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Archive for the ‘Writing & Motherhood’ Category

When Being a Mom Isn’t Enough by The CrayonWrangler

In Guest Blog Posts, Writing & Motherhood on August 19, 2010 at 12:01 am

I had big dreams for myself.  Then I had kids.

For four years I believed that my dreams could not exist alongside motherhood.  I settled myself down to changing diapers and answering questions like, “Can God make a rock so big He can’t move it?” I began to feel out of touch with the rest of the adult society, being able to only discuss meal options for toddlers and bathroom schedules for potty training. I felt brain cells dying an agonizing death each time I sat down with the children to watch some animated character sing a song about “not biting your friends.”

My dreams for myself were now sitting in the bottom of a diaper pail.  Until I began an online journal about my three girls as a way of documenting their lives. I assumed that as those brain cells were dying, I better get it all written down.

Day after day I dutifully recorded the events of that day and began to take pictures to compliment the written words. One glorious day something amazing happened. I had a comment from a reader that said how much she enjoyed reading about our adventures and how it made her feel not so alone. She commented on a post where I was almost at my wit’s end with one of my daughters who had made artwork out of a dirty diaper. I began the next day with a mission to not only journal about our daily life, but to do it in a way that others could relate.

I began to use a more descriptive voice and took the time to take better pictures. Much like a pea thrown at the dinner table, it hit me. I was living my dream. My experiences with my girls and all the years I was putting behind the camera and computer to journal, my creativity was exploding. There are many days when being a mom is just too much. Too much noise, too much mess and too much personal space invaded. At the same time, being a mom sometimes is just not enough. Not enough times to fulfill dreams and not enough time to be the person you were before kids.

For a long time I felt guilty that my dreams were still so important that I mourned them. I felt that as a mom, I needed to let go of the dream of being a writer and photographer and be content just being around my kids. I have begun to see that by finding a way to continue living my dream, I am a better mom. There is no rule saying that you have to quit being who you are and who you wanted to be just because you became a mom. By continuing to strive for your goals keeps you in touch with who you are and gives you a chance for growth. You can come watch me live my dream by visiting me at www.thecrayonwrangler.com where I still talk about our daily adventures and learn to laugh at them along with you.

You can also follow me here.

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At The Intersection of Motherhood & Writing

In Blogapalooza, Writing & Motherhood on August 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I am typing this post with my almost-2yr old on my lap, as I feed him a bowl a cereal, and keep him from spilling said bowl of cereal all over my keyboard.  This is just one intersection of writing and motherhood.

Another example has been the last two hours trying to get these posts written for Blogapalooza while dealing with the attention seeking antics of a toddler competing with the computer.  Or how about trying to decide how long I can go without changing his diaper before diaper rash starts to form because I am finally hitting my stride with a post?  And then there was that priceless moment about 15 minutes ago when I had to subdue him – he was throwing a massive tantrum when aforementioned antics weren’t pulling me away from the computer fast enough.

I’m sure many moms out there can relate.  But it’s dealing with those moments in stride that will ensure our success.  As opposed to being deflated by these moments – which will only ensure that your writing career remains stagnant.

As is the case with life, there are no perfect solutions.  There is no “right” way, just “right” for you and your family.  Maybe letting your little one sit in your lap while you type will appease him/her temporarily?  Maybe you can get him a toy laptop to “work” on while you write?

The only things that have worked consistently for my son and I are if I work in short bursts while he’s awake, taking breaks to play with him and entertain him in between, and get the bulk of my writing done while he’s asleep.  That’s it.  He’s not easily distracted, and while he can be fairly independent he hates seeing me at my computer.  But I have to learn to just take it in stride.

How do take the intersections of motherhood and writing in stride?

The Balancing Act

In Writer Challenges, Writing & Motherhood on February 4, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Long time no post, huh? I figured it was time to post an update for those interested in the life of a freelance writer breaking into the industry.

