For the next two weeks I'll be running a 'Mommying and Writing' series. Just a few things I've learned along the way as both a Mommy and a Writer!
When talking about mommying and writing the word I hear most often is after:
After the baby is weaned.
After the toddler is potty-trained.
After my kids are in school.
After my kids are out of school and off on their own.
Is it possible to write professionally and be a mom? Will one suffer? Will both? Actually, as a mom of three school-aged kids and author of 18 books I've discovered both benefit!
My journey to becoming a published author started when I was 22-years-old and pregnant with my third baby. A former teen mom, I’d never considered being an author until a friend from church told me she was working on a novel. I love writing. Is that something I could do professionally?
I started reading books on writing, and then I had an opportunity to attend a writer’s conference. It was three weeks before my baby was due, and I attended with great expectations. I was sure the year would birth a new child and a new career. The child came a week early, but the career took a bit longer. Yet, I didn’t give up. Sometimes I woke before the kids to write. Other times I wrote while they napped. I wrote about things happening in my life, and although only one thing was published during the next three years, I learned a lot. Mostly, that I could balance writing and kids. All it took was motivation and a little time management.
What I didn’t realize when I first started writing was how much I would benefit as a writer from having my kids at home. Parenting put me into the “real” world. I dealt with kids, with neighbors, with preschool groups, with people at church. I chatted with other moms about their struggles. I faced struggles of my own.
Mommy authors cannot sit at a desk all day and just write. We fix meals, change diapers, say “no” a hundred times a day (and an occasional “yes”), and we give lots of hugs. Yet it’s in living in this real world that we discover stories. In fact, the “real struggles” I had became the inspiration for articles I wrote. If I was struggling with picky eaters, teaching my kids to share, or dealing with a reluctant reader I figured other parents were too. Knowing this, I’d query a magazine and propose an article about one of those topics. Then, once the editor said he/she was interested I’d contact parenting authors or other professionals and get advice. Yes, that’s right, I’d get free advice from the pros for the very things I was struggling with. Then I’d get paid to write about it. How cool is that?
Another benefit of writing and being a mommy has been to my production level. Believe it or not, writing with kids at home has taught me how to produce … more. When the kids were small I’d sit down and write knowing I’d only have 30 minutes tops. So I didn’t dawdle. I focused. I worked. I put words on paper and I figured out systems to help me write fast.
And now … I’m going to share some of these systems with you.