My 6-month-old is lying beside me screaming as I try to “get back into” Manuscript #1. It is 9:41 pm on a Wednesday. By all accounts of normalcy and decency in probably every country on earth, a child of his age should be fast asleep right now. He is not. He wants my attention and wants me to pick him up and rock him to sleep as I have foolishly been doing for the past 29 weeks. I am sitting just inches from him … he can certainly see me and can probably smell me, yet he is flailing, kicking and spitting his pacifier out like a missile every time I try to offer it to him as a comfort.
How? How will I write any words like this? By the time he falls asleep, I will be sleepy and the whining is driving. me. mad. So I say to myself, “there’s always tomorrow,” and pick him up and place him on my chest.
He’s still lying awake, casually digging his nails into one of my arms when I search “what if I don’t sleep train my baby” on the computer. A Reddit thread comes up and it seems like as long as I don’t go back to a 9 to 5 and am forced into an earlier schedule, I can continue to just let him run my life and go to bed at 10:30 pm. If I choose this, it seems like my writing options are either early in the morning, before he wakes up, or late, after he falls asleep. I can do other work while he is awake but writing fiction requires me to turn down the volume of the mothering part of my brain and for that, I need him asleep.
He yawns, but keeps his eyes glued to the text on my computer screen, as if he’s reading it.
I think I will use this non-creative dead zone to make a 2017 submission calendar for myself. I have wanted to do this for awhile and since I am giving new attention and reverence to my creative writing, now is the perfect time. Committing to submitting is a trick I'm using to reverse engineer some new writing. I’m not sure if that’s how its meant to be done, but it's worth a shot.