Writing as a mom isn't always easy but it is possible and can even be fun!
Writing while pregnant: I have been pregnant and writing for 5 pregnancies. The fist thing I can say is, it is hard. Especially if you have other kids who keep you busy and help use your limited energy, because by the time you get to sit down to write, a debate begins. Do I spend time writing…. or do I take a nap. Honestly the nap wins a lot. Pregnancy can take a lot out of you especially in your third trimester. But just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean that you have to give up your writing all together. Here are some tips to help you do both. 10 TIPS:
Make smaller goals. (ex: if you usually write for an hour, cut it back to half hour and then at that point decide if you can work longer or if that is about all you can handle that day.)
If you know you have for example about an hour and a half, and are debating on writing or napping. Choose to do one or the other first and split the time.
Be kind to yourself. If you don’t reach your goal because you were more nauseous that week, remind yourself that you are growing a human and it is okay.
Be realistic about the goals you can set during this time. You know that you might be nauseous, you know you will be more tired, you know that you will be preparing for a new baby, so keep those things in mind while figuring out your writing goals.
Try for healthier writing snacks. Instead of chocolate try nuts. Instead of hot cocoa or soda, try flavored Ice water.
Move your writing space. If you usually sit at a desk but find it uncomfortable. Move to your bed and create a pillow desk for yourself. (I do this all the time)
If you find yourself feeling sickish and your writing mojo so isn’t there, maybe spend more time studying writing instead. Do a genre study, read a writing book, read a book in and outside of your genre If watching a movie look for story structure, look for character arc and what worked or didn't work and why…etc.
Use the second trimester wisely (weeks 13-27). You usually have more energy and feel best during the second trimester. So use that time to get more of your writing goals done.
Feel like your mind is more blank then usual but want to still get some word count for the day, write about your baby and your pregnancy. It could be in a journal or a baby book or where ever you write the random stuff.
Do some prenatal exercise to help wake up your brain. Your body will be less sore because of the exercise and your brain will be more wide awake to help come up with those awesome plots, characters or dialogue.
BONUS! FORGIVE YOURSELF! If you don’t write as much or find you can’t. Its okay. Forgive yourself and try another day when you feel like you can.
You can do it!! Keep writing, and enjoy those little nudges in your belly, before you know it that baby will be born and you get to figure out how to be a writer with a newborn. See the next section below!
Writing with a Newborn: Writing when you have a super new baby is a hard thing to do. But when you are a writer, you still want to do it. You still have that urge and that need. And if you have a deadline then you really need to be able to do it. Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing with a newborn. TIPS:
Make smaller goals for the month your baby is due and the next two months after.
You can easily read books about writing or in your genre while you feed the baby.
Write a little bit after baby goes to sleep, then take a nap too. If you are exhausted its hard to be creative.
Maybe do more research then writing during this time.
Try typing one handed.
Use a pen and notebook instead
Try using a microphone on your computer or phone and have your voice do the typing.
Give Daddy extra snuggle time with baby so you can sneak in a little writing time.
Maybe plan on doing more world building and Character sketches or outlining during this time.
Your baby loves to hear your voice. Talk your story out with baby. They make great What if… partners,
FORGIVE YOURSELF!! You will be tired, you will be healing and adjusting to life with your new little one. If you can’t get done what you wanted too, let it go! It’s okay. Snuggle your baby and let yourself try to fit your writing time in another day. Tomorrow might be easier you never know!
Know that instead of writing for a nice long sitting its okay to write in little segments of time. Might not be how you are used to working, but if you can adjust then it will be easier to do both.
Keep an eye out for signs of postpartum depression. Depression can make it hard to not only take care of your home and family, but also make it hard to work on your writing. Get some good sunlight, exercise, eat well and get the best rest you can! Writing can wait a few days, take care of you and your new baby first!
Writing with Young Kids: When you have zero kids, you can basically write whenever, while juggling normal life and a job. Add the kids and the main thing you have to do is adjust your time. You might become a night owl, and work on your writing then. You might become a morning person and find your writing time before the kids wake up. Seems easy enough, but remember just like when you finally figure out your babies sleep schedule, it changes, your perfect little schedule you will figure out will change too. As they grow their schedule will change, and yours will need to change too. So this time adjustment thing never goes away. To make both work you need to be willing to always be tweaking how you do things. TIPS: 1. Let them help feed your motivation by telling them what you're working on! I love it when my kids ask me what book I'm writing. 2. Write during nap time or when they are in school. 3. Get things started in the house. A load of laundry done, a load of dishes, then sit down to write. When they need switched out you probably need a break anyway. 4. Let them help choose character names. Kids love this! 5. Request your books that you need to read so that when you take your kids to the Library you can simply pick up your stack and focus on helping them find books of their own. 6. Play hard with them for 30+ minutes so that they are more willing to play nicely together while you get a little work done. 7. When they are watching their favorite show that you can't stand anymore, bring your writing out and work right next to them. 8. Ask if they think this plan or that plan would be better for your character. This works for any genre but they will be the most excited if it is kid lit. But no matter the genre they will love being involved. 9. Ask your partner to take the kids on an adventure and leave you at home. An hour or more is best. I recommend two to three if possible. Then switch with your spouse so they can work on their own dream. Then you can have some fun one on one time with the kids. This is good for everyone! 10. Make family trips research trips. Take pictures of your hike and think if you could use the setting in a story. Observe a city and think about how any details might help in your writing. If you want to place your next book at the grand canyon then plan a family trip. Fun and research all in one! 11. BONUS!!! Let them scribble all over the pages you are revising. It makes them happy and you might get some cute keepsakes in your manuscripts pages.