Mom writers are a special breed, and my hat goes off to you. I started writing when my children were babies and toddlers, but I haven’t been in that life stage for a long time. I often keep my grandkids (ages 12, 9, 4, and 1) though. It quickly brings back the challenges of combining children and writing–both finding time and finding energy.
It also reminds me of the real blessing it is to have children around on a daily basis when you write for children. As Katherine Paterson once said: “As I look back on what I have written, I can see that the very persons who have taken away my time are those who have given me something to say.”
I’ve been writing a middle-grade novel that includes a kindergarten boy, but until this week, the character was pretty flat to me. I couldn’t seem to get the dialogue quite right or the humorous actions I wanted.
After this week, though, the problem is a thing of the past. I have a small notebook of ideas gleaned from watching the grandkids at the park, playing dress-up, investigating birds and bugs, and turning cardboard boxes into boats and sleds.
Help for Mamas
Mixing babies and bylines can be a real challenge though. Years ago, I relied heavily on a book that is now out of print. However, a friend recommended a book for writer/moms that sounds wonderful called Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by Christina Katz. It has 90% five-star reviews on Amazon, so I’m guessing it’s just what the doctor ordered if you’re balancing kids and a writing career.
In the coming weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, we’ll focus on how to combine writing with babies, toddlers, elementary age kids, teens, young adults, married children…and grandchildren! Each age comes with its own challenges–and its own solutions. If you’re in the writing life for the long haul, you’ll need this bag of tricks!