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Family circus: Balancing children and a writing career

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Balancing children with a writing career can be a challenge. In fact, it can feel something like a circus with all the noise, juggling and hoop-jumping. It’s certainly not the picture of blessed serenity that most writers imagine for themselves as they settle into a writing session.

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(Fickr: Erik Söderström)

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Babies are crying, needing a bottle and refusing a nap. Children are knocking at your office door, demanding that you referee a sibling squabble. Young teens are needing a lift across town — for the third time that day.

Read: Oh, the places you will go: Turning distractions into ideas

Meanwhile, you are striving to infuse every ounce of creative brain power you have into your current writing project. Yes, it’s a big-time stressful, high-wire balancing act for some of us. Consider the following tips:

Balancing children with a writing career

~Many writers report writing on the fringes of the day, utilizing the quiet of an early, early morning or a very late night to summon inspiration and write at a brisk, uninterrupted clip.

~As writing parents, we must learn to snatch time whenever and wherever we can get it — during nap time, sitting in the car while you wait for your kid’s practice to wrap up. Carry a notebook with you to catch and record your random thoughts at all times.

~Can’t stop long enough to take notes? Then, dictate your thoughts into the memo feature of your smartphone. Retrieve them later when you have some quiet time and record them onto your page.

~Assign a work period for yourself — a regular work time each day — when your spouse or even a babysitter takes over with the children, giving you the chance to fully devote yourself to your craft.

Read: Spaghetti ready? It must be time to write

~When you do find yourself with private writing time, turn off your phone and resist the urge to text, tweet, chat or nap. Eliminate all distractions and just write.

~Laundry, dinner, grocery shopping — some things simply cannot be avoided. But you can use those moments to ponder like a writer. Mindless thinking can lead you to a momentous thought as a you are folding towels out of the dryer. Write it down.

~The children are restless and need to iron out some wiggles at the community park. No problem. People-watching other families can serve as a gold mine for writing material.

What do you do to maintain a healthy balance between raising children and writing the next great American novel? Share in the comments section below.

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at EducatedWriter.com and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at kerrismabee.com.

Kerri S. Mabee

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