Life as a Writer Mom: 8 tips every writer mom can benefit from.

If like me you have to combine parenting and writing, you most likely understand how much of a struggle it is. It’s difficult trying to collect your thoughts and attending to screaming children. But we love our children, and we also love our work! So what to do?

1. If they’re old enough, help them to understand your work.

You’d be surprised to see that your children can understand. I suggest sitting them down and explaining as best as you can what you do, and how you need time to work. Sometimes all they really need is to understand that the tapping on your keyboard is not trifling but serious work. Now don’t think they’ll be gone for hours, if they give you thirty minutes of interrupted work time, use it well!

2. Have scheduled times to write.

If you work from home, take advantage of the hours when they are away at school or asleep if they’re too young for school. If you don’t, it’s a great idea to plan to write at night, if you can stay up. Plan to write when you will have little interference from the children, otherwise the process will not only be frustrating but unproductive. There’s no point writing under pressure if you’re going to end up deleting it anyway.

3. Find ways to engage them.

If you can’t help having them around while you work, find something that engages them. Have them paint, draw, play an instrument (certainly not a drum or a saxophone!), play games or watch cartoons. The trick is to keep them busy enough to prevent interference.

4. Distract them with food.

This might seem silly, but food really works. Is the house quiet when the kids are eating? Yep, that’s the silence you need! I’ve realized that sometimes they’re bothering me because they are hungry or simply want something to nibble on. So, I make sure that they are well-fed before I start working. I also ensure that I have snacks and drinks to keep them filled after major meals.

P.S:  You might want to check out this tantalizing article on food writing, if it’s your thing.

5. Make them a promise to look forward to.

Promise them an outing or a treat if they let you work. I know, this sounds like a bribe, but I like to think of it as something they’ve earned for letting me do my work. Staying away from Mummy has to be really difficult for them! So, Mummy’s working and they’re working too!

Caveat: You must keep your promises! Children may be impressionable but they don’t forget an unkept promise.

6. Have someone babysit them.

So maybe this should have been number one, but not everyone can afford childcare. If you can, get someone trustworthy. I recommend hiring someone who has been referred to you. If you can’t afford childcare, you can ask a family member, or a friend to watch them while you get your work done.

7. Plan a retreat.

Sometimes you really can’t get enough work done no matter how hard you try. In this case, you might want to consider going on a retreat. There are several opportunities available for female writers, although they don’t come cheap. If you scout well enough, you might find some that offer a part scholarship that reduces your cost. You can also plan a retreat with friends where the cost of accommodation and feeding is reasonable. If you still cannot afford these, you can plan to visit a relative alone and hopefully get some work done.

8. Have a support group.

It really helps to have someone to talk to about your struggles, because sometimes it can be overwhelming. There’s no shame in admitting that you feel inadequate. A good cheering can give you the boost you need to finish that project. Stay away from people who only make you feel worse and gravitate towards those who will encourage and guide you.

I try a combination of these tips. But the honest truth is that it takes a great deal of effort to work effectively as a writer mom. However, the key to remaining productive is remembering that you’re not alone and that there is really no excuse for failure. Give yourself a pep talk if you must, but do what you have to do.

Got tips or suggestions of your own you’d like to share? Leave a comment!

Happy writing!

Abowu District Episode 3

Florence and Philomena were walking down Olusi Street, each carrying a sack. It was early in the morning, and they had just returned from the market where they had gone to purchase cheaper foodstuff directly from the farmers, who had come to the market as early as five-thirty from the villages. The women grunted from the weight of the load as large drops of sweat slid down their faces to their necks and backs. Continue reading “Abowu District Episode 3”

Oyinade Episode 10: “Strange House…”

Dear all, this is the last episode of this season as I mentioned yesterday. The next season starts on Monday, hope to see you here! Please tell me what you think about this series, use the hashtag #Oyinade on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I appreciate you!

 

Oyinade and her maids were brought before Ajao in her father’s throneroom. When she saw him seated on it, eating a piece of chicken, she began to cry because she knew that if he wasn’t on it, he was dead. Her maids who had cried all the way from the bushes now began to wail when they saw their pillar of strength crumble.

Continue reading “Oyinade Episode 10: “Strange House…””

Oyinade Episode 9: “Lessons, Rewards and Conquests…”

Dear reader,

I trust that you have enjoyed the series so far. Tomorrow, the concluding part of this season ends and trust me you do not want to miss it! Truths will be revealed, it will be the end of an era! The next season begins on Monday, March 13. I hope you’ll be here.

Just to be clear, this is not a free story and the concluding part (when it is ready for publication) will be available for a token as with I See You Through the Peephole. Continue reading “Oyinade Episode 9: “Lessons, Rewards and Conquests…””

Oyinade Episode 7: “The Washing”

The day before her wedding, Oyinade and her three maids got permission to go out one last time. Iluope was a border town, and so on market days, traders came from the surrounding villages to buy and sell. It was usually a busy day with many strangers in the town, it was easy to get lost in the crowd. Knowing this might be her last chance to see Iya Adigun, Oyinade tricked her maids into looking for a special herb that she knew they might not find. The heavily pregnant woman who sold them had told her the previous market day that it was very likely that her baby would have come before the next market day. As her maids went towards the herb sellers, Oyinade went in the opposite direction, out of the market and toward the outskirts of the town. Continue reading “Oyinade Episode 7: “The Washing””