Saturday, January 2, 2010

Writing with Children and Other Fallacies

by Stephanie Kelsey, EIC Mojocastle Press

It is possible to balance a writing career, job and family. It requires a few simple-

"What, baby girl? It's in the cabinet. The one next to the stove. On the left. The other left. Bottom shelf. The BOTTOM shelf. There you go."

--a few simple processes. For instance, I highly recommend a portable device so you can grab every free minute possible to write. A Blackberry, a Netbook, even a Palm Pilot…anything that lets you free the muse whenever-

Baby's crying. Okay, fed and diaper changed, surely he'll sit on my lap for a few minutes.

--whenever you get the `chance. Also great for those light-bulb moments. Even a good old fashioned pen and paper will do.


(Removes baby's hands from keyboard.)

What's good about the electronic devices is that they give you internet access, helpful for keeping those facts straight and sending off the finished product. You can also check in with those waiting on your work.

Next, schedule writing time. Even if it's only an hour. You can make great progress if you're consistent. It's not a race. Which is another good piece of -

"What? No, I'm writing. Yes, there are two in the closet. I don't know where the blue one is…check the laundry basket. I'll do it later. LATER. In a bit. When later happens…I don't know the exact time for later."


(Removes baby's hands from keyboard again.)

A good piece of advice is don't compare your output to other people's. There are writers who are able to produce novels in a month, and are never afraid to let everyone know. Slow and steady will win the race, and you'll waste writing energy fretting over it.


"Can you take the baby? I need to finish this. I don't know how long it'll take…a thousand words or so. 303 so far. Thanks."

Okay, portable devic es, schedule time, right….

Another thing not to fret about is being able to write every day. Stuff happens…and sometimes writing doesn't. If you put too much pressure to complete so many words a day, it'll just jam up the works.

"Yes, I'm still working on it. So, change him. Upstairs in the dresser. Top drawer."

You need to develop a thick skin. If you are one of those folks who can only write in total peace and quiet without interruptions, you're going to be in trouble. However, eliminating temptation is a good idea. If you find yourself spending hours online when you could be writing, it might be a good idea to-

Ooh, someone joined my Mafia. Also, I need to check my farm, and my virtual fish tank…Oops. "Yes, I'm still writing. I just checked Facebook to see if I had any new messages. I can't take him back yet."

--a good idea to disconnect the old internet. Other distractions might be impossible to remove, but that one is easily done.

DingdingdingDING…"Hey. Sure, I can talk. I'm writing a piece on how to write with family and stuff. Right. It's due in a couple of days. Right. Sure. He did what with the celery stalk? I am so writing that down…okay, talk to you later."

Probably wouldn't hurt to turn off the cell-phone as well.

Another good idea is to get your family involved. Obviously if you write erotica, that's not a good idea, but maybe try to get your kid exposed to the writing bug by writing her own stories. Then "writing time" might get a bit more-

"He just nursed an hour ago, he can't be hungry. Okay, but you need to take him right back. Baby, stop kicking my keyboard."

--a bit more respect. It is also a good bonding experience. And who knows, you might come up with the next Harry Potter together. A kid's imagination is a wonderful thing.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Send the kids to Grandma's and take advantage of the serenity. If it's not possible, grab that netbook or Blackberry and take them to Chuck E. Cheese or something. They're happy, you're happy, and it's all-

"No, we're not going to Chuck E. Cheese. It's some advice for a blog post. No, I don't have to take my own advice today, because you have a room with a lock on the outside…remember that. Where's your father? He needs to take the baby back so I can finish this."

Deadlines are a sticking point. Obviously, if you need something in by a certain date, you can't wait for a convenient time. That's when you may need to pull out the stops and hire a babysitter or put them in a day camp or similar device. If you can afford it, get a hotel room for the night…a change of scenery can work wonders. Barring any of that, resort to the original method of snatching writing time every chance you get…a little lost sleep may be needed.

"No,I'm not done yet."

Living on takeout for a couple of days isn't a sin either. Do what you need to do to get done and don't sweat the details. You're not a terrible parent to take a bit of time for yourself.

Oh, crud. Does spit-up wreck a keyboard? That's not good…

Also, learn how to say "No." It's tempting to get involved in everything your kids do at school and otherwise, but overextending your already packed schedule won't be the lovely experience you picture…you'll just create more stress for everyone involved.

"No, I'm not done yet. Never mind, he's asleep. There's pasta on the stove."

In short, don't sweat the small stuff, set time aside to do your craft, and don't be afraid to take some extra steps to make your deadlines. Having a portable writing device is most helpful, and cut the internet strings and turn off the cell if you have to.

"I'm almost done. Put that down! I'm not kidding."

If you live to write, love will find a way. And if it doesn't, there's always Chuck E. Cheese.


Stephanie Kelsey is the COO, Editor-in-Chief and Diva Wrangler for the erotica epublisher Mojocastle Press. Visit Mojocastle, the magic house, for every flavor of erotica and erotic romance you can dream of.


  1. Hello, Stephanie,

    Welcome to the Grip, and thanks for a wise and hilarious post.

    I didn't realize we divas needed to be wrangled...

    Good luck surviving the family!


  2. Stephanie,

    Sage advice and wittily delivered.

    Fantastic post.



  3. You have successfully explained my world:)

    I once locked myself in my office and kept saying, 'Five minutes...I'm almost finsished.'

    When I WAS finally finished, my kids were home from school, my cold dinner plate was in the microwave, the kids had done their homework under Dad's supervision, and were now all sound asleep. I'd been at it for roughly six hours.

    Before the kids went to school, I wrote in the laundromat; the two hour nap time; or locked myself in the bedroom once Daddy was home. Now I have teens and I would LOVE to check into a motel for about a week, all by myself, and see what miracles I can accomplish:)

  4. Thank you for the kind words! My Diva Wrangler title came from the term for those who make sure famous folks have what they need and are happy. That's my job.(.:

    It's great when you have family backup. It helps to tell them they'll benefit when you're rich and famous...

  5. Stef,

    Thank you for the wonderful post! I know this routine all to well, though my youngest preferred to type with her feet while nursing.

    Thank you again, and Happy New Year!

  6. This is so my life, except the baby is three and finally understands that Mama means it when she says, "No touch 'puter!"

    Thanks for the post! Happy to have you!


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