Today I have the lovely Ren Warom on the blog with a guest post about writing with children. It’s a brilliant piece that I’m very glad to be sharing with you all.
But first, here’s some more information on her book, Escapology.
Shock Pao is the best. In the virtual world the Slip there’s nothing he can’t steal for the right price. Outside the Slip, though, he’s a Fail – no degree, no job. So when his ex offers him a job, breaking into a corporate databank, he accepts—it’s either that, or find himself a nice bench to sleep under. Amiga works for psychotic crime lord Twist Calhoun so when Shock’s war comes to her, it’s her job to bring him to Twist, dead or alive.
I’m a single mum of two teens and a pre-teen, so my life tends toward thechaotic (and melodramatic). I’ve been writing seriously again for only six years, butthe plot twist in parenting is that kids don’t really get to be less work at any point, norany less hands on (even with nappies/noses and nights out of the equation), soconsider the following my mini four-point guide for writing whilst parenting. I like to call these my Write Club Rules:
First Rule of Write Club: Never try and write when your children are home or awake unless you’ve super glued them to the TV/their computer/a book/a videogame and can guarantee quiet. If you have even as much as 0.01% of a doubt about guaranteed quiet then do not sit down to work. This is ironclad.
Second Rule of Write Club: If the above is not an option (and let’s be fair, with kids it’s often not), set a definite writing time and guard it like DeCaprio’s bear-husband guards his honour. It is sacred. Sacrosanct. If you allow your children to think they can interrupt it for any reason, you will never get it back. EVER.
Third Rule of Write Club: Explain why you write. What it means to you. Kids are filled with enthusiasm and zest for life, they might resent the time you give to words but if they understand how much it means to you they’ll really try and respect it, even when they’re pissier than DiCaprio’s bear husband (and that happens a lot.) Trust me on this. Kids are hella smart, even the mini ones.
Fourth Rule of Write Club: Share your love of books. If your children love books they’ll have a greater grasp of why you love writing. They may even start to write as well, and encouraging creativity in your kids is about as rewarding as it gets. Besides, when they’re engrossed in reading the latest must-have picture book, MG or YA, you can whip out your laptop/ipad/notebook and sneak some words in. Win/win situation.
Fifth and Final Rule of Write Club: Coffee. Wine. Cake. Chocolate. Gin. Books. TV. Art. Knitting. Name your pleasure and dive in headfirst (within reason, naturally). Chase your joy, it finds its way into the words you write and the things you say and do as a parent. A good parent is a happy parent; a good writer is a happy writer. Stupid simple, but in the many stresses of parenting/life we often forget to take care of ourselves too.
Okay, so those aren’t really rules per se, they don’t give you a way through if you’re struggling to balance kids and writing, but here’s the thing––there are no real answers to the conundrum. Write Club is fight club. It is and always will be a juggling act, with no right way or wrong way, and no easy way. But nothing worthwhile is ever easy, and that definitely stands for parenting and writing both.