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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Writing With Children

by Jill Monroe

Deciding to stay home with my children was not a difficult decision. There were many pros - the first obvious - I could stay home with my children. I always wanted to be a writer - now I could, and all my (small teaching/advising) income would be eaten up by daycare anyway. It was a no brainer.

And really, think of all the time I would have to write, write WRITE.

I had visions of children happily playing with toys at my feet while I typed away at the computer.

I'm sure you're laughing at this point. Because as any mommy who's tried to go to the bathroom in peace can attest, children cheerfully quietly playing while you're trying to do ANYTHING just doesn't happen. Unless of course you're trying to clean their room. Then they're anywhere but there.

So, I adjusted my schedule a bit. Instead of getting the scads written I'd hoped, I snuck in writing time during naps. Or after bedtime. When my husband began getting up at 5:30 in the morning, so did I. And beleive me - that internal editor is not awake then!

I finaled in my first writing contest when the youngest was a baby and sold my first book before she went to Kindergarten. So, it can be done.

Now we've moved into a whole new phase for us. Booksignings, contract calls, RWA meetings - the kids have heard the names of my editors so much, they probably think we're related. They do think they're related to some of my critique partners.

So, I've learned a few things. First, children are not impressed by your writing. Your booksigning. Or that you've been asked to speak at another writing group. Going to a bookstore to see your book on the shelves may MAY be cool the first time. It's not cool when you decide to visit every Wal-Mart, Target, Waldenbooks, Barnes and Noble and Borders within a 30 mile radius of the house.

My youngest tried to be helpful, pointing out every clinch cover book with a red spine, "There it is, Mommy!" really loud in each store. The oldest got to giggle every time she told a stranger her mommy's book was "Never Naughty Enough."

Kids are not swayed by bribery. I've told my kids that if I sold a fourth book - we'd take them to Disneyland. BUT, they'd have to let mommy work. Yeah, doesn't work. (Fourth book you ask? Hey, we still owe on the college student loans!)

Last year, my oldest asked me if I were famous. Now anyone who knows my sense of humor knows EXACTLY how I answered that. Man, what a difference a year makes. Now the kid KNOWS I'm not famous.

Lastly, sometimes you just have to sacrifice. There are times when I was watching Tellytubbies or playing Barbie when I'd think wistfully of my work in progress. But it seemed like I blinked and they were already in school. So not every book I wanted to write got written when they were little. Not every conference (or a cute outfit to wear at that conference) did I attend. But an impromptu hug or a smile because I stayed up all night sewing a Raggedy Ann costume makes it all worth it.

Although this year at The Romance Writers of America's National conference, Meg Cabot of Princess Diary fame will be signing. I plan to get autographed books for the kids (if someone can tell me how you get books signed while you're also signing - hopefully). THAT will impress the kids.

I wonder if Meg has kids, and if they're impressed.


At 8:32 AM, Blogger Meankitty Says... said...

Blink and they're in school?? I keep blinking and blinking and nothing is happening!


Jody W. (home with 1 + one on the way)

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Shawn said...

I loved the post Jill! I already admired stay at home moms and now have a new appreciation for stay at home mommy writers. Wow! I don't know how you guys do it!

P.S. I am supposed to be harassing you because it's your birthday per Miss Showalter's orders, so consider yourself harassed. :D

Happy Birthday!

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Kiki, aka Esri said...

I don't know how you do it either, Jill.

You're a writing goddess and an inspiration!

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Kristen Painter said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY - again with the shouting, but then you know why. :o)

Here's how you get books signed: send Gena. She owes you. I'll put on a dark wig and sign books in her stead while she stands in Meg's line for your kidlets.

Seems fair, don't you think?

At 3:53 PM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

I worked 30 hours a week when mine were little and only started writing when they were old enough to do homework on their own. Even then I wrote after 9 pm, when the kids and husband (early to bed early to rise kind of guy) were asleep. We do what we need to when we want to write!

At 7:47 PM, Blogger bridget said...

Happy Birthday Jill! I consider you famous, you know. You're famous over here.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger MaryF said...

She doesn't have kids, Jill.

Jody, LOL about the blinking!

I didn't start writing till my son was 5, not seriously. I couldn't have handled it any younger.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Jennie Lucas said...

Love this blog, Jill! And Jody ... heh heh heh.

Jenna (home with a one-year-old)

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

LOL, Jill. Great post. I started writing when my fourth child was two. I couldn't wait until she was in Kindergarten, but then it seemed I spent more time getting her ready and driving then I did writing while she was there. As the kids got older, squeezing the writing in got harder! :) More sports, more homework, more projects, more laundry, more everything!! But there are so many published writers out there who have more kids than I and they do just fine, so I guess...where there is a will, there is a way! :) Good job on sewing those costumes! I'm sure your kids were impressed with that. I know I am.

Happy Late Birthday,


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