One of the reasons I haven’t been able to update my blogs as much as I’d like is a very cranky 17 month old in the house. He’s recently developed a jealousy of my computer and begins screaming at the top of his lungs whenever he sees me sit at my desk. Thank God for a internet capable cell phone (and thank my husband for buying it) – otherwise I wouldn’t even be able to write this, as I’m pinned under a sleeping little one in bed.

Other than that, the little one spilled hot chocolate on my keybaord and I was out of commission for a bit until I could get a new one. I came down with a stomach virus that had me sequestered to the sidelines for a bit. And as some of you may know, I am back in school working on my Bachelor’s which is taking up some of my time.

What have I learned from all this?? Juggling life, motherhood, and career can often be much like a dance or a tight rope walk – lean too much in either direction and there can be disastrous consequences. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way.

As it stands now I am still trying to help the little one overcome this phase he’s going through and figure out the cause. I am in the process of reviewing Charter Schools: The Ultimate Handbook for Parents by Karin Piper (parents can check back for that in the next few days). I am still moving forward with my book, and I have been in touch with a few other talented writers/bloggers about some possible collaborations.

Is it everything I wish I could be doing? Not quite. But some progress is better than none. Balance is not an easy thing to master, especially with children – but I’m getting there.

Being Brave

In Getting started, Writing & Motherhood on October 27, 2009 at 9:38 pm

I had someone comment on a previous blog post about how intimidating it can be to launch a freelance career.  I couldn’t agree with her more.  Some days it seems like I’ll be stuck in this “beginner’s limbo” forever.  Most days the only way I can get anything done is to pull some ridiculously late nights wiritng after the little one and my husband are both in bed, and then wake up to perform my motherly and wifely duties.  It can be demanding, to say the least.

Up until now none of my writing experience has awarded me a pay check.  And it seems like I’ve filled my plate with so many other writing tasks in hopes of building my portfolio and credibility that I have no time to move into the realm of writing for pay.  So what’s a writing mama to do?  Follow my own advice and stay the course.  It can be done.  Or else there would be no writers.  Right?

A fellow writer friend of mine (recently featured in a Q&A here) commented on the amount of rejection in the writing industry and a mentor of her’s encouraging her to “get out their and pitch, pitch, pitch!”  I think that’s all there is to it.  Resilience.  The determination to keep going.  Because unless you’re famous, or know someone famous it won’t be easy – you just have to want it.

Some thoughts to part with: if you just get out there and do it, one day you’ll look up and you won’t be a beginner anymore.

Making Time

In Writer Challenges, Writing & Motherhood on September 3, 2009 at 2:41 am

As a mother I have a lot of things contending for my time, and as a writer, it seems like my work is never done.  So I have learned a few ways to squeeze a few minutes in here & there (besides writing during naps) to get some of my writing done.

At night after the little one has fallen asleep getting out of the bedroom and to my computer can seem like walking through a mine field.  So I keep a notepad and pen in the nightstand beside the bed, and once he’s in a deep sleep I can just roll over and jot some lines down in my notepad.  Getting them typed, polished, and sent where they need to be is the hard part.  I can also manage a few minutes at my computer during the day by using a big safety gate like the one shown here to gate off the “hot spots” (electrical outlets, computers, bookcase, etc) and let him run amok.  If you have an especially independent baby and an intriguing collection of toys you may be able to sit him down with the toy box and get a few minutes in (this hasn’t worked for me, my son becomes easily bored with the toy box and is entertained for longer stretches when allowed to roam the living room freely).  Sometimes if I take him for a stroll in the park he will sit quietly in his stroller while I write.  That usually lasts ever so briefly.

I get the bulk of my work done by sneaking out of bed at night to get a few lines typed before I hear him waking up and by letting him roam around during the day.  But no matter what “tricks” I have learned, I think it’s just a fact of life that i will have to accept – I will not be able to complete anything in the same time I was able to in my pre-baby days.  It has taken me far longer than expected just to rework an article I’d already written to re-submit.  I did finally finish it though today!  Hopefully I will have a link for you guys to visit within the next couple weeks.

If you have any other interesting tips for how you write with a baby let me know!!  I’m always looking for more ways to get the most out of my time & I’ll share them here.