The Making Of A Writer

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, B.A. Shapiro | @BA_Shapiro

Don’t forget to grab a copy of her nationally best-selling novel, The Art Forger, before we discuss it with our online book club on Friday, February 1st. We’d love you to join us!

B.A. Shapiro

Although I always wanted to be a novelist, the practical side of me didn’t believe it would pay the rent — which was true — so I became a sociologist instead. This covered the rent as long as it was low. When the federal government cut grant money for social research, I decided against the academic rat race and morphed myself into a systems analyst, which in turn led to a job managing the Boston office of a software development company. A long way from both sociology and writing, but at least I could afford a larger place to live.

This all worked out just fine. I got married, had a baby, then another. Our house was big and beautiful, and as the commercial for Enjoli perfume proclaimed, “I can put the wash on the line, feed the kids, pass out the kisses, and get to work by nine. I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan… ” I was superwoman. I had it all. Or did I? I was working long hours, travelling and letting other people take care of my children. And I was fast discovering that being superwoman looked a lot better on television than it was in real life. So I quit my job.

After spending a few months at home with an infant and a three-year-old, another harsh truth emerged: I wasn’t cut out to be a stay-at-home mom, either. I loved my babies more than I’d ever loved anything, but it was becoming clear that I would be a better mom if I had more intellectual stimulation — and that they would be better off being cared for by someone with more patience. I had no idea what to do.

My mother and I were having lunch at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston one day, and I was freaking out about what I should do with my life. “If I’m not a stay-at-home mom, and I’m not superwoman, then who am I? ” I whined.

My mother gave me a knowing smile and asked, “If you had one year to live, what would you do? ”

I frowned at her. I wanted answers, not more questions.

She sipped her coffee and looked at the artwork on the restaurant’s walls.

“Fine, ” I said grudgingly. “I guess I’d write a novel and spend time with my children. ”

She raised an eyebrow and took another sip of her coffee.

When I got home, I hired a part-time babysitter, sat down and wrote a novel.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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5 Responses to The Making Of A Writer

  1. Lisa Evola January 16, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    That’s so awesome! I love it when peoples lives come together like that! Her mother is a brilliant woman!!lol

  2. Katherine Jones January 16, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I love this story. Lots of wisdom there…for all of us.

  3. Linda Stott January 16, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Isn’t it a blessing when your own mother has the wisdom to lead you gently in the right direction!

  4. Jane January 24, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Nice but you write about your feelings toward your job, your kids, your mom, your writing, but your husband is mysteriously absent from this whole thing called ‘your life.’

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