This new reality of tiny increments of time to get large projects done in - totally not something I as an admittedly impulsive creative person ever thought I would be able to embrace.
My working style has always been been ALL or NOTHING. I would work all day on the weekend on a project and stop. Or stay up all night just to keep working on it if the working was good. I only stopped when exhausted or burnt out. The next time I had a large chunk of time I would pick it up again be frustrated with why I found it hard to get back into it, feeling like I was wasting time finding my groove. Rinse and repeat. I was in a perpetual distracted state, bouncing between work and my own projects and writing and finishing not much of anything. I did not know any other way to work - I think that had I a different approach I could have completed more and existed outside of the state of overwhelm I found myself in daily. Now with M in my life, I have been forced into different daily reality and I wish I had been working this way the entire time.
Big project / small manageable steps daily = forward motion. I envy you who have known this all along.
Every time I get to work on a creative project it is really just a small thing that I have time for - it might be trace 2 pieces of a pattern while M is eating a waffle, or research something I cant take the time to read but just gather information into Evernote to review later after she is asleep. Yet overall, so much as been accomplished. The more little things I do, the more I start to see the snowball of creative ideas moving forward.
It also frees up the time when M is awake and I can be totally present with her.
A couple things that help in this incremental reality:
Stopping when the work is good. I got this from an article about making space for your work/writing by Aimee Bender. (I cannot remember from where! Probably O-Prah! Magazine, long since recycled. Yes. Also admitting that I read O. What?!) It is what drives the energy forward the next time you pick up your writing. This either drives me crazy or does help keep the momentum going. I generally like to wrap up just PAST the point that the writing is good. By stopping when its good and then writing a todo list for the next time I pick it up again. Which leads me to....
Having a work log is key for me to keep track of where I am at any given time on a project. (And you know I have more than several going on at any given time.) This is nothing as formal as a notebook - a sheet of paper or even a postit put on top (securely!) of the materials you are working on with the details of what you actually did and what the next steps are. I find this the MOST helpful. I can just glance at it and quickly absorb where I was (I might still be feeling the buzz of working from last time, but forgot the particulars) and jump right in. Or if I'm just not feeling it that day, I can be a robot and look at the next step and just do that one thing. Like print out a pattern from the internet. Or cut out a pattern. Sometimes in the just starting the momentum appears in the doing!
And again, I envy you who have known this all along! But now I know. And so do you!