Hey Y’all! This is the first ever guest blog post on this blog ever. Dawn Kozak, a kind, and aspiring writer is here to drop some knowledge. Take it away from Dawn!
Imagine yourself taking a seat in front of your laptop, mug close at hand and fingers at the ready. You’ve got a great idea for your next scene, and you can’t wait to write, but something distracts you. It could be your baby crying, your child shattering a precious knick-knack, the kitchen sink overflowing with dirty dishes, the dog’s sad eyes begging for a walk. You give up. You take care of the distraction, but you don’t return to your writing–you just don’t have time. Does this seem familiar?
Don’t let your overwhelming life stop you from following your dreams. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the bumpy road of motherhood and writing.
- Don’t give up on your passions
- Being a mom is a full-time job, but that doesn’t mean you have to put aside everything else in your life. On the day your precious little one is born, your life is forever changed. It will never be the same, even if you want it to be. Some new moms get so focused on their new responsibilities that they often–sometimes intentionally and sometimes not–throw aside their interests, their hobbies, and, as a result, their sanity. It is IMPOSSIBLE to focus every ounce of your energy on mothering your child, without inevitably feeling unfulfilled, unmotivated, and unhappy. A healthy, positive, well-rounded woman is one that doesn’t forget to make time for the things outside of her family that make her happy. Doing things for yourself every once and a while is not selfish–it is part of taking care of yourself. Be willing to do things for you. You don’t want to look back and wonder what would have happened if you hadn’t given up on your writing.
- Realize your limitations
- In my humble opinion, mothers are real-life versions of Superwoman but don’t set yourself up for failure and disappointment by having unrealistic expectations. You can’t do it all. It’s that simple. There aren’t enough hours in the day for you to accomplish everything on your fantasy to-do list. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take a step back and prioritize from the top down. What things are truly important to you and what things are just what you think the “perfect” mother should do? Remove unnecessary stress from your life and make more room for yourself to actually accomplish the things that will truly bring you lasting joy and satisfaction.
- Find Balance
- Life is a constant balancing act that isn’t always straightforward. It’d be one thing if all you had to worry about was motherhood and writing, but that just isn’t the reality the majority of us live in. Most mothers have to spend some amount of time each day taking care of the home, even if their partner splits the burden with them. In this day and age, many mothers hold down a job, which further takes away a chunk of their time. All that to say, if you devote all of your time and energy to one area of your life, all the other areas will suffer. You can try to shift your focus from one day to the next, but the inevitable result is that you’re always going to feel like you’re playing catch-up with your responsibilities. Chip away at each essential task daily, and you’ll begin to feel more put together and in charge. Your house doesn’t need to be deep cleaned every day, just the same as it isn’t necessary to write 5,000 words a day. Tidying up your living space and writing 1,000 words a day is much more manageable, and you’ll have more time to spend with your kids. You’ll often find that as you balance your activities and create a healthy ritual for yourself, additional time that you didn’t have before will begin to present itself.
- Be Ok with Imperfect
- Stop comparing yourself to the Instagram moms; I promise that their lives are not as perfect as they want you to believe. Be ok with a planned activity with your kids not working out like you wanted it to. Be ok with a little mess in your home. Be ok with not meeting your word count goal. Be ok with being the best you that you can be. Each day will get better, even if it’s not apparent right away. Being imperfect is actually incredible because your life is always going to be full of new possibilities and ways to grow as a person. A perfect person has nothing to work on, and that’s just plain boring!
- Involve Your Kids
- Motherhood is a constantly changing and evolving adventure, just like creative writing. Although it’s unlikely your infant is going to pick up a pen and start composing the next bestseller, you can still inspire a love of stories and imagination at any age. Start young by reading your little one bedtime stories, even before they begin to talk. You can make reading a cherished time between mother and child when you can remind them that they are the center of your world, no matter how busy life gets. When your child is older and more communicative, take them to the library or bookstore to pick out books for you to read to them. Plant the seed of creativity by telling them kid-friendly stories of your own making. When they begin school, don’t take the backseat! In my opinion, one of the greatest things you can do to instill a love of books and reading in your child is to be heavily involved in teaching them to read. If possible, let them learn at their own pace, so that it never becomes a painful chore that they grow to hate.
- Join a Writing Community
- It can be hard to be motivated about your writing if you feel like you’re going it alone. Even if your spouse or significant other is supportive, chances are they’re not as crazy about writing as you are. If that’s the boat you’re in, there are great ways to meet other writers–no matter where you are. Many local libraries host writing groups. Even if yours doesn’t have a group, you can be brave and start one. If you don’t have many local options available to you or are afraid of meeting new people, don’t worry–you’re not fresh out of luck! One of the biggest blessings of the modern age is the ease with which we can connect with other people across the internet. I guarantee there are other writing moms out there just waiting for you to find them. Take me as proof of that. There are a lot of writer-specific resources out there that help bridge the distance between writers. A simple Google search will point you in the right direction. Get searching!
Writing, just like motherhood, is a constant work in progress. If you set yourself a pile of goals and expect to be able to hit each and every one immediately, you are going to be disappointed. Work on just a little bit every day and in time you will begin to see your writing transform and develop in the ways that you’ve always wanted it to. It stands to reason that if you have the capacity to love and cherish your children unconditionally, you should be able to find it in yourself to give a little love to your neglected passions. Above all, be patient and never stop trying. There is no challenge you cannot overcome. Good luck and happy writing!