Challenges in writing with a baby!

Vincent and I started carnet.cc a little over a year ago. The ride is fun and challenging. Fun because we learn as much from the process of writing than the writing we create. And challenging, because we both are not great writers. It takes a lot of energy to get something out of our brain.

November this year, my wife delivered our baby daughter. It is the most exciting event that we have experienced. Every single day, we are grateful for the chance to be parents. We aren’t experts, but we do our best to help her grow healthily.

For our most observant readers, there has been a gap of almost 5 weeks on this blog. No articles were published during this period. It is due to my early steps into fatherhood.

My partner’s day to day has been most impacted. She needs to feed the baby and rest on a 24/7 basis, on short ~2-3 hours cycles. Intense.

Having a baby and trying to maintain a blog is a challenge. The lack of sleep, irregular but frequent interruptions, and holding a moving mini-cute-monster, are making the act of writing all the more complex.

Traditionally, I have optimized my process of writing: I think of blog post ideas on the metro ride back home. I start an Evernote post (but switching to paperus.co from my good friend Jeriel) and jot down some initial thoughts. Back home, I take a deep breath and focus for 30 to 60 minutes to write the first draft. A couple of days later, I review the post and correct it with Hemingway and Grammarly (but soon, all that process will be done on paperus.co). The final step is straightforward but time-consuming: I format the post nicely and publish it on our WordPress site, right here.

Writing with a baby, I don’t get 30 to 60 minutes of focus. And I can’t find the time to format the blog post.

There aren’t many solutions that I can think of at this stage. But I will ask fellow bloggers and find my ways.
In the meantime, I expect shorter blog posts. Ideally, I would post them more frequently. And probably more podcasts and interviews – but without the transcription (that I always correct manually).

Fatherhood is a wonderful gift. But writing with a baby is a challenge. I am still experimenting to find the flow and the routine. That’s what I need to deliver blog posts on a more regular basis.

Hitting the “writing-wall”

Several years ago, I anticipated the need to be a better writer. Putting down on paper good stories, posts, jokes, speeches.
It started with 750words.com and the idea that one should write three pages of text without sharing it. Doing this exercise daily, it didn’t work at first until I committed to the routine last August 2018. At first, logging 750 words a day was the exception. Progressively, it became a quotidian habit.

In practice, writing so much every day is a challenge. I don’t live an exciting life to the point of writing three pages. To cope with this, I added “the three things that I am grateful for today” and “what I learned today.” When done correctly, that takes up to 1/5 of the entire note – freeing me a little from the commitment.
The rest of the note could be only blabbering about how I have nothing to write on.

Later, I decided to up the stakes and commit myself to write a blog article per week. As an introvert, not particularly creative, and not English speaker I was starting a solid gamble. But building on the momentum with my 750 words notes, it felt like writing a 300~350 words post a week was doable.

I set some ground rules to build my comfort zone:
– First, the format has to be simple. No research, only opinion pieces. Short posts, one idea max.
– Second, the first four posts would never get published. I redacted them to get into the habit.
– Third, the following four posts would get published but not shared. So no public shame in case of poor quality.
I have been able to write 20+ posts consistently, so I guess the gamble paid off. You can find the latest ones on carnet.cc.

This morning, I struggle with finding the right angle to write my note. I had several ideas to begin with, but none of them converted correctly. How frustrating to be so close yet so far.
Strangely enough, I eventually did the one thing I was used to when nothing comes to mind. The solution to breaking the writing-wall hit me! I could replicate what I do with my 750 words notes when creativity runs dry. I would write about the difficulties of writing.
And this note is how I finished my weekly goal 🙂