William Faulkner (in addition to his famous line, “Kill your darlings”), supposedly said that a good writer will sacrifice everything in his life in order to remove the anguish that birthing art produces. Including robbing his own mother. So easy to tell Faulkner wasn’t a mom. Many moms of young children have the same burning desire to write, take a shower, speak to someone over the age of five. Maybe in Faulkner’s time, writers had “help.” These days, most writing moms work outside the home and then take care of the kids, cook, clean etc. How any of them finds time to write is a miracle in itself.
Writing Tip for Today: If you are a writer who can’t exactly rob your mother because if you did she’d refuse to watch the kids (or grandkids) so you can write, how can you find the time?
- Ye Olde Notepad, or There’s an App for That. Many writing moms won’t need to be told they ought to carry notepads or their apps on the phone so that ideas can be jotted as they arise, scenes can be sketched while waiting at the dentist, character study done as one observes people while saying, “Yes! That’s fantastic!” to your kid on the playground monkey bars. It’s never been easier to write on the go.
- Writer Mama Co-op. I’ve heard of writing moms who swap sitting so that each mom in turn gets a little face time with the computer. Be creative, and remember: fifteen minutes here and there can add up. You don’t have to have four or five-hour blocks. Even though you’d love to. A great little resource is Christina Katz’ 2007 book, Writer Mama.
- There Will Be Resistance. Face it, Mommy. Your family will resent your taking even 15 precious minutes away from them. If you are determined and you set a regular schedule, kids often get used to the routine and quit trying to light the house on fire as you write. Husbands? Feed them well and swap writing time for TV football playoffs or whatever he’s into that you loathe. If these ideas don’t work, try writing while standing at the kitchen counter. When you’re writing that sad love scene, they’ll think you’re chopping onions. Good to have an actual onion nearby. Eat that, Faulkner!