The Mother Load – Guest Post by Sarah Jio

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Sarah Jio | @SarahJio

Sarah Jio

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!

Sarah’s latest novel, BLACKBERRY WINTER, is this month’s book club selection. If you haven’t taken a moment to learn more about the book or enter our fabulous giveaways, you can do so here.

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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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7 Responses to The Mother Load – Guest Post by Sarah Jio

  1. Kerry Ann @Vinobaby's Voice October 10, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I love your honesty. Thank you. I am going to make my husband read this so he can have a clue how much time and dedication are necessary to crank out novels on a regular basis. Right now my writing is “scheduled” only while my kiddo is in school—along with all of the laundry, errands, and dramas of everyday life. Sometimes, the dishes might just have to wait…

  2. Kim Foster October 10, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sarah, you are my hero. Really. I have two boys (ages 7 and 2) and I work full-time as a family doctor, and somehow manage to find time to write also (mostly by getting up at 5 am)…but your output has always amazed me.

    I hear you on the laundry thing, though. And TV–I don’t even know how to work our remote properly.

    Thanks for sharing your secrets here!

  3. Katherine Jones October 10, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I can relate so much to this–especially the part about jogging sparking creativity and the supportive husband at home. Loved this behind-the-scenes glimpse–thank you!

  4. Heather October 10, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks for giving this behind the scenes look! I work full-time as a lawyer and definitely struggle to find the time to write. I enjoy it so much though; it is something I HAVE to find the time for. Thus far, I’ve restricted myself to short stories, worried I don’t have the time for a novel. But you are incredibly inspiring. (My husband and I only have one child, which I am sure makes it easier than your multiple children.) Thanks again!

  5. Karen Spears Zacharias October 13, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I had four kids under the age of five long ago. I can’t even imagine writing ten pages a night now, much less then.

  6. Ariel October 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    So great to see you around here, Karen! We’re awfully big fans of yours as well.

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