after they leave in the morning. So my morning routine can be really messed up at times like this. Conferences and seminars are other factors that take a long stretch of time and I need to find some time to work around my writing.
It’s all as per the situation in my life where I juggle either between nil amount of writing for months together or producing a voluminous amount of work and a book altogether. So in the midst of all these irregularities I do have managed to produce six fiction books and numerous articles for my blog, online magazines and a local newspaper.
I love to write and wish I could give more time to it. I really cherish every writing hour I can get and it is something I can’t wait to get back to any day. It excites me when I am at office or at home and I have that entire time at my disposal for work whether be it writing or office work. I cherish the time here as it is not only soothing and relaxing but also precious because I really need to structure my life to make this work. When I am in a writing mode it is a beautiful experience to me as it feels like meditation. I am totally involved, happy and love the process of words filling my pages. The after effect of writing is a feel good moment that keeps me content throughout the day. It gives me a sense of achievement. I don’t have to struggle to get into mood or focus when it comes to writing. It takes less of my energy unlike my tech projects. However I try to stay off writing when my children are at home. At times when I have to write and have some deadline I do get snappy with my children because I get so involved in my writing experience. I regret it later and hence I stay off writing when the children are around as I do not want to hurt them.
Do let me know your writing schedule, challenges as a writer and inspiration that keeps you going.