Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mommying and Writing

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 Story
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.

The Benefits:
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.


Wendy said...

You have my attention. I have three wee ones and I am dedicated to writing. I agree so much with your last paragraph. It sure makes me be intentional about my writing time.

I can't wait to read what else you share!!!

~ Wendy

Kennisha Hill said...


Wow, this blog post is certainly for me. It is unbelievably challenging being a mommy and writing. When my son was 3-6 months, it wasn't so bad because he was still and I could sit him in his bouncer, while I wrote a bit (unless of course I was nursing him). But now that he's a very hyperactive 20 month old, I have to learn how to balance between being mommy and writer! In fact, as I'm typing this, he's getting into something!

I take writing very seriously because I truly believe the Lord has birthed a series in me to share with the world. (So excited- first book coming out in June!) But now, I'm terrified of how writing is going to be for me once our little girl is here (Due mid-June). Balancing a new born, toddler and writing will certainly be the big challenge for me. I'm praying.

I look forward to your post. Thanks so much for being transparent and sharing your story with us!!!!


Benjamin said...

I'm definitely not a mommy - or even a potential one - but I look forward to reading about the systems you've employed.

Elizabeth said...

I too am looking forward to your series on this topic! I have 2 young children under five. I have a desire to write and a husband who is cheering me on, but as yet I have not yet discovered how to get the balance right to do mothering and writing. I'm one of those who have been thinking...maybe a bit down the track I'll get the chance to sit down and start! So, I'm definitely excited to hear what you are going to share! Thank you!!

Tricia Goyer said...

Keeping going! God has big plans for you as a writer and a mom! Well, not you, Ben. He has great plans for you but not as a mom!

ginabad said...

I was a special needs mommy of one baby with minimal delays. Didn't write. Had another daughter, with an energetic spirit, turned out she had special needs. Didn't write. Got a job to help catch up on bills, didn't write. Started blogging professionally in addition to job and....
BAM! I edited the novel I had in the drawer forever. 2 months to world build, and 4 for revision #2. Up to next steps.

Writing fiction, it seems to me, requires a serious commitment and dedication, inspiration wherever you can find it, passion, a calling and let's never forget an accountability partner (couldn't have gotten thru without her!)

Fer said...

This is a most interesting blog. I'm not a mom or a writer, but I plan to be both in the future. In fact I've been writing as a hobby for almost ten years.

Now to the point: I completely agree with your statement: parenting puts you in the 'real' world. Personally, I've discovered that long breaks are the worst times for writing, while my most inspired moments are my most busy ones. A blessed irony, I dare say.

Thank you for sharing it all with us, it's nice to hear an encouraging voice from the other side of book publishing.