Tales of a writing mom, or why I burned my muffins 

One of the questions I get most often is, how on earth do you manage to do so much? I write, publish books (my own and my husband's), produce documentaries, run websites, homeschool three children, renovate my house, renovate my cottage, do competitive karate and train roughly 18 hours a week. Oh yes, I'm also a clean-eating freak and insist on making most of what we eat from scratch without the help of highly processed foods, which we mostly avoid.

Right. Well, here's the secret: I multi-task. A lot. I also divide up each task into small tiny parts and must do at least one tiny part from each task each day. For instance: I must work on one chapter from the novel. I must edit two pages from the ebook I'm currently in the process of publishing. I must wash one window and work on one renovation task (these days I'm doing floors at both places; refinishing oak floors at home and putting down new flooring at the lake - my knees are a mess). I also spend at least 10 minutes doing yard work. At least an hour of homeschooling. Also 15 minutes of stretching. And another 15 minutes of reading. A book, I mean. Reading a book. I actually schedule this. Five times a week for 15 minutes. Amazing how much more reading that is compared to before I added this to my schedule. The kids are in charge of doing the routine house-cleaning chores and the putting away of laundry, which leaves me with the washing of laundry, the scrubbing of bathrooms and 10 minutes of thorough cleaning per day. We're not squeaky clean yet but we're mostly presentable. It works.

Oh yeah, I also get up before everyone else (a touch before 6 am). When I'm in the city I go for a jog (during which I listen to fascinating BBC history podcasts; in the summer I go for a morning swim but without the podcasts) then start working on my writing and video work while prepping home-made breakfast like pancakes or waffles made from scratch. I also read my newsfeeds and interact with my social media peeps standing at the stove waiting to flip the cakes of pan. Not that I stand; usually I stretch. Because why stand when you can do yoga?

Yes. I spell multi-task in capital letters, bold and in bright red crayon. I mean it.

It usually works pretty well for us (among the things we don't have time for: partying, eating out, watching television, gossiping; can't say I miss any of that). But there are some flops here and there. Like this morning. I decided to whip up a batch of homemade double chocolate mini-muffins for breakfast (added sugar: about a tbsp for the whole batch; it's ridiculously healthy stuff yet yummy enough for the kids). I put them in the oven and went to work on my novel. Got lost in same and ignored the muffin timer. Muffins baked a bit longer then they should have. They're not entirely ruined, but they could have been better. I guess we'll have to break them up, put them in a bowl and stir in some milk and heavy cream to compensate.

It'll have to do. ;)

Of love, art, and literature

The libertarian view on modern schooling