Friday, March 23, 2007

How to be a parent and a writer

When you are a writer you will need to treat it like another job. It shouldn’t be something that completely takes over your life because then it becomes an obsession. If you are a parent and a writer it is even more important to treat it like a job. Depending on the age of your children will help to determine the time that you work on your writing and how long you are able to work.

If you have small children who haven’t started school yet, then you will need to work around their schedule. This means that you will have to work while they take their nap or after they go to bed at night, which means you will have to work with your spouse to be able to have the time you need to write. If you feel you need to write while they are awake, then set up a small desk with crayons and paper for your child to be able to draw while you work. This will help keep them entertained and you will be able to get the idea out of your head.

If you have school-age children then you are able to work while they are at school. It might help to keep you aware of the time if you set up an alarm clock or reminder on your computer for thirty minutes before they come home. This will give you time to finish the train of thought you have and still be finished with your writing for when they get home. If your train of thought continues after they come home, it is all right to finish it, just don’t make a habit of it. They deserve some of your time also.

The best part about being both a parent and a writer is being able to pass the love of writing onto your children. My daughter has started writing books that she would like to publish. It is a way to bring out their creative imaginations. It also helps to talk to them about writing and your story ideas. This will help them to understand what you are doing and will help you to feel out the idea of your book with someone else.

It would also be helpful if you set up a specific place to work and when you leave that place you are leaving work. You will then be able to have things set up the way you like them and not have to worry about moving your papers and notes around and possibly losing them. Children will then be able to learn that your writing area is for your work and they will be more likely to leave it alone, especially the older children.

1 comment:

J Morgetron said...

Patti! I need advice in this arena! Some times I feel like I've lost myself. It is so hard to be a writer when your children need your attention. I wouldn't trade motherhood for anything, but I do miss the days when I could stay up during my productive hours (12 - 3 A.M.) and not have to worry about arising with dawn. (The suns up ... time to wake up is my five year old's philosophy!) When you have time, email me at writegirl@myway.com so we can chat about this!