An Actual Parent-Writer
Being a parent is like being a Navy Seal. You get little sleep. You are called at any moment, day or night. Though exhausted and pushed to the limits of human endurance, you somehow make it through. Then comes the next day.
Having the dream of publication and the responsibility of raising children can be like spitting in the wind at times. Your days are filled with the greatest joys and most difficult challenges. I’ve tried to write at night and in the morning only to be thwarted by the cutest little girls and happiest little boy in the world.
Many times I’ve rose early, take a sip of my black coffee, smile and sat down at the computer then – “Daddy! I woke up!” calls my 2 year old Clara. Then her sister June gets up and the fun begins.
I love writing, but I gladly set it aside any time I can for my children.
How do I get anything done? I take one night a week to write to go and write for a few hours with my writers group, after the kids are down. Also, I usually have some time before work or before I got to bed a few days each week. I believe it was Madeleine L’Engle who talked about writing in the cracks of life. As parents who write, we do what we can and keep going, building the habit now, rather than waiting for the time when we’re on a more consistent schedule.
Writing with kids is never easy. But parenting is my first love. Besides, I get to see the world through their eyes and am inspired to be a better person, and better parent. I want to try harder at things, to be a good example, to be disciplined and soft, loving, and kind. Living life is the best way to find inspiration for my work. There is no better way to live life than to share it with those we love.
Love your kids today writers.
Get ready West Michigan. Jot 3 the GR mini writers conference is next week March 14th!
We have reached out to each presenter for an interview to help the audience get to know them better before the conference. Even if you are not in West Michigan, or on this side of the world, I wanted to include the information here on my blog.
For the ful list of presenters, please go here.
The link to Indie author Thomas McClurg’s interview on What Novelists Can Learn from Screenwriters is here.
We hope to see you at the conference!
One of the best books I’ve read on writing is Stephen King’s book On Writing. It is one part memoir one part book on writing. He is a master story teller, obviously, but there was one thing I read that was like a punch to the gut: writers are born, not made.
When I first read it, I thought I’d read it wrong. I reread it. Nope, it was still there. Writers are born, and can be refined to be better storytellers. Some people just do not have the gift. However, if you don’t have the talent to act as a foundation, then you simply will never be a writer. It’s like being forever tone deaf to the beat and rhythm of storytelling.
I don’t believe this for one bit. But it is powerful when one of the better fiction writers of our generation tells everyone reading their book (I assume these are mostly writers) that they must be good enough first, otherwise they will never be a published author. I am thankful I was not going through a vulnerable period in my writing life where this could have derailed me. What if I was struggling with this thought and this comment was enough to push me over the edge and cause me to quit?
I am a firm believe that to be a published writer, you must work hard. You must get up at 5am at times and stay up until 3am and then get up and go to work in the morning. You must read books on writing, go to conferences, learn learn learn, and make it a part of who you are in your everyday life.
If you find yourself on the fence about continuing your novel, consider this: Do you like the idea of being a writer, or daydream about landing that mega contract? Or is writing enough? If it’s all about the money, I suggest getting a second job. If writing is enough, I challenge you to go and get to work.
Write well, it’s a new week. Make it a good one
Last year, I trained for a 5K. When I started to run a few months beforehand I realized, yikes, I’m way out of shape! But after huffing out a mile run for a few weeks I was able to stretch it to three miles. The race was a fun experience and I look forward to doing it again this year.
Fostering a creative mindset is just like this. It can become a habit, but you don’t put canvas on an easel and paint a masterpiece rivaling the classics, and you don’t sit down and write a book it comes in words, sentences, and pages. It takes time and momentum. Here are a few practical ways to fill your creative well so when you are ready to take on a creative pursuit you don’t begin empty.
These are five ways that help me foster creativity. Because of how busy my life is, a lot of these surround the idea of peace. I’d love to hear how you recharge in the comments section below.
- Go on a walk. This can be during your lunch break, when your spouse gets home from work if you stay at home, any time. We all need time to think and being out in creation, even on a dark snowy Michigan winter night, can fill your creative well.
- Time alone to think. This may seem odd but I’ve felt rich and full at 6am when all is dark and quiet and I have a cup of coffee in my hand just looking out into our yard for ten minutes.
- Organize an area of chaos in your home. This may seem counterproductive because it would steal time away from the creative pursuit, but it is all about momentum. The satisfaction of finishing a project will result in a clearer and more focused mind.
- Go into the city or country. Here in Grand Rapids, 10 minutes will bring you to the downtown of a bustling city, 10 more minutes will put you out into the country. I love the feel of a small big city. If you live in the city, venture to a park. If you live in the country, head downtown. Pulling yourself out of your normal way of life will help open up your mind.
- Share a meal with friends. I love sitting around a table and sharing a meal. There is something beautiful about this that unites people. No matter if it’s Mountain Dew and pizza or a gourmet meal, everyone enjoys some free food and conversation with those they love.
Whatever you do this weekend take time to be you, creative. Find a small sliver of peace and drink deeply. Then, use that peace to produce something.