Continuing our Writer Spotlight series, we’re delighted to host an article by Jane Chin. Among many other things, Jane is founder of 9Pillars, a consultancy focused on creating personal and social significance. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband, son, and an old royal ball python named Budette.
Writer Spotlight is an opportunity for our members to draw attention to their iWRR ebook as well as to them as a writer, their style and interests. We’re not looking for anything in particular – so feel free to let your creativity loose!
Read Jane’s article…
How I Write: Adapting to Life’s Demands
by Jane Chin (Creative Nonfiction writer & Author of The Youngest Light)
Ten minutes lapsed between my typing “How I Write” and this sentence. I was parading with my 3 year old little boy around the office to musical tunes from an educational video. Then little boy wanted a snack from the kitchen downstairs. As we made our way back upstairs I heard the beep of the washing machine downstairs; clothes needed to go into the dryer. I’ll do that later. I have this to write.
A blank page of a notebook or blank document screen does not paralyze me.
I’m not scared of scribbling or typing practice words, that warm-up foam above what rich savory broth of composition may form. “God…what do I write about? I’m typing chaff. This isn’t going anywhere. What am I doing?” It’s the scarcity of continuous chunks of time that sends me into a panic. How can these essays ever congeal, how can these ideas ever animate, when I was getting up from the desk every five or ten minutes, interrupted by little boy who wanted a drink but the water bottle needed refilling, the phone ringing, little boy wanting another snack bar. Those clothes still waiting for the dryer. And now I need to pee.
When little boy was much younger and fell asleep for afternoon naps only if I stayed next to him, I learned to compose Toastmasters speeches in my head. We nestled on the bed, both of us staring at the ceiling, and while I waited for little boy to drift to sleep, I identified 3 key points I wanted to convey through the speech, then 3 supporting points for each key point. That year, I delivered 17 Toastmasters speeches in 12 months.
I’m learning to adapt how I write to meet the demands of this stage of my life. I’m learning to let go of that fantasy of propping my legs on the desk leaning back against the chair casting my gaze inviting inspiration for my next essay. Maybe one day that fantasy will become reality, but not today. Today, I’m learning to marinate ideas in the back my mind while I smile and nod at little boy pointing at the video reciting words he can read.
I will catalog new ideas or scent of a potential new essay trail when I get to a pen and paper, or the computer. I’ve learned to write drafts to “the cloud” either on email or as an unpublished post on my blog, accessible wherever I can get an internet connection. I’ve become more patient with how each idea develops, some are robust cotyledons quickly germinating into form while others lay dormant. The benefit of ”the cloud” is that I don’t have to discard dormant seed ideas.
I’m learning to trust that inspiration does not run on a schedule, appearing only during solitude and quietness. Like that one morning when little boy threw a tantrum and we were already late for (his) school, and how every traffic signal turned red and every car in front of me wanted to turn left on a one-lane street. When I came home I encased that memory into a 500 word flash prose, and as I released those feelings, I felt the blessed flow that writers relish - Hallelujah!
I adapt how I write to life’s demands or I’d give up writing.
This is not the best time to pursue the writer’s life, not when you’re parenting a young child whose attention span is at most fifteen minutes. But timing for writers aren’t always perfect. So I chase the feeling of perfection when I am typing (like what I’m doing now). I relish in the feeling of perfection when I finish a piece. My bladder is screaming at me to “go to the bathroom NOW!” but I am reveling this feeling of perfection.
What about you? Have you had to adapt?
Read a free sample of Jane’s novella & download the full work here: The Youngest Light
Connect with Jane Chin directly here: Twitter
Thanks for submitting, Jane! We’re sure that your thoughts will feel similar for a lot of other writers. We think that balancing writing with everything else in life is a daily challenge we all face!
What does everyone else think?
Want to write an article for our Writer Spotlight series? We’ll post them in chronological order of when they are received. We’re aiming to post one a week at the moment (but would like to post more!). All you need to do is have an ebook on our site & to get in touch.
Email us with your submission here: spotlight@iWriteReadRate.com
Check out our other Writer Spotlights: