This blog was featured on 05/11/2018
How to Write Like a Mother
Written by
She Writes
May 2018
Written by
She Writes
May 2018

As Mother's Day approaches writer moms everywhere may be wishing for just one hour of creative free-time. We all know having kids changes things, but does it mean your writing career or hopes of being an author are put on hiatus while your babes are young? These authors don't think so! Find out how bestsellers and debuts alike work writing into their busy mom lives. 

On Creativity 

Zadie Smith, author of Feel Free

“I have two children,” she said. “Dickens had ten - I think Tolstoy did, too. Did anyone for one moment worry that those men were becoming too father-ish to be writer-esque?

“The idea that motherhood is inherently somehow a threat to creativity is just absurd.” – Telegraph

E. C. Frey, author of Entangled Moon

"Motherhood. Writing time was often the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes, it was a moment stolen in between distractions. Nurturing my children was just as clear an articulation of love as my guiding of the written word. The intensity of that love often fueled creative expression. The same things that bound me to the enchantment of creative endeavor during my years of cultivating the writing process are the same that bind me now—love and hope for a future in which story guides the human race into fuller understanding and away from universal suffering." 

On Finding Time

Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl

"Let me start with this caveat. I am not the world’s fastest writer. When I started GONE GIRL, I was not pregnant. Then I was. Then I had a son. Then the son became a toddler. As it turns out, 16-month-olds do not understand the phrase: “Mother is not to be disturbed while she channels her muse, my sweet.” I couldn’t write anywhere around the house anymore. I needed a lair.

So my husband created a cozy little office for me on the bottom floor of our old Victorian house." – Crown Publishing

Jesmyn Ward, author of Sing, Unburied, Sing

"Before I had children, I was a midnight writer. But now that I have children, I've had to adjust my schedule; some mornings, I wake up before my children (around 6 am) to write. When I have childcare or my kids are in school, I will get them to school and then spend my mornings writing for anywhere from three to four hours." – She Writes


Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of A Kind of Freedom

"I have three small children, so I don’t have as much time to write as I once did nor do I have a structured routine. That said, I try to spend at least a few hours a day working. When I do, I just sit on my bed and plug away." – She Writes

On Involving Your Kids

Susan Burrowes, author of Off the Rails

"Working full time and writing leaves me in a position where I have to be creative finding time with my (grown) kids.  We often write and work next to each other at the dining room table, sometimes on speakerphone, though sometimes we chat more than we write. It’s worth it!"

Jamie Beck, author of When You Knew

"When my children were younger, I worked while they were in school and then again after they went to sleep. Now that they are teens, I tend to work straight through until dinner. Being open with them about my deadlines and obligations has been a good way to get them to start taking more responsibility around the house. As a mom, one of my favorite things about this career has been that it has given my kids a front-row seat to exactly how much work it takes to succeed at living your dream." 

Being a Writer After Kids

J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Saints for All Occassions, recently posted a Tweet on the subject of writing and motherhood that spawned a fantastic conversation about women's abilities to be both and even to be better as a result of the combo! Bestselling authors weighed in on the the subject to confirm that a writing career is in fact possible alongside the demands of motherhood. 

This thoughtful and heart-filled tweet kicked of a stream of responses that should soothe any writer mom's worried soul:

Jo Piazza, author of Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win

Allison Winn Scotch, author of Between You and Me

Ellen Seltz, author of Mister Mottley Gets His Man

Let's be friends

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