May 1, 2014

How to Balance Writing and Mothering (Hahaha!)

Friends and countrymen, I have discovered the secret to writing novels and mothering Baby Overlords! Lean in closer now. The secret is ...

Cloning yourself! 

Or if you don't want to clone yourself, then clone Ernest Hemingway!

What? Stop looking at me like that. Are you telling me that you don't have an Ernest Hemingway clone chained inside your basement who writes books on your behalf in exchange for cigars and six-toed cats? Well, you better get on it 'cause you can't have mine!

{The Baby Overlord gave me permission to post this picture of her.}
All joking aside ... Yeah, this writing thing and this parenting thing can be tough. That's basically why I got very little done during the first ten weeks of Aimee Rose's short-yet-pampered life, but that's okay because I just wanted to cuddle with her and let her sleep on me and obey all of her overlording commands. This time is precious, after all! And I'm gonna savor it because these chubby baby cheeks aren't going to last forever.

*Pinch, pinch*

Okay, enough pinching for now. Let's talk about how I balance my work life with my mothering one! Or, to be more accurate, how I'm trying very, very hard to do just that but sort of stumbling along the way. But hey, I get an A for effort! That's what I tell myself anyway!

Since I'm operating on four hours of sleep (not the baby's fault! it's my insomnia, boo) I'm going to break this down into three main points.

1. Hire help if you can. Preferably Mary Poppins! But Nanny Ernest will do too. 

Currently I take the Baby Overlord to my babysitter's apartment every MWF from 1 to 5PM. That's only 12 hours a week, but I try my damnedest to make those hours count--no social media, no puttering around, no staring at pretty Anthropologie dresses. Just write, write, write! I probably will have to increase these hours when I have a deadline looming, but until then I try to squeeze as much work that I can within this time frame. Everything else, even showering, can wait.

2. Brainstorm whenever you can!

If you're like me, you spend a lot of your writing time not writing at all but brainstorming instead. So who exactly is my protagonist? What is the right tone for this novel? Why is Ernest Hemingway slacking on the job? And so on and so forth. I used to do my brainstorming with my laptop in my lap, whilst staring at the ceiling and eating bonbons. (Not really. More like Oreos.) But those staring days are over! The Baby Overlord simply does not allow for that, which is why I now do my brainstorming throughout the day. Like when I'm bouncing a baby around the house or cleaning out the crockpot or pushing the stroller around my neighborhood in an effort to lose the baby weight I gained.

Damn you, cookies!

So yeah, brainstorming may take up a good chunk of this I'm-writing-a-book thing, but the good news is that you can do it pretty much anywhere! I basically plotted out my new MG novel this way--and so can you!

3. Make every second count!

Oh gosh, this is tough for me to do because I like reading EW and watching 30 Rock reruns whenever I can catch some down time. But Liz Lemon is going to have to wait! Instead, whenever the baby naps or is happily hanging out on her play mat, I throw open my laptop and write as much as I can. Sure, sometimes I only get a fifteen-minute spurt before the Overlord starts overlording but at least I hammered out 100 words. That's 100 more than I started with!

Baby steps, folks. Baby steps. Also, I could probably write faster but--let's face it--I draft at the speed of an elderly sloth. That's just the way I am, I'm afraid!

4. Don't forget about you.
Okay, I'm going to give four points instead of three. 'Cause that's how I roll. Sometimes when I get a few minutes to myself I know I should pick up my laptop and write, but I sit down and read the newspaper instead. Or I check out those cute dresses on Anthro. Or I treat myself to a big bowl of cookies. And I tell my guilt complex to beat it because--you know what?--I need to take some time out for myself too! I'm a better mom when I do this, and a better writer too.

All righty then, it is about time for the baby to rouse from her nap and so I better run. But please let me know in the comments if you have any advice for me! Or if you have any questions! I will try to answer them as coherently as possible, or I may have Ernest Hemingway Clone do it for me. :)


  1. So I was sitting here reading your post w/my two yr old next to me and he looks over and see's Baby Overlord's pic and says 'That's sissy'. Sissy is his five month old cousin, that he loves to talk about and give kisses too. =) Those are all good points- enjoy those baby cheeks!

    1. Aww! That is so, so adorable! Your son sounds so cute!

      And I'm trying to soak in these baby cheeks for as long as I can! *Sniff* I know they'll be gone before I know it.

  2. There is literally 0 advice I can give on writing. however, I am a fantastic cookie eater! While clearing out the clutter under the guest bed I stumbled upon my super secret stash of THIN MINTS!!! So secret in fact, I completely forgot they were there!! I decided to leave them there just in case I needed a quick fix, or lure a certain friend (and Baby Overlord) to come visit.

    As a professional mom I will say that you're doing it right! Being at home with a new baby can be completely overwhelming at times, and so so so easy to lose yourself in pink ruffles, hair bows, and binkies. Having 'me time' and holding on to your interests is vital to your sanity. So WELL DONE!!!

  3. Overload of cuteness! I wouldn't want to stop pinching those cheeks either.

    So much of writing is staring at the ceiling and eating Oreos, it's great you can brainstorm while in Mommy mode. It sounds like you have a pretty good routine going. It's so important to take time for yourself and relax!

  4. You have such a beautiful baby! Those cheeks!! :D

    I have no advice at this time. Lol. I have a couple family members with twins, and I've heard some funny stories.

    I do still have those red velvet cupcakes; actually all kinds of cupcakes! I'll send you a virtual one for your alone-time. You can have a real one when you're near S.C. again. Lol.