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My Daughter Says That I Spend Too Much Time Writing

May 13, 2014

sad faceMy youngest daughter told me today that I spend too much time on the computer writing.

This was tough to hear. I pride myself on spending a lot of time with my family. Weekends used to be filled with family excursions to interesting places in and around the city. Evenings would be spent eating meals and doing nightly chores together. In the last few years, though, my daughters have begun to spend more time with their friends and less time with me. It’s a difficult adjustment in some ways, but it has opened up some time for me to write, especially on weekends.

In the last few months, I’ve gotten more intense with my writing. I’ve spent more time on the computer than I used to, and I get grouchy when the writing isn’t going well. I’ve justified it by saying that grouchiness is a sign of passion, and the passion is what drives me to be successful. But I don’t want to turn into a jerk at the same time.

My daughter’s statement “You spend too much time writing on the computer!” was a wake-up call. Maybe I need to cut back on my writing, I thought. Maybe I need to take a breather. Maybe my daughters and I should get back to going on those weekend excursions and doing more chores together each night. I always enjoyed them (maybe not so much with the chores). And those weekend activities brought my family together.

Then I realized what my daughter had just said.

“You spend too much time writing on the computer.”

My daughter didn’t want to spend more time with me. She wanted to spend more time on the computer.

That little shi… shi… shyster.

All my youngest daughter does on the computer is watch videos. She can do that on my phone or my wife’s phone or on the shmyPad (an iPad knockoff tablet). I can’t write on my phone or on the shmyPad. I once tried to write on the shmyPad, but it was disastrous. I was born 35 years too late to write on the shmyPad. I’m not even going to try writing anything other than a text on my phone. The only place I can write my blog and my other projects is on the computer. I ask/demand only 30 minutes each night. That’s reasonable. And my daughter thinks that’s too much time?

Even though my daughter’s complaint was a false alarm, I will still take a moment and pretend that it was a cry for help. I can get grouchy when I’m writing. My grumpiness is probably more of an issue than the amount of time that I spend writing. If I get interrupted while I write, I yell a little bit. It doesn’t scare my family. They think it’s funny. The boring dad with the monotone voice gets loud and monotone when he’s interrupted. I don’t swear too much. And I’ve never threatened them (except with the possibility of watching Fox News for an hour) if they interrupt me while I’m writing.

The good news is that my daughters don’t NOT want to spend more time with me (great, now I write like they talk). They simply want to have more time on the computer. After all, the screen is big. If that’s the only reason my younger daughter thinks that I write too much, I can live with that. Next time, she can text her complaints to me on the phone while I write on the computer.


How much time is too much time writing each night? Is it okay to get grouchy when writing isn’t going well? Is threatening them with Fox News (or any other cable news channel) acceptable, or will that get me into trouble with parenting authorities?

  1. 30 minutes a night?! That’s it?! It takes me 30 minutes just to get started!

  2. I have no personal experience with Fox News, but from what I’ve heard it does sound a bit cruel and unusual. Of course, I also have no personal experience of your daughters, so perhaps it’s warranted.

    Getting grouchy when writing is perfectly acceptable. In fact, you should make a sign that you can put up: “Writer at work. Disturb at own peril!” Or something like that. A friend of mine wears a special hat when she’s writing. Her family dares not disturb her while she’s wearing that hat.

    • I’ve thought about putting a sign on the door, but I worried that it might be obnoxious (and there’s no guarantee that anybody would read the sign). Locking the door just means that they would knocker harder. I might need to resort to Fox News. It’s worked before.

  3. It is a hard line to determine how much or how little……Haven’t quite figured out the balance yet…..

  4. I really wish I had kids, but I also realize that I might as well enjoy not having them while I have the chance. I can write for 4 hours a night if I want and no one bugs me for the computer. (I almost never do write for that long these days, especially while I’m supposed to be looking for a job)

    • The good thing about kids (from a writing perspective) is that they provide constant material to write about. Even though I hardly ever write about my daughters, I could write about them every day if I wanted to… but I won’t.

      • My sister has three kids and she posts whst they ssy on facebook. Everyone keeps telling her to write a book about them.

  5. Are you able to write after your daughters have gone to bed, or is that too late?

    • I am also going through a similar parenting stage…I couldn’t stand sharing my computer any longer so we ended up getting our son a small laptop this year (nothing fancy). One big reason is that more and more of his homework requires a computer now, and I’ve had to put my own work on hold so that he could get his homework done. Don’t know if this is a feasible solution for you.

      • Writing after they go to bed works well on weekends, but I’m an early sleeper during the week. We MIGHT get another computer, but I really don’t want to. They have phones and cable and scmyPads. By golly, when I was a kid, we didn’t have any of those things and we were happy without them (or bored out of our minds… I don’t remember which).

  6. crepe permalink

    Figuring out daughters can be difficult, even for moms. Have you thought of buying a keyboard for your shmypad? That’s what we have for ours. It’s much better than the phone of even what’s built into the shmypad (I love that description). Keep on writing.

  7. Anonymous permalink

    You mean you don’t have your own computer? I can’t imagine (now) not having my own computer that I can access whenever I want.

    • Well, I have a computer, a really good one, but everybody in my family wants to use it. I can boss my daughters around a little when they want to get on it, but if my wife wants to use it, it’s probably in my best interest to be patient and not bug her about it.

  8. 30 minutes is nothing! An hour to three hours. And mostly on the tablet these days. I have a handwriting keyboard app that makes it easier. I can usually manage around 500 words on it.

    • Maybe a keyboard app or something like that would help, but I bought this computer, and doggonit, I want to be the one to use it. My daughters will be the ones getting the apps (as long as the apps are free).

      • I understand!! The app’s free for the moment. Stylus Beta! But it’s hard to use without a stylus.

  9. I have the opposite situation. My son, who is five, tells me to get on my laptop.

  10. Yes, 30 minutes gets me started…but once I am started it is sooo hard to stop..yep, get grouchy too!

    • Remember, grouchiness is a sign of passion, and it’s the passion that drives us. We wouldn’t be grouchy if we didn’t care about it. But after the 30 minutes, I kind of have to be done for a while.

  11. DJ Sally permalink

    Reblogged this on DJ Sally and commented:
    Me too! But I love do it.

  12. your home as well! 30 minutes is nothing in the scheme of things. Write when you like when you can. Mental note- who paid for the IT gadgets and the electricity bill to charge our endless equipment!!! keep going

    • You’re using logic, and my daughters don’t always respond well to that. A loud voice and threats about Fox News seem to get better results, but you’re right. That 30 minutes is usually the quickest of the day.

  13. youmanifest permalink

    hahaha.. this entry made me laugh. (not being sarcastic..) ill keep reading. 🙂

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