The Write Attitude: Expect the Unexpected When Scheduling

Jennifer ApplinAs a mama you already know that only thing predictable about children is the unpredictability they bring to your life. This is especially true with young children. I have four of them, and you better believe that as soon as I have a pressing deadline one of them will get sick. Accepting this reality now, and considering how this will affect your writing career can will help you tremendously in the long run. Here are a few suggestions for putting together a workable schedule when you’re a writer mama:

Expect the unexpected. Although you can’t plan when things will go wrong, you can plan for things to go wrong. Avoid setting such a tight schedule that a weather-related school delay will throw off your entire day. At the very least leave a little wiggle room at the end of your schedule to catch up if needed, and aim for weekly instead of daily deadlines. 

Be realistic and flexible. When your son is sick, the dryer breaks and your babysitter cancels, do not flip out. Well, okay, you can flip out for about 15 minutes, but then it’s back to work. Re-examine your to-do list, prioritize what has to be done, and break all jobs into smaller tasks. An unexpected change to your schedule will be more tolerable if you can be realistic and flexible with your plans.  

Evaluate what is/isn’t working. Remember to set aside time to assess how your efforts are measuring up to your intended progress. Schedules pertaining to family life typically change with the seasons, so a quarterly evaluation of what is/isn’t working is a good idea. 

An attitude accommodating the unpredictability of life with kids will go a long way in helping you reach your writing goals. Keeping a schedule that allows you to roll with the punches means you can stay productive and won’t be down and out for the count.

Jennifer Applin is a freelance writer living in Ohio with her husband and four young children. She is a regular contributor to and writes for many regional publications. She spends her days cooking, cleaning and caring for little ones, and her nights writing about pregnancy, parenting, and the quest for peace (as in peace and quiet). You can also find her at Managing the MotherLoad.


1 Response to “The Write Attitude: Expect the Unexpected When Scheduling”

  1. 1 The Writer Mama March 13, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    I love two ideas here:

    Accepting reality.


    Expecting the unexpected.

    Both so true and both such a big part of every writer mama’s life.

    I imagine both are exponential to how many kids you have, as well.

    Or in my case, kid and puppies. 😉

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