A lot of people ask me how I write books with three young children at home (I have three boys five and under), and I often don’t have a good answer. (Truthfully, I drink a lot of coffee and am chronically sleep-deprived. I’m also often really, really behind on laundry.) Sure, it also helps that I love what I do, so my “work” feels more like a hobby. But, aside from that, I think there are a few key things that contribute most to my ability to write in a focused and efficient way (I’m on a book-every-nine-months schedule with my publisher now, so I have to be efficient!):
*I’ve broken up with my TV: Alright, I have been known to go on Netflix binges (and may or may not have watched the entire first three seasons of “Mad Men” in the period of a few days), but that aside, I tend to watch very little TV. Instead of hitting the couch after the kids are in bed, I head to my desk, where I try to hammer out at least 10 pages a night before my eyelids get heavy. Writing at night works for me because it’s the only time when the house is quiet and I can hear myself think!
*I use my daily jogs as brainstorm sessions: I realized a long time ago that my brain gets really, really creative when I run. I have no idea why, but there’s something about my feet pounding the pavement that sends a signal to my brain to go on creative overdrive. As a result, I always tuck my phone into the jogging belt that’s strapped to my waist (I refuse to call it a fanny pack) and pull it out whenever an idea strikes so I can email myself. I’ve come up with new novel titles and fixed multiple plot problems while out jogging, and when something isn’t feeling quite right in one of my drafts, I’ll go on an extra long run.
*I’m fortunate to have a hands-on husband: Behind every successful author with children is a supportive spouse, and when people ask me how I write books with young children at home, I’m quick to point to the photos covering my refrigerator of Jason, my husband, and my three boys on Saturday trips to the zoo. They mark every visit with a stop in the photo booth, and each of these photos represents a quiet morning for me where I was able to write.
Moms, how are you able to accomplish your career goals with kiddos? I’d love to hear what works for you!
About Ariel Lawhon
Ariel Lawhon is the co-founder of She Reads, novelist, blogger, storyteller, and life-long reader. She lives in Texas with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.