Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mom Writers

Being a mother means we must assume nearly 32 other professions all rolled into one…..For free.
We all know the stories about how JK Rowling wrote most of Harry Potter while her baby napped in an out of the way café. Or about how Stephanie Meyer spent one summer writing every spare minute while trying to balance her children and family time. The point is, it CAN be done.
But being a mother and ANYTHING else is always difficult to manage, never mind trying to write entire books and get them out there. Yet here I am, along with thousands of other aspiring writers who are also full time moms. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way that have helped me find the time to devote to writing.

Learn to type fast. I’m not kidding. It’s gotten to the point where I type almost as fast as I speak and my fingers continue to finish phrases long after my mind has taken a break to mentally calculate how many seconds I have before my daughter pushes that milk cup off the table.

Write While the Children Sleep. I love how everyone assumes that just because my children are asleep, it’s free time for mommy. Sure, I’ll write when they’re asleep. I’m on an idiot. But free time doesn’t come until AFTER I’ve finished cleaning up dinner, dishes, and laundry. Which brings me to my next tip-

Brainstorm During Mundane Chores I hate doing dishes. Hate it hate it hate it. But the one thing that I did look forward to was those fifteen minutes where I’ve got nothing to do but think. Some of my best plot turns and character traits came to me while I was folding clothes or scrubbing pots and pans.

Invest in a Laptop This has been a lifesaver for me. I can bring it out in the garden while the kids play, type away on the couch during their morning cartoons. Wherever they are, I am, only one problem-

Don’t Forget to Play with Your Kids- Sure, you’ve fed and clothed them and they’re moderately clean. But how much time have you spent interacting or playing with them? I find that when I’m really deep into the story line, my mind is constantly wondering back to it and I forget that my kids don’t just need me to be there, they need me to BE THERE. And so I try and strip my mind and spirit back out of the computer screen and focus on my kids until they get bored with me. (They always do)
If I find that I haven’t done this enough some days, I ask the girls to help me with supper, or help me clean their room or fold laundry. They love spending time doing it with me, feel ‘grown up’, and probably won’t realize we’re doing chores until they’ve reached early teens. Who knows how long I’ll be able to keep this tactic up but for now, it works.


Vicki Rocho said...

Just found your blog and I am laughing my butt off at your tips because they are SO TRUE. Also a mother of 3, writing time is precious. I haven't locked myself in the bathroom yet (love that cartoon!), but I've locked myself in just about every other room in addition to hiding out at the library, Barnes & Noble, and I've even typed in the car while waiting for my oldest to finish whatever she was doing.

Speaking of motherhood, I have to usher my last two off to school now, but I'll be back to browse more later.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Thanks Missy! Yeah, it's tough. JK Rowling had it easy. I wish I could just wrap my three up and stick them in a buggy to get them to pass out. I tried it with no luck.

Arlee Bird said...

Hello Scary Stalker:
You make some good points -- as a former single father of three girls I understand. However even for those who no longer have to parent children, variations of the themes you present still apply. As I tend to other new aspects of my life post-children, there is still a lot going on that has to be worked around.
Thank goodness for keyboards and word processing -- that alone has made typing so much faster than it was back when I actually had to use a typewriter.
Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

India Drummond said...

Yes, I totally agree! My son is now old enough that I don't have to worry about working around him too much, but all of those suggestions are good.

For me the most important thing has been to learn the difference between the URGENT and the IMPORTANT. Moms learn to prioritise pretty quickly... this is just an extension of that. We gotta realise we can't do everything, but it is possible to do what needs to be done!

angelarene said...

Great tips...I brainstorm all the time during mundane chores!!

Laura S. said...

Great tips! I'm not a mother, but I sure do admire all you writer moms for everything you do. You're super-moms for sure! Have a wonderful Mother's Day!!!

Stina said...

This is a great post! Yep, I'm talented at brainstorming while doing the dishes and vacuuming. :)

Unknown said...

ok I grew up with Creepy Query Girl and this women ALWAYS AMAZES me! I love writing and reading but I find I never have time to "DONT TOUCH THAT... STAY OUT OF THE KITCHEN", to a 9 month old walking and now I am about to have my 4th and last child in Nov. I am going to try those tricks maybe it will help.


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