Genre Types

Writing While Parenting: Balancing It All

Writing, it seems, has historically been at odds with parenthood. The two tend to want to take over their hosts, consuming all of their time, energy, and creativity. Being a full-time parent means putting yourself on hold, answering to tiny voices and listening to their stories. Their whims become your quests, and the pebbles in their shoes become your own to toss. These are the little diversions that stack up to make your day.

So what are you to do if you feel the pull to write? Writers know that other tiny voice—the one from you gut—that urges you to record what your mind weaves. Ignoring this instinct is pointless. You are meant to write, and you know it. Reaching past the busyness of parenthood is possible, and the two can intertwine beautifully if you are dedicated, creative, and forgiving.

1. No More Guilt

Let go of any guilt you feel about your choices. This step is as difficult as it is important, since feelings of inadequacy can clog your process or tarnish the time you spend with your family. Be in the moment, whatever you are doing, and appreciate where you are. Whether you are working tirelessly on that second draft or enjoying game night with your kids, avoid the temptation to feel guilty about what you think you should be doing instead.

2. Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

Anyone with kids can tell you that they immediately make life a chaotic scramble of schedules and appointments and commitments. It is possible, however, to carve out time to write if you are diligent and organized. Create a routine for the week and encourage your partner to share their weekly obligations with you so you can plan ahead. In short, get a planner and use it.

3. Prioritize Your Time

Make writing a priority, under your kids’ well being and above signing up to bake 250 cookies for yet another bake sale, and you will find the time and space to write. I can see you shaking your head now, but just try it for two weeks. Practice saying “no” to extra commitments that you don’t have time for anyway. Wake up a little earlier to crank out some writing exercises. Your actions will reveal what you truly want to include in your life, so you have to ask yourself if writing is worth it to you.

4. Embrace Your Perspective

Parenting will force you to evolve in a way that nothing else can. It will show you the messy, bewildering, beautiful corners of life. It will push you to grow in directions you never meant to and will highlight truths you never expected. Raising little versions of yourself can show you what true intimacy within a human relationship is, can make you understand that love and heartache are inextricably linked, and will prove to you once and for all that control is an illusion. All of these lessons are also terribly true when it comes to writing. Appreciate how your parenting experiences affect your writing, whether it is through developing meaningful characters or understanding the complex relationship between love and pain, selflessness and independence.


With experience as an English literature teacher and freelance writer, Elaine brings her knack for revision to the editorial team. She started at the University of Central Florida in 2005, and she holds degrees in English Literature and Language Arts Education with an additional minor in writing. As a parenting blogger, she enjoys writing about her adventures with her toddler daughter and husband as they take advantage of living where the rest of the world vacations.

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