I have a two-year old. (I could probably end this explanation there.)
I didn’t used to. When I was writing Rusalka, I had hours upon hours of quiet free time with which to brainstorm, research, or scribble out a few sentences. As I’ve mentioned before, I made [what I feel was] the mistake of writing and plotting my novel organically, and then backtracking to restructure and tighten the storyline. It worked out alright for me. Really, it did.
But things are different now, with my toddler. When all is said and done, I have about an hour to myself at the end of the day. One hour of quiet. I don’t have the luxury I used to have–of being able to snuggle into an armchair, put on music and relax for 30 minutes, think, warm up my brain a bit, type out a sentence or two, erase them, pour myself a cup of cocoa, walk around my apartment a few times, grab a blanket, type out another sentence, stare at it, erase half of it and rewrite it…
Now, if I’m going to write a scene, I need to know beforehand where it is going, what it’s use to the storyline is, and what character traits it is going to reveal. I need to know that I’m not wasting my time and effort.
Maybe that doesn’t sound very artistic, but in all honesty, I prefer it this way. It is forcing me to write a better novel. I had a hard time parting with a bunch of “fluff” scenes the first time around, simply because I’d put a lot of heart into them, or because they were fun, or because I liked my writing. Now, the fluff is gone before it starts, making me put my heart and talent into the meaningful parts of the plot–the parts that are going to take my plot somewhere. I’m not sure I’m enjoying the writing process more, but it sure is making me a better writer.
Plus, I have a cute little toddler to keep me company this time around.