Writing. It’s a job that can consume many of your waking thoughts as you sift through characters, research questions, plotting, and editing in the confines of your mind. For some writers, it’s a job that fortunately has yielded monetary renumeration. For others of us, we’re still waiting for the call that our book will be published (for those writers going the traditional publishing route).
I’m in the latter category. I wrote my first book five years ago, then took a maternity leave when I found out I was pregnant with twins. My joke is that my maternity leave ended in August of 2012 when I returned to writing, making a serious effort to learn this amazing craft, more intricate than I ever imagined. I’ve joined a national group, dedicated to helping writers of my genre. I’ve joined a local group, also dedicated to helping writers learn their craft and ways to either go through the traditional publishing route or the self-publication indie route. I’ve written, rewritten and edited one complete manuscript and am now almost finished with my second. I’m trying to learn more about ways to improve my writing: tighter pacing, no head hopping, deeper POV, stronger GMCs.
So far I haven’t earned a penny, but I’m loving every minute (well, almost every minute-it hurt to cut my best line out of my first book because the whole conversation and scene was deleted). So why this post, you might ask. You have a clear goal: to become a better writer who hopes to one day become published. You have a clear motivation: to get your book published. That leaves my conflict. With my oldest two kids, I was your typical stay-at-home mom. I went to every class outing possible, I kept the house clutter at a relative minimum and we spent weekends together as a family, especially if my wonderful hubby wasn’t at work. When Cupcake and Chunk entered dayschool, I made the decision that my maternity leave was over. Writing wasn’t something I could ignore. It’s an integral part of me that needs to be expressed. I love writing and it’s part of me. But that realization came at a price. I’m no longer able to go to every class outing. I’m telling people no, people who don’t always understand that since I’ve never received a paycheck for this that I need to commit time to this. I’m going to libraries on weekends to write because trying to write at my house is like pulling teeth with each of my four kids barging into my room/office to discuss a pressingly urgent topic (like the injustice of one of their siblings getting the last cookie when they wanted it). My oldest two had mommy at home for their first years. Cupcake and Chunk hug Mommy goodbye before she goes off to write.
I’m hoping they all understand someday that I didn’t go out and party, but that I’m taking this write-at-home job of mine seriously and that I’m giving it my all.
So what about you? If you’re a mom, do you work at an office or are you a stay-at-home mom? If you write, how do you balance writing with your personal life? I’d love to hear from you.