Every interview with every woman (this is no exaggeration) has a required question. The one that every mother and wife is asked. One that doesn’t apply to fathers and husbands. “How do you do it all?”
As a recent interview with the Qatar Tribune shows, this question continues to plague me as well.
My answer, however, has morphed over the years.
When I had no children, but several projects going, including a start-up, teaching career, and personal writing, I would say: “Don’t procrastinate.”
(Still good advice).
When I had one child, a demanding job at a multinational, and writing on the side, I would say: “Schedule everything you want to do.”
(Also still works.)
Now that I have two children, a teaching career, several sequels in the works, and am cooking once I week, my answer is much more pointed.
In a way I’m grateful for the persistence of this sexist question because of the chance to reflect on how my process has changed.
Here’s how I answer now:
1. I don’t do everything every day.
My priorities are exercise, quality time with the kids, and writing. Yes, you may gasp, but none of these loves make it into a 24 hour cycle. Yesterday, I did manage two out of three. Today, I’ll be happy with one.
2. I still don’t procrastinate.
I don’t have the luxury of starting at blank screen for two hours. Those two hours won’t come again for another 7 -10 days. Necessity is the mother of all invention. Get to it.
3. I know why I’m writing.
My stories have no one on whom they can depend but me. I’m it. If they are to get out into the world, like a baby in utero, I am their vehicle. They want to be read. I have to write them.
What are your no nonsense tips for getting it done?