Top 5 Blog Posts for Mums who Write

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I’m a mum with a toddler and I’ve recently returned to part-time work. It has become a little tricky to prioritise my writing, especially as it really has little benefit to my family. For me, however, there are many benefits. It’s personally fulfilling. It feeds my creative mind, it channels my passion for storytelling and I love it. It’s also hard work!

When there’s clothes to be washed, meals to be cooked, playdates to attend… it can be extremely hard to justify why I need to set time aside to write. Not that I have to justify it to anyone but myself. My husband is very supportive and gets that I don’t just want to write but that I need to.

I’ve worked as a freelance writer for more than five years, but it’s been on the back burner for the past year as I’ve prioritised fiction writing and  the pursuit of publication. That’s tough! I’ve turned down paid writing jobs, to work on a manuscript that may not ever eventuate to print.

But it’s this need to write, this drive that keeps me going. After eight years, five manuscripts and many rejections I still keep at it. I have a belief in myself that it will work out one day. But that belief does waver- often- and I have to really gather together my motivation, passion and desire for writing to keep me going.

So, in my pursuit of validation, reassurance and just wanting to feel less isolated in my creative pursuits, I came across these wonderful blog posts, articles and interviews by writers who are mums who have shared their experience of motherhood and writing.

  1. An Inconvenient Truth About Mothers and Writing by Allison Tait

Author, freelance writer and blogger, Allison Tait often shares her experience of being a mum who writes. She’s also the co-host of the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast which I am seriously addicted to. In this blog post, Allison says:

“Writing is a selfish task.”

And it’s true. I write because I want to. Because I need to. Writing takes up many, many hours. It takes about 100 hours just to get a first draft down of a story. And that’s just the beginning. It offers no immediate monetary reward (yet!). Though, the word selfish often conjures up negative connotations, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We are better versions of ourselves when we have a passion, something that makes us happy. Something that isn’t reliant on the approval or recognition of anyone else.

I try my best to write at times that least affects my family, like when my daughter is napping… but it does sometimes mean that the dishes don’t get washed or the floors don’t get mopped. It’s a payoff I’m willing to take. My house might take a hit, but at least my relationships don’t.

See the full article here.

2. To Be A Mother, To Be A Writer by Lynne Steger Strong

Author Lynne Steger Strong shares her experience of motherhood and the need to be a ‘Writer.’

“my book and my children are so deeply intertwined with one another, it’s hard not to see them as connected in some certain solid way.”

She discusses how not only the way she writes has changed since becoming a parent but also the actual process of writing. The emotional investment into the writing process becomes heightened and with it comes an awareness on the importance of channelling that need to write.

See the full article here.

3. Balancing Writing and Motherhood, an interview with Monica Dux

This article is from the Writer’s Victoria website and is an interview with author Monica Dux.

“On a more practical level, I am so much more efficient than I was before I had kids. I used to waste so much time, because I had so much more time to waste.”

When I read this article I reflected on how I work around my child to write. Like Monica, I too am a far more productive writer than I ever was before I became a mother. I have specific and dedicated timeframes to write and I have to see results. Before becoming a parent I could sit at my laptop all day and write nothing. I don’t have that luxury anymore.

See the full article here.

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4. Motherhood and Writing by Joy Calloway

Debut novelist Joy Calloway spoke of how her writing routine changed once she had kids.

“Motherhood didn’t stifle me. It didn’t snuff out my writing like I’d predicted. In fact, becoming a parent made me more efficient.”

I must admit, I did experience ‘baby brain’ for the first ten months of the postnatal period. I suppose there’s a biological drive that creates a preoccupation with the cute, chubby, dependent little being you have created. A couple of months before my daughter turned one, it felt as though the haze was clearing and the creative aspect of my mind started to fight to the surface (interestingly, this coincided with the time my daughter’s exploration and independence increased). I had to write and I knew that if I didn’t pursue publication right now, then it would never happen.

See the full article here.

5. Motherhood & creativity: How do you find the time to write? by Rebecca Bowyer

Writer and blogger, Rebecca Bowyer  also explores creativity in the context of motherhood and that elusive thing called time.

“When you have small children the impediments to finding free time expand exponentially.”

I read this article and could relate to Rebecca’s circumstances because I too have a supportive partner and social network which allows me to write. Without that, writing and parenting would be a much tougher gig.

See the full article here.

And just one more…

6. You’ve gotta love it: A School Holiday Lament by Natasha Lester

I’d planned to just compile a top 5 post, but then I came across this article in my inbox and knew I couldn’t omit it from my list. So here’s article number six. Australian author Natasha Lester shares her struggle to write and juggle three kids over the school holiday break.

“…writing a book a year is a full time job. I don’t have full-time hours though.

I’m sure a lot of parents can relate to this. When you’re a full-time mum who also holds a part-time day job and trying to write a book… well that’s three jobs that are trying to be squashed into just seven days. It’s tough!

See the full article here.

Final thoughts and a book for further reading…

If you read through each of these articles you’ll find a common theme that emerges among each of the mums who write. Time. Efficiency. Passion.

We have to juggle our time. We have to be efficient. We have to write because we love it. Why else would you do it?

Efficiency is also something that stands out to me. It reminds me of some research I came across a couple of years ago (I can’t recall the source) that showed women who work part-time jobs often do just as much or more work than their full-time counterparts. Motherhood requires women to be organised (leaving the house with a toddler requires a lot of preparation!), flexible (things just never go to plan) and a sound decision maker (problem-solving is an endless parental task).This all adds up to quick thinking, adaptable and efficient women who get the job done.

On a side note, I’ve just ordered the book “Motherhood and Creativity” Edited by Rachel Power who has compiled interviews with women who are mothers with creative pursuits. I recently listened to an interview on the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast and immediately ordered myself a copy. You can listen to the podcast here.

Motherhood and Creativity

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8 comments

  1. I didn’t really start writing until my daughter was about 9. She’s now nearly 19. I happen to think I’m a better mother because I did priorities my creativity.

  2. There’s so much to like in this post! Firstly – I’m a huge fan of Allison Tait, her Map Maker books and her podcast. Also a fan of Natasha Lester – I read that blog post about the school holiday lament the same time I was experiencing similar thoughts.
    I’d be interested to hear how you enjoyed the book you mentioned.

    • Thank you Marie. How awesome are the podcasts?! I’m still getting through the backlist but it provides me with hours and hours of inspiration and motivation.
      I’ll try and post a review of the book Motherhood & Creativity once I get it (and read it!).

  3. I stopped working seven years ago as I was finding it too hard to mother and work at the same time—my kids were just hitting their teenage years at the time. I stopped work so I could be a better mother, but knew I’d need something for myself, so I took up writing as I thought I could fit that within school hours. But something sparked immediately, and it became an addiction—Alison’s quote about writing being ‘selfish’ is spot on. I’m obsessed and now ‘work’ more than I ever did when I was employed. Yet, despite spending more hours per week devoted to my new ‘trade’, I am, I believe, a better mother, and the reason is because I’m happier.

    My children took a while to get used to me not being there as much, and still have a bit of a whinge every now and then. The other day, I said to my son, ‘I have dreams, too, you know.’ And it stopped him in his tracks—he hadn’t realised that, and it made me see that it’s good for kids to see their mothers pursuing their goals, too.

    • Thank you for stopping by Louise and sharing your thoughts. It’s so nice to hear that you discovered writing once you became a parent. It’s so wonderful to have a creative outlet when your mind is buzzing with kid stuff! It’s so important to have our own dreams and goals, and as you say, for our children to see this too.

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