The High-Wire Act by novelist and guest blogger Gina Buonaguro

 

Balancing parenting with writing—not to mention a regular job—is no mean feat. I’ve at times found it to be immensely difficult, especially when I had my newborns and no maternity leave (since I’m self-employed). For instance, my first novel, The Sidewalk Artist, was purchased by St. Martin’s Press soon after I gave birth to my daughter, and I remember feeling like a zombie as I walked the hallways of my house bouncing her in a sling, discussing revisions with my coauthor. I felt less pressure when my son was born five years later, since we were still in the writing stages of our historical mystery, The Wolves of St. Peter’s , but still, it was all I could do to keep on top of my email.

Of course, having a coauthor helps tremendously in keeping the writing ball rolling – you’re writing even when you’re not writing. But most writers don’t have a coauthor, and so the single most important thing I would recommend in terms of keeping balance is getting help to carve out writing time. It could be in the form of hired help such as a nanny or a neighbourhood preteen or teenager to act as a mother’s helper (or how about “hiring” an older sibling?). You could swap babysitting with friends or call in favours from family members. The other tip I have is to schedule in your writing time as you would any other critical appointment or work deadline, something that you would never dream of missing. I’ve become a huge fan of Google Calendar, where I not only schedule in appointments and commitments (both work and family) but also have the app email me reminders. Because the thing about writing: It’s not only work; it’s a pleasure. And such things that feed the soul should absolutely be prioritized.

Gina Buonaguro is, along with Janice Kirk, the author of The Sidewalk Artist, Ciao Bella, and the just released The Wolves of St. Peter’s. Visit their blog – http://sidewalkartist.blogspot.ca/.


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