Writing, Burp Rags & Sesame Street–How Can We Balance It All?
Happy Friday!!!! Today I have a real treat for you. My pal and fellow Who Dares Wins Author, Natalie Markey is here to talk to us about a critical subject for many of us. How can we better balance being a great parent AND a great writer? Writer Moms (and even Writer Dads) face a unique set of challenges; like how to get Goldfish out of the CD drive in our computer or ways to endure the psychological torture of Barney without curling into the fetal position.
I love you. You love me. That’t why we’re in ther-a-py.
It is a tough road, being a writer parent. Balancing protags and potty training, narrative structure and Leggo landmines. Yet, in the WANA spirit…WE ARE NOT ALONE. Better still, we are in this together! I am not only your teacher, but your teammate and I am here to equip you for success…even if that means shutting up and bringing in experts who are smarter than me.
Natalie is going to offer some tips on how to remain sane and productive and keep your child alive. She also will be teaching a Write It Forward on-line course for more tips and tools to balance this wild and crazy writer parent life (feel free to sign up if you are the parent of small pets or houseplants. Have to start somewhere). Make sure you sign up for her class (link is below). I will be there with fresh notebook and Crayons (my Spawn has hidden all my pens), and I hope to see you in class!
Take it away Natalie!
One night, about a year ago I had an “ah ha” moment (and no I wasn’t watching Oprah.) It was about 3 a.m. and I was writing on my laptop, when I scratched my back and found a dried, dirty burp rag on my shoulder. I was exhausted, thankful that my baby was asleep and happy for sometime to write but I thought, “there must be an easier way to do this?” I mean really? I was so out of it that I didn’t realize I had a dirty burp rag on me. Well, I’m not sure if there is an easier way to be a writing mom, but there is a smarter way.
My daughter is now 14-months-old. I am blessed to be able to work from home, where I can be with her. This does, however present a need for some creative balancing. It does mean that sometimes I may work late into the night after she is in bed. It does mean that I get up at the insane hour of 5 a.m. so that I can get some work in before she wakes up. But I’ve learned how to balance the two extremes to avoid those 3 a.m. writing sessions.
Being a writing mom takes will power but I’m a firm believer in that if you want something, really want something, then you’ll find a way. I’ve been a freelance journalist for ten years now. I’m a published author of a non-fiction book, ‘Caring for Your Special Needs Dog’ and working on a second while writing fiction as well. I’m always on deadlines both real ones and self assigned. Some days, that idea of a nap is really appealing but I keep working, writing and striving forward through my goals and toy filled office/baby playroom.
Next month I’m teaching a Write It Forward Workshop through Who Dares Wins Publishing, Writing Moms: How to do it all without losing your mind. If you’re a writing mom seeking help through the burp rag- filled chaos, I’m not going to tell you what to do. Everyone is unique. When I had my daughter, I thought I understood time management. After working in a New York City public relations firm juggling multiple clients, I thought I had this mastered. The truth is that we cannot manage something we cannot control and babies are very uncontrollable!
So, I did a self-study. I literally studied me. By knowing myself, I knew what schedule worked best for me. During the month long workshop I will discuss the study and how moms (and even dads) can learn from it. Through simple trial and error, hopefully you’ll find your rhythm to having it all. But even then there are great days, good days and bad days. And you can have fun including your baby in your work. I always read my work to my daughter and she has been known to go through page proofs.
A major turning point for me was when I learned to let go of some control. This was hard for me because, well I’m a control freak. I LOVE to plan everything. Seriously, when my family goes to Walt Disney World I’m called the Itinerary Queen. After I had my daughter I worked off of to-do lists. This only depressed me because I was only seeing what I wasn’t getting done. Now, I trim everything down to goal lists. This makes things more manageable and not as depressing. The best thing to keep in mind when you’re working with little time is to JUST DO IT!! Yes, think about those Nike shoes in your closet. Just do it! I made the mistake for months after my daughter was born of spending too much time planning.
And now to the really fun part—Sesame Street. My daughter recently started watching this and it’s actually entertaining. I’m a fan and it makes for fantastic lunchtime entertainment. Anyway, I leave you with my teaching assistant, Ernie. Ernie will demonstrate the importance of doing rather than planning when writing a story. Take it away Ernie!
Learn more/sign-up for Writing Moms: How to do it all without losing your mind
Natalie C. Markey is a freelance journalist of ten years. She is the author of ‘Caring for Your Special Needs Dog.’ In addition to multiple freelance contracts, she continues to write non-fiction as well as fiction. Markey speaks professionally about dogs from an owner’s perspective as well as tackling the major writing issue, how to have it all as a writer and a mother.
Markey is a graduate from Baylor University with a double BA in Journalism/Public Relations and Communication Specialist. She has worked for a NYC PR firm, been the youngest Business Development Director for a National advertising firm, served as the Creative Services Director for the fastest growing CBS affiliate in Texas and served as the Texas Spokesperson for the D.A.R.E. program. A native Texan, Markey currently lives in an Arkansas forest with her supportive husband, daughter and dog, Oscar. Learn more at www.NatalieCMarkey.com