This will not be a rehash all of the blog posts you’ve read about how women don’t get sick days, especially if they’re moms.
The topic of this post is trying to write while staying home with a sick kid. Most writers I know, (know = have read about their writing habits) shut out the world while writing. Some close the door, some play loud music, some claim better writing through the use of biochemistry.
None of these things are possible when you are tending to a cranky kid with a cold. Some will say power down the laptop, take care of the child. Take a day off. And I would, if she needed me to. I’d toss the laptop out of the window if she asked. But she’s engrossed at the moment with Tinkerbell and her vaguely mean girl friends acting out their latest melodrama. Still, despite her interest, it’s taken me over an hour to compose this paragraph, having run to fetch tissues, to take her temperature, to refill a juice glass, and just to check on her to see how she’s doing.
Each time I’ve come back and reread what I wrote and have thought about it differently. I’ve broken my “hash out a first draft” rule by sneaking in some editing, and changed the tenor of the post twice because my train of thought switched to another track.
I haven’t even tackled any of my science writing yet. I read over an assignment, and the generally familiar and friendly scientific terms look like gibberish.
I recognize that the end of this post “should” read with language akin to “but I know what’s really important in life, and so, I will take that day off.” But sometimes that’s not reality. Sometimes reality is deadlines. Is not getting paid if you don’t make them, is losing the job altogether. Reality is losing the story if you’re writing fiction.
So I brush up my balancing act, and press on. And kiss my coughing baby. And hope she sleeps.