Writing’s (un)willing partners?


The writing life, as so many of you know, is a difficult one. Inherent in devoting yourself to a solitary, maddening, financially precarious pursuit is the tacit understanding that those around you must also come to some accommodation with your avocation.

I’m off to Grub Street’s MUSE AND THE MARKETPLACE conference in Boston (and very excited to be a participant, thanks to Adam Stumacher!) and I noted that there is a session on managing writing and parenthood.  Kids are not especially solicitous of activities that require quiet, solitary time—at least they are not in my house–so I think swapping strategies makes sense.  If I were not busy taking pitches and doing critiques, I’d sit in and take notes.   But in the absence of children, things are not necessarily easier.  My client, Christopher Yates, whose terrific literary thriller BLACK CHALK is just being released in the US, wrote a frank and funny piece on being a stay at home husband in order to write.  http://nypost.com/2014/04/30/my-wife-couldnt-survive-without-a-stay-at-home-husband/. Without prying, I wonder how it works in your household.  How do you negotiate time to concentrate, to create?

Writing has wrecked its share of relationships, so this strikes me as fairly essential question.

2 Responses to Writing’s (un)willing partners?

  1. Lynn says:

    I always work best when I’m alone and there are no distractions. Very often I write at night. At the moment, I have that luxury and your client’s article hits close to home. I just hope that my results will be similar to his!

  2. Katie Newingham says:

    I read your client’s article right away and related so much – very happy for him and his family.

    As far as my writing schedule with little ones, I think the main thing I’ve learned is to be flexible, which can be hard for writers. We get so consumed with our stories, we don’t want to stop until the scenes finished, but life with kids doesn’t work that way, especially with toddlers. Neglect them for a minute and they’ll find the paint and splatter it on the walls.

    So, sometimes I write in the morning, other times at night, but most things get done on the weekends when my co-parent is around to help. It won’t be forever. I think next year I’ll get the 2-3 hours I need each day.

    One piece of advice that was given to me: write now, not later – meaning we think we’ll have more time to write when the kids get older, but newborns nap a lot, so there’s easily three hours a day to write. Once they start dropping naps and multiple kids are added to the mix, it gets more difficult to find pockets of focused time. The other piece of advice I’ve accepted: we make time for what’s important to us.

    Can you tell I’m still working through all this…

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