Today’s parent/writer who is rocking it is Michael Haase, author of The Man Who Stole the World.
Becca: What was your writing routine before having kids?
Michael: I used to stay up into the wee hours of night writing to my heart’s content. I’d stay up past four in the morning quite often and sleep until noon. I could get down nearly 5,000 words a day back then.
Becca: How has that changed since having kids?
Michael: It has all changed. My kids go to bed at 8am and wake up at 8am. I’m lucky that they both good sleepers and stay on the same schedule. (And they both still nap!) But I can’t stay up as late as I used to. If I write after they go to bed, I’m usually out of steam by midnight. I’ve been slowly converting myself into being a morning person. Ideally, I want to get up by 5am to write, as I’ve realized my approaching-forty-years-old brain appreciates a sober mind in the early morning when it comes to productive writing.
Becca: How has your writing itself changed since having kids?
Michael: I’m not sure how much the writing itself has changed, but there are certainly more kids in my ramblings. I think the need to write has become more immediate, as I want my kids to have little bits of my brain in book form to keep around long after I’ve left this plane. If my mom or dad wrote a book, I’d probably be reading that at least a few times a year now that they’re both gone.
Becca: What advice do you have for parents of young kids who want to write?
Michael: I am a “stay at home dad,” which actually just means that I work night shift. That being said, my advice is to learn to roll with the punches, type quickly, and not to wait for inspiration to come. I’ve become productive by having my computer warmed up and ready. My kids are young, 2 and 4, and I’ve trained myself to be able to write something in those small breaks, sometimes only five minutes. But I’ve put down a few hundred words in several five minute “breaks,” and those add up quickly. Just be ready, and don’t expect to sit down at a desk refreshed and ready. Expect to have to fight for your writing time. It’s worth fighting for, right? That being said, take care of your kids first, of course.