Balancing parenting with writing – not to mention a regular job – is no mean feat. It is often immensely difficult. For instance, my first novel, The Sidewalk Artist, was purchased by St. Martin’s Press soon after I gave birth to my daughter, and I felt like a zombie as I walked the hallways of my house bouncing her in a sling, discussing revisions with my coauthor. I felt less pressure when my son was born five years later, since we were still in the writing stages of our historical mystery, The Wolves of St. Peter’s, but still, it was all I could do to keep on top of my email.
Of course, having a coauthor helps tremendously in keeping the writing ball rolling – you’re writing even when you’re not writing. But most writers don’t have a coauthor, and so the most important thing is to get someone to look after your children so you can write. It could be in the form of hired help such as a nanny or a neighbourhood teenager to act as a mother’s helper. Or how about “hiring” an older sibling? You also could swap babysitting with friends or call in favours from family members. Second, schedule in your writing time as you would any other critical appointment or work deadline, something that you would never dream of missing. I’ve become a huge fan of Google Calendar, where I not only schedule in appointments and commitments (both work and family) but also have the app email me reminders.
But this high-wire act is all worth it because writing is not just work. Such things that feed the soul should absolutely be prioritized.
Gina Buonaguro is, along with Janice Kirk, the author of The Sidewalk Artist, Ciao Bella, and the just released The Wolves of St. Peter’s. Visit their blog – http://sidewalkartist.blogspot.ca/.