I’ve been writing in stolen moments for a long time. Some of my first work, like Twisted Breath of God, which was written sometime in 2001, happened while I had a babe in arms and a toddler. Any readers who have had children know what that means. I might also have been pregnant… my timelines get a little fuzzy in that 40 month period between giving birth to my first and the third daughter. I am certain I typed that story one-handed, with a baby on the other arm.
It can be done, although I knew quite well that it was most likely I would follow the path of one of my favorite authors, Lois McMaster Bujold, who I was told had taken 14 years to write and publish her first novel. As the years passed, and the kids grew, and I wrote in those stolen moments, usually early in the morning as I am not a night owl. I kept print journals that got odd ideas and plots jotted in them, mostly to be forgotten, but it kept me moving in the right direction, and never feeling like I had stopped writing altogether.
It wasn’t until my Eldest was twelve that I started writing again seriously. I’ve probably told this story a hundred times, but bear with me. She went off to summer camp, and having just read a certain book at her behest, I decided it would be fun to write a short story and send it to her in serial form while she was away. Vulcan’s Kittens were born, about three thousand words to make my cat-lover daughter happy. This also coincided with a period of time where the whole family was in transition, and I wasn’t sure what the future held. Except I was fairly sure that writing didn’t play a large part in it.
She came home from camp all happy and tired, and I didn’t think much more about it. School started, I was working in an office, and one day she came home from school waving a piece of paper at me. Her teacher had told them about NaNoWriMo, and she wanted me to turn Vulcan’s Kittens into a novel for her. At the time I’d never written anything longer than 10K words, but the daily wordcount seemed doable. Especially because the office job had a lot of downtime where I was at my computer doing nothing. Again, stolen moments, lunch hours with my laptop and amused workmates who thought it was funny to see me tapping away.
It wasn’t until I was writing Pixie Noir that I had the time to sit down and devote whole days to pounding out words. That was great, but now I’m back to stolen moments, writing for twenty minutes at a time between classes, of a whole hour at the laundromat (although 1500 words in that hour made me happy – I’m not the world’s fastest or most accurate typist). Am I discouraged? Not at all. I’ve done this before. I’ll keep doing it for a long time, as I have no plans to stop doing everything else and only write. First of all, I suspect it would go badly… I need those breaks between books to refresh my brain and whatever drives my creativity. Secondly, for the sake of the children’s futures, I need to finish getting this stable career going so I can get them through school, too. After that… who knows?
In the meantime, I’m going to get some homework done, and then take thirty minutes to write. I’ll make it a game and see how many words I can make happen in the time I have.