Combine Babies and Bylines

 

I started writing when I had an infant, a two-year-old, and a preschooler. I wrote throughout their school years, their teen years, their college/adult years, and now full circle when I am babysitting grandkids.

The (survival) skills you need to both write and parent change with each stage of your children’s lives. (Sometimes your biggest need is time or energy. Other times your biggest need is keeping your sanity!)

So between now and Mother’s Day, I want to blog about practical ways to combine writing and parenting throughout these stages. Just as beneficial, I hope I can show you some ways that your kids can be your best source of material. (Let’s start at the very beginning…)

Writing with Infants & Small Children

When raising babies and small children, FINDING TIME to write is the toughest ask. Try these ideas:

*Jot down story and article ideas when you’re forced to sit- waiting rooms, nursing the baby, etc.

*Prewrite.  Think through your plot lines, article openings, and titles while doing non-think activities like cooking supper and vacuuming. You don’t have time to waste at the keyboard. You may only have ten minutes.

*Outline. When you sit down to write, you’ll know exactly where you are; you won’t waste time getting started.

*Keep writing supplies organized, in one spot, out of little ones’ reach. (For years I wrote in a small closet painted orange with a door on it for this reason.)

*Hire a sitter or barter with a friend to trade babysitting. I never did this, but I know others have. Use these uninterrupted blocks of time for serious writing. Save those other miscellaneous writing chores for those tiny segments of free time.

Turn Childhood Experiences into Writing

One such experience of mine with small children became an article for Farm Woman (later called Country Woman) entitled “Treasure This Day,” which was reprinted in Catholic Digest. It was a simple article about the joys and frustrations of gardening with a baby, a toddler and preschooler in tow.

Another book, For Every Joy That Passes, has a mother in it who runs a daycare in her home; many of my baby and toddler experiences went in there.

My published stories, articles and books based almost directly on my kids would take pages to list. Just be aware that your children–especially when you write for the juvenile market–are one of your best research sources.

(If you have a tip for busy moms of very young children, do share it below or on Facebook. Don’t assume that it’s too simple, or everyone already does it.)

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8 Responses to Combine Babies and Bylines

  1. Amy says:

    Mine are a little older now and nap times have come and gone, but nap time for baby plus some strong coffee for me was golden during those years! The hardest part is resisting the urge to sleep myself. Moving outside or even writing standing up can help that…

    • kwpadmin says:

      Yes, my stand-up treadmill computer keeps me awake many afternoons even now! It isn’t pretty–my husband fixed it up for me–but it works! :-)

  2. Michele says:

    Sometimes the bathroom is your only refuge. Keep an inspirational book there with short chapters or sections to read.

  3. Brooke says:

    I have a 4 year old and 2 year old twins so it’s never a dull moment here :) However it’s important for my kids to understand and witness the passion I have for writing. I want to be an example of having a dream and working towards it. So what better way than to plop down next to my children with a laptop or notebook and work on my skill while they are working on their skills of Legos and coloring? If we tried to find “time to write” while our little ones are sleeping we would NEVER find the time. So I think introducing them early to your talents and needs to flourish is beneficial to you and your children.

    • kwpadmin says:

      Brooke, I couldn’t agree more! And they can understand this concept at quite an early age. One of my daughters had a toy typewriter that she “worked” on while I was writing.

  4. Vijaya says:

    A great series. I want to share this amazing post from a good friend who is expecting her 5th baby this summer: http://www.faithehough.blogspot.com/2014/08/how-to-be-writer-mama-things-i-wish-id.html

    • kwpadmin says:

      Vijaya, thank you for sharing that! What a terrific article and list of things to remember. She sounds like an amazing mom. :-)

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