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Maintaining a Writing Routine After a Maternity Leave

Sara General

 Illustrated by Sara General

Illustrated by Sara General

So it happened. I returned to work last week after being on maternity leave for a year. My work is exciting to me in that it’s an area I’m quite passionate about—Indigenous education and Indigenous language revitalization. And while I’m excited, I’m also trying to figure out how all of the pieces fit together. How do I keep writing, making art and contributing to my community in the best way that I can? How do I continue to make progress with my language learning and honestly have time to send good energy back out into the world? This is really important to me. Especially because I think the world needs good energy right about now. Needs to be reminded that peace is important and that it is possible for us all to have enough. Anyways, here are some of the things that are working for me at the moment—bearing in mind that none of this is really advice, just me sharing how things are going :). 

1. Make a schedule. Whatever schedule works for you.

Right now, my schedule includes waking up early to write from 6-7 a.m. Then get ready with the rest of my little family and be out the door by 8:10 a.m. We are fortunate that the daycare and our place of work are within five minutes of each other so we don't have to leave at a super early time. I have a nice day working on projects that are important to me and hopefully, will be good for our community as well. Then we pick up the girls and are usually home, have exercised and eaten by 5:30, which leaves us a few hours before the girls have their baths and go to sleep. My big goal next week is to be in bed every night by 10. We’ll see how that goes. (UPDATE: It's not going well, lol).  

2. Plan evening activities the whole family can do 

This past week, I did the majority of my art work in the evening, painting sketches as a way of relaxing and disconnecting from the office. My oldest daughter likes to paint as well, so it gives us time we can spend together doing something fun and creative. This is good, but also challenging in its own way. It feels like to fit everything in—we're having to use every bit of time that we have. I'm okay with this approach for now, though I have to admit, I was exhausted by the weekend and felt super grateful that it was a short one, work-wise. 

3. Protect your creative time by making it a priority

I used to be something of a workaholic, but that changed when I became a mother. Now I know to take time and make sure that I’m living well. I’m grateful—beyond grateful that things can be that way. I also know that I have to keep doing creative things. 

Now that I’ve had a few days to reflect on the first week and how it went, I can think more carefully about how to make sure I don’t lose track of my writing. That I continue to work at finishing stories, bit by bit. Writing and creating is the thing that fuels all the other things that I do and doing it makes me a much happier person to be around. So it has to be a part of the daily routine. 

4. Write the project you're most passionate about (even if it wasn't the one that was next on your production schedule!)

This past week, I wasn’t sure exactly which project to start writing. I have at least two completely brand new projects that I want to tackle this year and that are written into my production schedule. I also have four books at various stages of completion—some more complete than others. I surprised myself by taking a lot of joy working on a book that hadn’t even been on my radar. to work on and that I actually wrote more than a year and a half ago. But i chose to work on it because something about it was really rejuvenating for me and as I go through it, I’m reminded of why I like it so much. It's also making me really enjoy the process of revising and editing. The book is about Indigenous women, language, empowerment, artwork and funnily enough—it’s a romance. I can't wait to share it with you! Now of course, I agree that production schedules are important, but wow. This little deviation from mine was exactly what I needed. 

In the meantime, I've added some of the new paintings I did to my Art page. Have a peek!

I hope you like them & that your own creative endeavours are going well!

Til next time,

S.