–Sondi Warner, Writer/Guest Blogger for Wrought Iron Reads
What’s it like writing with kids in the house? Interesting. Every day I wonder if they’ll throw a coup and overrun my benevolent dictatorship. I am, after all, dividing my time between taking over the world and raising them to be world class citizens. It’s a lot of work for one parent.
My kids used to get a kick out of the fact I’m a writer, but then they learned to hate it. J.K. Rowlings, with her rock star self, might be a glamorous household name, but me? Well, I’m just the chick in the PJs, growling over the computer. It boils down to “boring stuff” for my twelve, eleven and ten year-olds and downright “poopy head-stuff” for my three year-old.
I’ve made writing as interesting as possible for them by creating some kid-sized author tools–like outlines, worksheets and story boards I find online–for them to write along with me. That helps. Keeping them busy while I’m busy means nobody gets their head yelled off. I need mine for writing, and theirs are so cute that I don’t want to do that to them.
Now, for those of you out there who double as a parent and a full-time writer, you know it’s almost impossible to separate what you do from who you are, and that means something’s bound to get half-done. Hopefully it’s the outline and not dinner. So, in order to not be a neglectful mommy, I have to work according to a “strict” schedule.
Here’s what my day is supposed to look like:
7:00 a.m. – Kids off to school. Eat a healthy breakfast.
7:30 a.m. – Check emails, do some social media promoting.
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Get to work. Outlines are mapped out or consulted if already done, and word count goals are set. I try to do a free-write for a few hours, then a rough edit for a few hours. I’m flexible about the timing of each.
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Spend some time with my toddler. Feeding her is kind of important, too.
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Creating marketing tools and disseminating information about my books.
What it actually looks like is a lot of tugging my three year-old off my back from one sentence to the next. The bottom line is, being a writer and a mom is tough just like any other job. I wrote Jonquille while listening to Wonder Pets in the background and in between cheerleader practice and open house conferences.
You know what I learned in the process? My limitations. I might not be able to pound out ten thousand words every day, but being present for my family is much more important than being the most prolific writer ever. I also learned my strengths, and that was just as important of a lesson. I’m flexible. I can write anywhere. Cheerleader practice, open house meetings, long drives or mid-tantrum. I consider it a super power.
“My mom’s a writer,” my son said to a person sitting next to us last week at the dentist’s office. He said it like I was a rock star.
The kids dig it. I’m cool. So, we’re cool.