How to Write When You Have Kids


Lemme just explain my current situation:

I awoke at 5 am, not to write, but to breasfeed the youngest of my six children. She’s WIDE awake and hungry. I’m tethered to my precious baby with thoughts of the previous weekend’s writing conference (Re:Write 2015) and all the things I want to do as a writer, but I can’t go anywhere…because I’m predisposed to my duty as milk dispenser. At one point I could write AND breastfeed at the same time, but those 8-month-old fingers love to explore my computer in total distraction from said task. No workie.

This is a metaphor for you non-fiction people out there (@TedDekker). Okay…no it’s not JUST a metaphor. It’s my real life.

I Iay (or is it lie) with my baby and think, “How do I do this? How do I be a writer with children?” How do I write when I have to raise a family AND homeschool AND clean AND attend to my marriage (ladies, you know what I mean) AND exercise? And, and, and, and, right?

It’s not lack of discipline for me. I can discipline my way ad nauseum. After lunching with Mary Demuth, author of 30+ books, at the writer’s conference we agreed that sometimes it’s just God that puts up these divine roadblocks that seem to hinder your success as a writer. Sometimes in the form of the number of books sold or, in my case, a baby craning her neck to look at you as you type on your computer from her highchair obviously D-O-N-E with Pingu.  I am a bootstrap girl, but you can’t bootstrap money out of your audience’s pocket OR a bored baby.

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She is sooo done with Pingu, despite my attempts to write! (Sorry for camera quality, I just turned my computer around and took a photo with my webcam.)

Then, add in things like going to a writer’s conference and you have added layers (ahem…chores) to the question “How am I going to be successful at this writing thing?”.

Currently, there are two pairs of “uh-oh” underwear on my banister from one of my children. Apparently my husband lost the laundry battle in the midst of wrangling six children while I was gone! (I’m just thankful he stands behind my dream of writing enough to agree to be a single parent for two days straight with a nursing baby and a toddler!)

I will spend at least two days getting my household back into its pre-conference groove while my husband works hard to make the money to keep our family fed — taking most of my writing time down to nil.

But then, there are moments. Slivers of time when I realize that the baby is ready to be put back in bed at 6 am and I’m pretty sure that my other children won’t be up for another hour (at least I hope) where I can write uninterrupted.

Of course, I could go snuggle back under the covers with my warm husband (why is it so cold…this is Texas, ya’ll?). And honestly, depending on the day, that might be the right choice.

It’s all about choices — what is right for that moment. Sometimes being a writer with children (and other obligations) means that you DON’T write (gasp!). Sometimes writing that perfect chapter or blog post isn’t as important as doing another reading lesson with your budding reader or cleaning up the spilled milk on your homeschool room’s brand new keyboard (#truestory).

As a writer with children, we have to seize the moment to write. It might be at 4 am every morning because you are like Ruth Soukup, super organized and disciplined, or it might be the moment your children are all outside jumping on the trampoline in the sunny weather (c’mon Texas, help me out here).

Whatever it is, however it looks, don’t judge it…just take it and be grateful for that slice of time to do what you were called to do: Write…with children.

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Elaine Mingus

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