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Raising good people and writing good books

Raising Good People and Writing Good Books

career motivation Oct 30, 2023

Most of the parents I know are having mental breakdowns every few days. Similarly, most of the writers I know are also having breakdowns every few days. So what happens when you’re a parent and a writer? 

Absolute chaos.

Isn’t there someone, or at least was there anyone in the history of the world who has successfully managed to raise good people and write good books? Or is this a „you can’t have your cake and eat it too” kind of thing?

 

A little backstory.

I’m a mom of 2 children under 3 years old. So yes, I am reading book after book on raising children.

Thus, there I was one afternoon, enjoying a quiet moment reading about how to handle tantrums, when I heard… nothing. And every parent knows that silence is the sound of trouble: a very concentrated child is up to no good. I threw the book, rushed from my chair, to the kitchen… surprise!

My son is shamelessly emptying all the spice containers into the pan and all around because „he is making dinner for the queen.” I mean, you think you know your toddler well, when out of the blue come such high aspirations. Trucks, cars, trains, royal kitchens, buses, airplanes…

Are there any valuable lessons from this?

Yes. First, child locks. Everywhere.

And second… I got nothin’.

But at least I can write about it - and that’s a lot.

I’m a writer. Not a seasoned one, but a writer. For myself. It makes me miserable happy. (Iykyk)

I’m also a mom. Not an experienced one, but a loving one. It makes me joyfulannoyedlonginginspiredexhaustedfulfilledloved… (again, iykyk).

So, on a daily basis, I’m busy balancing (or juggling) it all in the short window of 24 hours. And so it astounds me how, how someone like Jennifer Egan(A Visit from the Goon Squad) herself a mother of two boys, multiplied her time to make her novels come to life.

ALSO: My Typing Woke up My Baby

Does she have some sort of an app on her phone that can turn back time? Or maybe she’s just super lucky and her babies have always been sleeping through the night since exiting the womb, her pens never get lost in her purse, and she never, ever, has writer’s block because the words just float from her head onto the paper?

No, no.

I’m not exactly sure if this is good news, but there are no time-churning devices, apps or charmed four-leaf clovers which helped Egan complete her marvelous stories. Bit by bit, she did it. Sometimes scribbling away at midnight, sometimes running from errand to errand, wiping the tears off her children’s cheeks, scolding misbehavior and occasionally crying in her pillow. And while she did have brilliant ideas, she also had a trained mind. A work ethic.  And the will to put it all together. That is what pulled her through to success.

Of course, I know you know that it is possible to raise a child, write and successfully publish books - I just wanted you to be reminded of that. Because even though we know, we still forget.

 

But are there ways to become a better writer through being a parent, and vice versa?

 

I thought that was impossible before I became a mom. Then I became one. It turned out that writing was just as much a need for me as interacting with my baby. So I looked for answers, ways I could do both. I searched and searched… and stumbled upon a fascinating couple: authors Stephen and Tabitha King.

The horror-producing machines also raised 3 children. Moreover, 2 of their kids are also successful authors. A family of writers. How did that happen?

Well, the simple answer is: Stephen and Tabitha shared what they loved with their children. They brought them into the world of fiction, nonfiction, thrillers, classics… Stephen would make his children record books for him on tapes, so he could listen while driving. That way, he got to read more, and his children got to practice reading and be in the loop on what their dad was into. Sly move, Mr. King.

ALSO: When to Take a Break

But maybe you struggle with bedtime? (Haha, maybe?) Well, struggle no more because the Kings have got a solution for you!

Make your kids tell you stories. Or, take turns reading out loud to each other. There are many ways of bringing more reading and creativity to your family. Based on the Kings’ example, chances are, everyone will benefit from it.

With a hand on my heart I can say that I began doing this and I’ve already seen results: my son’s favorite activity, bar none, is reading together. A happy tear is rolling down my cheek.

Yet, even though we try to blend the two worlds, sometimes we can still feel alone in the uphill battle. Stephen and Tabitha had each other in sharing children and writing. As romantic as that sounds, not every one of us can marry another writer. So where can we look for support?

Lily King (not related to the Kings above), author of Euphoria, said that she found it in others. When she was a young mother, she decided to take matters into her own hands and established a writer’s group for moms. This band of women united under the same banner: raising good kids and writing good books. When you have fighter-sisters on both your sides, it’s easier to keep reaching for the skies.

I know we can’t „do it all.” I know it’s not the same for everyone. I know there are single mothers and single fathers out there. Truthfully, any one of us can become one any moment - life has no guarantees aside from death.

Parenting is not easy; writing is not easy. But combining the two might just be the option that not only serves everyone, but leaves them satisfied and flourishing. So if you are struggling balancing parenthood and writing - you’re in good company.

 

Keep mothering, fathering, writing.

 

I believe in you, Writer.

M.B. Auburn

 


 M. B. Auburn
Written for The Plottery

M.B. Auburn: millennial wife and mom of 2, dancing her way through her 30s and finally bravely claiming the title: Writer.

 

 

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