Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Top 20 Ways Writing is like Motherhood

For those who follow my blog regularly, you know the two roles I hold most dear. Mommy and writer. Both are wonderful and such an ingrained part of who I am. But, both drive me bonkers too. Here are the top twenty ways I find the roles to be the same.:) So when you’re in between hugging your little ones and writing your masterpiece, check these out.

Balancing the two most important WIPs in your life (children and books).

20. Let’s start with the obvious. To do either well, you have to be at least a little crazy. Once you make either decision, there’s no turning back. And if you’re really, truly, committed to either, you may, in fact, end up committed.

19. It hurts! Both are incredibly painful to birth. Both come with their set of painkillers, however.

18. Creativity is paramount. Just as you can’t recycle plots, characters, or played out storylines, neither can you (in my case anyway), expect your kids to be satisfied with the same old same old. I’m always trying to come up with new games, new creative ways to have fun. Exhausting in either case, but really fun, too!

17. Critics. There will always be critics! Judging every choice you make. Every single thing you do in raising your kids. Every word you write. You can’t please them all, so work your hardest and don’t listen to the chatter when you’ve finished.

16. Crap everywhere. Bad grammar, dirty diapers, run on sentences, repeated words, flat characters, potty training, adverbs, having to find a restroom within a moment’s notice and overused dialogue tags. There is crap everywhere. So. Much. Crap. Clean it up. Move on.

15. Rejection Hurts. Writers get rejected. A lot. It’s kinda what we do when we’re not writing. And it hurts like hell when someone puts our work down. Our creation, our “baby.” But when someone puts our real kids down, it hurts even more. Boo to rejection.

14. Dichotomy of emotions. You never realized you could love something so much yet inexplicably want to mutter curses under your breath half the time you’re around it.

13. Multitasking. Get used to it. You will NEVER think straight again.

12. Hello wall, how are you today! No one listens. Rules are basically out the window. They are in control. Or at least, you are definitely not in control. Characters, outlines, plots, children. Everyone runs amuck.

11. Guilt. Going away without your kids for the weekend? Closing your word doc to start on an SNI? Bad Mommy! Bad Writer! Self guilt in effect.

10. You feel incredibly proud at the smallest accomplishment either makes and feel the inane need to share every little thing about your kids/manuscript with strangers (hint: no one cares.)

9. They both make you fat. No, no, it’s true. Whether it’s nibbling the cut off crusts off gooey grilled cheese sandwiches or soothing your writer soul with chocolate, those calories add up! Good thing the mom/writer uniform (sweats) is forgiving.

8. Discipline. Oh God I suck at this one. Getting your writer butt in the chair is hard! But not as hard as sticking to the rules set for your kids. Both, however, are unforgivingly necessary if you want to get anywhere with either. No backing down on this one.

7. Unlike regular day jobs, neither writing nor children leave you alone. Ever. The thing is, you secretly don’t want them to. You secretly revel in every second you spend together. You wouldn’t change either for the world. But seriously, I mean ever.

6. They tantrum, they whine, they don’t play nice. And guess who’s left to figure it out? Yes, mother. Yes, writer – you are!

5. Every single little choice matters. Every word, every metaphor, every period and semicolon. Every limit you place on your kids, every lesson, every moment you spend together, every bit of attention you give them. You can’t cut corners with either. People will notice and the end result if you do? Nowhere near as good as you could have done.

4. Your work is NEVER done. Ever. Ever. There is always a revision. There is always something breaking, or a fight to get in the middle of, or homework or snacks or an accident. A plot hole, a character that needs more depth. Roll up your sleeves and get back to work.

3. You work damn hard. As hard as you can. Some of it’s instinct, some of it’s skill. Some of it is merely from the heart. But you give it your all and when you put your product out into the real world, all you can do is hope you did your very best.

2. Coffee is the answer.

And the number one reason being a writer is like being a mom: If you’re good at either, really good, you’ll end up with a finished product that looks seamless, effortless, and like you hardly had to work for it at all.

So enjoy your children and your writing too. Give them both, time, love and attention and grow together.:)


  1. Yes, on the critics part.

    My previous job as a drug rep never ended at the end of the day. Which is why I didn't have time to write or be with my children. It sucked. At least when I'm too engrossed with my writing to spend time with the kids, it's because I'm enjoying it and not because I have to do it. :)

  2. Great post, Jenn. It's also a great reminder why I'm not a mom. LOL I go through all of the mom things being a writer, and can't imagine doubling up on that by being an actual mom. Yikes!

    Here's some more coffee for you. :)

  3. I enjoyed reading this post even though I don't have children, I used to take care of many children and can relate to the list in many ways.

  4. You've made my day with this post. As my children rub Luna bar crumbs in their hair and refuse to read their early learner books, I couldn't agree more. Awesome post!

  5. BWAHAHA..this is BRILLIANT! Totally love the Dichotomy of emotions, and OMG, the CRITICS, YES!

    And yeah...writers are totally crazy. Our children are all doomed. =D

  6. Not a parent, but this is such a great post! I can see the truth in your words.
    - Sophia.

  7. As a child psychologist, mother, and writer, I approve this message. Another great post, Jenn! Obviously, the coffee is working.

  8. You are always brilliant when comparing the two. Miss you and love you!

  9. Ha - glad you guys liked it and hugs to those who can commiserate!:)

  10. I'm not a parent, but I often feel "maternal" about my manuscript, haha! Thanks for the post.

  11. Great posts. You hit the nail right on the head! I love both of my jobs mommy and writer, but man oh man they can both drive me nuts and are greatly unappreciated most of the time. <3 ya. Great post

  12. Thanks guys. I'm glad you liked it.:)