Wisdom for Christian Writer Moms
To my fellow mamas out there who want to write. I see you, and I hear you. You want to write and you want to honor the Lord. I have good news. It can be done.
Being a mom is hard. Being a writer is hard. But when you’re both a writer and a mom, it hurts your head to think about it.
While dealing with piles of laundry, diapers, dirty dishes, kissing boo-boos, rocking sweet babies to sleep, and even teenager drama, you dream of a story deep in your heart. It is begging to be written. With some help from your husband, friend, or grandma and a boatload of caffeine, balancing the mom-life and writer-life is possible.
Maybe you haven’t written a word of that story. Or perhaps the story is saved on your laptop, and you haven’t touched in months or years. In either case, these six stepping-stones will put you on a balanced mom/writing path that will help you reach your writing goals.
Get a Notebook (Tie Pen with String)
Writing on a computer isn’t always easy when you’re a mom. My one-year-old gets very curious if she sees me with my laptop, and she’ll rush over to press all the buttons. Since I became a mom, a notebook has been a lifesaver for me, especially when I was under a deadline to finish my last book.
When the kiddos aren’t demanding my attention, I’ll jot down ideas for the chapter I’m working on, and maybe ideas for later chapters. In the evening, when the kids are finally in bed, I’d know what to do when I get to my laptop.
If you prefer a digital method, you can use Google Docs on your phone that you can access later on your computer, or you can use writing apps. My favorite is WriterPlus (Android).
Find Your Own Space (Don’t Laugh)
Nothing is more important to a writer or harder to do for a mom is to find your own space.
Whether it’s just a desk in the corner of the room or a room with a door, a writer-mom needs a creative space. There’s something about having your own space that gets the writing train in motion. Your space helps you get into the right frame of mind—your writing groove. So, get a comfy desk chair or a pretty lamp. Have a nearby shelf of books by authors who inspire you. It’s your space, so set it up to best suit your needs.
Once you have your own space, establishing some rules is a big help. If your desk is in a common area of the house (like mine), one rule could be when mama is at her desk, the kids have quiet time in their rooms. Or, if you have a room with a door, you can use that door as a sign for your kids to not disturb you if it’s shut.
Just Leave (But Don’t Go Too Far)
There are times when your own space at home won’t cut it, and you need to turn your mom-brain off so your writer-self can breathe a little.
That’s why scheduling a few hours a week to get out of the house to write can be important. Get your hubby or grandma to hold down the fort at home. Changing your writing environment might be one of the best things you do for yourself. You can go to a coffee shop, café, library, bookstore, or any place where you can sit with a laptop and not be disturbed.
Every Sunday, my husband and I sit down with our planners and plan out our week (because we’re nerds like that), and we always set aside a night where I can head out to write. I write regularly throughout the week, but my one night away refreshes me and helps me get ahead on my current writing project.
It’s even good for my kids to have that one-on-one time with their daddy. As a stay-at-home mom, I know they need a break from me just as much as I need a break from them sometimes.
Join a Band of Like-Minded Gypsies
(Romani Heritage Not Required)
Having writerly friends can be a huge blessing to a writer-mom, which is why I highly recommend joining a writing community or organization. Check out your local bookstores or libraries to see if any groups meet locally. There are also plenty of online communities like American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).
I suggest buying a copy of The Christian Writers Market Guide because it has a huge list of writing groups and organizations of all types worldwide.
Social media is also a great place to find community. You can find some writing groups on Facebook, and if you use the #writingcommunity hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.
The Power of a Tribe
I’m going to go one step further about the importance of finding a writing community. I suggest you find your TRIBE. Being in an organization is great, but having a small, close group of writing friends is even better. A group where you can talk about the writing life, pray together, celebrate the wins and help each other through the rejections.
The tribe of ladies I’m with has been a blessing to me in more ways than one. There are fifteen of us, and we are at all levels from unpublished to published, both traditional and indie.
Yes, many of us are moms who understand and deal together with the crazy balance of motherhood and writing.
A Tribal Secret
Remember, like all friendships, tribes like these don’t happen overnight. Get to know some writers, even if it’s just through tweets or emails. Pray for God to bring you the writing friends you need.
Over two years ago, on the ACFW email loop, there was an email from a new member introducing herself to the organization. I typically don’t reply to emails on the loop, but I felt God nudging me to answer that particular one. So, I did. Today, we are critique partners and great friends.
Show Yourself Grace
(It’s More than a Prayer Over a Meal, You Know)
Writing-Mamas out there, repeat after me:
It is OKAY if I need to put the writing away for a while.
It is OKAY if my process is a bit slower than other writers.
Now repeat those two phrases a few more times. Maybe write them on a sticky note and place it on your desk or the fridge. There are periods in motherhood where the only thing that happens is, well, motherhood.
Remember the newborn stage when nothing got done, including sleep? Or when the schedule is hectic with school, sports, after-school programs, and church stuff? Give yourself grace and permission to set the writing aside for a bit.
And when you start writing again, don’t beat yourself up because you can only crank out a hundred words a night (or week) at first. This is something I’m still learning.
Pray Like Your Life Depends on It (Because It Does)
If you’re in the middle of motherhood but have a dream to write, the most important thing you can do is pray. I know I need to keep reminding myself to pray throughout the day.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Ask the Lord for wisdom, for time, for help, for words, and for the power of patience.
Also, pray for your future readers. They are out there waiting for you.
Write with God. Saturate every word you put down with prayer. If God has called you to be a mom and a writer, he will give you to words to write, plus the ability and stamina to do so with kids around.
It Only Seems Overwhelming Now
My fellow writing mamas, I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you. I know this crazy mom/writer role is challenging because I’m dealing with it too.
But remember, God’s got you, and he’s got this calling he has placed on your heart. Now trust him, roll up your sleeves, pray, and get to work.
And remember, plenty of caffeine can also help.
Kelsey D.M. Anderson identifies herself as a “wife, a mommy, and a writer all in one. I’m a South Dakota girl, but I now make my home in Northeast Wisconsin.” She is finishing a novel that will be released soon. Visit her site and discover why the initials in her name are so important.