Thursday, November 8, 2007

Writing tips for busy parents

I write every day. I write personal stuff like this blog to express my self as a mother who is in the trenches with two toddlers with very little support, aside from my glorious grandmother who you will learn about later this month and who reads this blog faithfully.

I also write non-fiction news and feature articles for regional publications averaging about one or two deadlines each week. I do not use a babysitter. I do not stay up all night. Writing is as much a part of my day as going up and down the stairs a hundred times. And, I'm so grateful to have this skill intersecting with my life as a Mama.

Here are my Top Five tips to stay connected to the Art of Writing:

1. Think about writing: Breathe it, smell it, witness it, eavesdrop on it. Picture it in your head as you see spectacular events unfolding, even if they are scary or overwhelming. Make specific notes in your mind about the most important things you don't want to forget.

2. Keep a notebook: I have a creative journal that is just for ideas and lists. I use it when walking as it fits neatly in the stroller pocket or my jacket pocket. I always have a pen handy as well. Small is important because this is just for notes and ideas ... not the full-blown piece. If your idea book starts to get dusty, crack it out again on a cool crisp Fall morning and just list your life until the thoughts flow.

3. Leave the house
: It's amazing what a walk, a drive or a drive to a place where you can walk can do for a writer's soul. Julia Cameron talks about "Artists Dates" in her masterpiece, "The Artist's Way" and walking in "Walking in this World." I can't stress enough how awesome they are for the writing soul, and I wish I did this more. As moms, especially, we need space to let go of the daily worries and just remember what it is like to live mostly carefree in this world.

4. Stay awake
: Of course, this is my No. 1 parenting tip, too, but it is essential for writers, especially writers who are primary caregivers of children or aging parents. Use middle of the night chaos to your advantage. (smirk) Listen and watch. Smell and touch. Take it all in, minute by minute, without looking to the past or the future. Just really pay attention. The words, the ideas will flow.

5. Write
: On the bus, in the car, during naps, in the morning, after they are asleep, when you have a break, when you don't have a break. Start something when you feel fresh, finish it later if you must. But, start. Don't wait. Just do it without ego, without worries, without fears.

Thank you for visiting today.

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bella said...

you are an inspiration.
this made me realize how much I put off until all the details are perfectly "right". When, I could just write exactly where I am, wherever that is.
Thanks for this.
I love having other mama friends who write.

Shannon said...

That was one of the things Ray Bradbury said, just write and get it out before you get self-conscious & intellectual about what you are writing. Great advice all around!

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

Great tips, thank you. I can use all the help I can get.

icanseeclearlynow said...

hi there. found your link through bella. these are great writing tips. btw, your daughters are beautiful. i read your previous post, two-fers... it was a loving and thoughtful tribute to your girls.



Anonymous said...

6. Follow other writer's tips.
Number three was an aha for me. When I started writing the book I went away for a weekend and wrote straight through. However, even without interruptions I got stuck, forever stuck, and I would put on my shoes and start walking around the lake (Big Bear Lake) and then the words would flow again. Proof again that the mind and the body are not two.

Heather said...

I've been struggling with making the time to write.. This is just what I needed.