This one’s for the moms out there who are also writers.
My mom was a writer mom. I am a writer mom. You might be a writer mom, too. And I’m sure you know one.
Please know this: Writer moms are trying to raise their family while advancing their writing in some way.
And it’s hard.
Madeleine L’Engle once wrote in one of her Crosswicks Journals:
During the long drag of years before our youngest child went to school, my love for my family and my need to write were in acute conflict. The problem was really that I put two things first. My husband and children came first. So did my writing. Bump. (p. 19)
I got a chance to hear Madeleine speak one time, and afterwards she signed books. I would have one instant to ask her about that—to ask about writing and motherhood.
We waited and inched forward in line until it was finally my turn.
I handed her Walking on Water. She asked for my name and scrawled a note on one of its front pages. She looked up and handed it to me.
“Thank you,” I said.
Then I blurted out: “When your kids were young…how did you do it? How did you manage to write?”
She looked up at me.
I’m sure my eyes looked wild and desperate, but I needed to know.
“It was hard,” she said.
And that was all she said. Then she looked past me, hand outstretched for the next book.
Ask any writer-mom and she’ll tell you the same. It’s hard. We know that. We need a little something more to keep us going.
I craved more than that—some insight or encouragement from a mom who had been there and could speak into the life of a young writer-mom. I finally got another chance, not with Madeleine, but with Holly Miller.
Holly wrote for The Saturday Evening Post and taught at Anderson University. She was leading a workshop in a small setting and invited questions afterwards. I lugged my big ol’ portfolio with me, so I positioned myself at the end of the line so I wouldn’t hold things up unzipping it and flopping it onto the desk to show her my work.
Finally, it was my turn. She gestured to open it up, so I unzipped the portfolio and she flipped through it. I told her how young my kids were and asked how she did it. How did she raise her kids while achieving such success as a writer?
She answered, “I’m where I am today because I worked long hours full-time when my kids were young. And now they’re grown. You’ll still have time to develop your career later, but you only have now with your kids. Your kids are so little, and they’re little for such a short time. Right now, I suggest you focus on your children. You’ll never regret spending time with those kids.”
Then she said this: “Keep your finger in the publishing world. Just keep your name out there. Publish locally with your paper, like you are. Submit to magazines. Keep it going on a small scale and your time will come.”
That. That’s what I needed to hear.
Keep your finger in the publishing world. Keep it going on a small scale, and your time will come.
I needed someone to tell me that making those small deposits in my writing career would add up and pay off later. Holly was right: they did. They do.
If you’re a writer mom, let me pass that along to you:
Keep your finger in the publishing world—keep making deposits in your writing career—and it will add up.
Your time will come.
In fact, your time might be…right now! Those small deposits? It’s happening! Your writing life is happening!
You might be trying to raise your kids, getting up early to make your word count or staying up after the kids go to bed so you can meet your deadline. Keep making progress as you can. It is adding up.
If you know a writer-mom personally you can encourage, I hope you will make it your goal to make a deposit into her life to encourage and empower her along the way.
- Offer to watch her kids so she can write.
- Send her a gift certificate to eat out, so she can use the extra time she would have been preparing and cleaning up to finish a writing assignment.
- Send her a note to let her know how much an article meant to you.
- Talk her up on social media.
- Buy her books.
- Subscribe to her blog.
- Write a positive review on your blog or Amazon.
Support the writer moms out there who are doing a hard thing, a good thing. You can be part of that. If you’re the writer mom yourself, be encouraged; if you know one, encourage her to keep writing.
And…wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.
Click on the podcast player above or use subscription options below to listen to the full episode.
- Write in the Middle: How to Write in the Midst of Motherhood
- A tribute to my own writer-mom: For My Writer-Mom: A Bouquet of Memories
- My encouragement for you to check out the recently released compilation of letters to moms collected and curated by Amber and Seth Haines: The Mother Letters
- #14: Progress, Not Perfection – Good news for moms making small deposits into the writing careers and wondering if it’s adding up
- Just released: softcover copy of The Contemplative Mom: Restoring Rich Relationship with God in the Midst of Motherhood, my first book re-released in a slightly revised edition for a new generation of moms (also available as a Kindle e-book)
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Featured image design by Ann Kroeker.
Are the demands of motherhood keeping you from a rich relationship with God?
With ideas from mothers in all seasons of life, this book offers creative, practical, and enjoyable suggestions to help you discover how a passionate relationship with God is possible in the midst of motherhood.
“The Contemplative Mom gives busy, loving, kid-centered mothers permission to rest, like a tired child, in God’s strong arms. An important book.”
—Rachael and Larry Crabb, authors and speakers