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Right now, my writing time is limited to time in the loo, my rickshaw commute, and the time when my daughter naps on the weekends.
“How are you finding time to write?”
“How are you able to do so many things, having a toddler and a full-time job?”
These are some of the questions that I am asked daily. While some people are in awe of what I do, the rest are just envious (come on, you can find the difference with the way they pose the questions to you).
While people belonging to the former group ask more questions about your time-management methods and even ask for tips, people in the latter group just complain about their inability to spend time for their passion.
As days pass by and your child grows, you can make time to follow your interests. Yes, you read that right. Amidst all your household chores or office work or both, you can always make a wee bit of time to pursue your hobbies or talents. Motherhood will never put an end to our aspirations or passion, only our mind can do that. I am not going to give you any cheat sheet that would magically enable some free time for you. I am just going to tell you about my own experience.
Before I start narrating my journey of making time to write, I should say that I have a wonderful mom who takes care of my daughter when I am off to work. Also, if I have a deadline to complete a poem or if I am nearing the release of my novel, she would willingly take care of my little one for some extra time. So, apart from this, I will tell you how I made some time for my passion.
My daughter was born in July 2018. Till August end, I just couldn’t write even a word, what with all the sleepless nights, endless sessions of breastfeeding, postpartum issues, and my baby’s colic crying. As I was wading through all these, I slowly started writing some quotes and short poems on the YourQuote app. I didn’t want to get caught in the rut of Writers’ Block. So, writing these quotes immensely helped me.
During September, we (myself, my daughter, and my mom) moved to my grandparents’ house for a temporary stay. Though my daughter suffered to fall asleep, she slept better in their house. She took 2-3 hour naps in the afternoons, which enabled me to start writing a micro e-series named ‘Notes Undelivered’. Since I wasn’t allowed to do much household work, I could use that time for writing this series.
I even read books on the Kindle app, while my baby was simply beside me or while rocking her cradle. I finished the Ruby Red Trilogy mostly while rocking her. Since she wasn’t a plump baby, it was easy for me to rock in one hand and hold my mobile in the other. Also, my daughter was required to be rocked for a long time. So, I would be completely bored by the time I finish rocking her. This prompted me to start reading on my mobile.
In late December 2018, I finished writing an entire short story, while my daughter napped for 3 hours. Yes, I had to forgo a bit of my sleep to finish this story. Anyhow the story wouldn’t have let me sleep if I had tried to doze off. This story, ‘Eccentrics’ is published in the anthology ‘Schezwan Jalebi’.
I joined work in January 2019. From then, I formed a routine to read and write. Because having a full-time job robs you of your privileges of having time for your passion. My mode of transport helped me a lot. It still does. The 25-minute rickshaw ride to the Metro station proved as a boon for me to complete half of my second book, ‘Bid Time a Goodbye’. But this book is now on hold, as I started using my rickshaw time for poetry and short stories from mid-2019.
Also, my first book, With Love, Forever, was coming out on July 31st, 2019. So, my editor sent the edited chapters for review and I was reviewing them during my commute. I could even arrange for the printing of the paperback while sitting inside the rickshaw.
Now arises the question ‘Okay, so you write in the auto-rickshaw. But what do you do in the Metro?’ I read! Those ten minutes of to and from commute added a lot to my reading life. I read almost 36 books in 2019, just while traveling in the Metro. However, 2020 was harsh on my reading life. But I finished 4-5 books after Metro services resumed in September. Those 20 minutes are the only reading time I have in my life.
In April 2020, I enjoyed just 9 days of work-from-home (I don’t have to do anything from home, since I work in a bank). During those nine days, I finished a short fantasy-drama series named ‘The Telephone Booth’. Of course, I participated in the National Poetry Writing Month and wrote almost 45 poems that month. All thanks to my daughter’s bad sleeping pattern (which I couldn’t follow, because I had to go to work). This enabled me to sneak in some extra time for writing poetry.
Otherwise, inclusive of recent days, I write poetry only in the loo or during my rickshaw commute. Note it down, your loo time is precious, especially if you are a writer. In June 2020, I finished the short story ‘The Zeroth Patient’ by taking a leave from work (because I needed some time for myself). Come July 2020, a huge thunderstorm of work pressure bogged me down (it still does and I have intense existential crisis). This led me to stall the writing of my second novel (I have been writing it since 2016, LOL), forget about writing short stories, and write less and fewer poems (if given some time, I’d write 3-5 poems in a day). But somehow I managed to gather some poems and published my poetry collection, La Douleur Exquise in December 2020.
So, right now, my writing time is limited to my time in the loo, my rickshaw commute, and the time when my daughter naps on the weekends. This is how I make time to write and read.
How do you make time to write and read? What are the challenges you face daily for following your passion?
Image source: Still from Shakuntala Devi
Kavya Janani. U is the author of the romance novel, With Love, Forever, two standalone sci-fi novelettes (Time Maidens series), and the poetry collection, La Douleur Exquise.
She wrote her first short story, The read more...
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I watched a Tamil movie Kadaisi Vivasayi (The Last Farmer), recommended by my dad, on SonlyLiv, and many times over again since my first watch. If not for him, I’d have had no idea what I would have missed. What a piece of relevant and much needed art this movie is!
It is about an old farmer in a village (the only indigenous farmer left), who walks the path of trouble, quite unexpectedly, and tries to come out of it. I have tried my best to refrain from leaving spoilers, for I want the readers to certainly catch up on this masterpiece of director Manikandan (of Kakka Muttai fame).
The movie revolves around the farmer who goes about doing his everyday chores, sweeping his mud-house first thing in the morning, grazing the cows, etc and living a simple but contented life. He is happy doing his thing, until he invites trouble for himself out of the blue, primarily because he is illiterate and ignorant.