Q&A with Jennifer Weiner discussion

Finding Time to Write

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message 1: by Shannon (new)

Shannon | 1 comments Hi Jennifer!

I love your books, as I'm sure you can guess from my having joined the group. My question is: How do you find the time to write with a baby? I am always using my two kids as an excuse NOT to write and, naturally, never get around to it. I also work full-time which limits my availablity as well. Do you have any tips for an aspiring writer?

Thanks so much for your insight!

message 2: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Riggsby / allthingsequilateral (sophieriggsby) Yes, do share a sample daily schedule...I'd love to write...BUT...between ballet lessons, scouts and potty training????? Not to mention getting over the fear of "who will read this stuff??" Thanks again for doing this!!

message 3: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 11 comments Mod
Neglect the housework. Seriously, that is the only way I get anything done!

In terms of writing, motherhood, and working full time, I'm not sure how anyone does it, except I once read an interview with Diane McKinney Whetstone where she described getting up at four in the morning and writing before her kids woke up and before she had to go to work. As I am a giant slug and an Olympic-level sleeper, that approach would not work for me. I think the only way to get it done is to hire some help. Find a sitter, join a babysitting co-op, convince your husband or partner to watch the kids for an evening or an afternoon so you can take your laptop to a coffee shop or lock yourself in the bathroom and write. Treat it like you would a doctor's appointment: yes, it's a hassle for everyone, but it's important, so you make arrangements so that you can be there and get it done.

message 4: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 11 comments Mod
When I was the mother of a baby/toddler, I'd write for four hours in the afternoon, while she was with a sitter. When she was in preschool, I'd drop her off at 8:30, go to a coffee shop, and write until it was time to pick her up at 12:30. Now that I'm the mother of an almost-five-year-old and a new baby, I'm writing while the little one sleeps. Over the summer, I'll start leaving the house again, for two hours, then three, then four, and I'll build up to my previous 20-hour-a-week writing schedule. Of course, the truth is, writers are always working. There's always a part of my brain that's with the characters, even when I'm swimming with my daughter, or changing diapers, or grocery shopping, or driving the carpool. Which I think makes me creative, not neglectful. At least, I hope that's how my daughters will experience it. And, as hinted at in the previous answer, I have lots and lots of help (sitters, assistants, housekeepers, and family close by).

message 5: by May Kathryn (new)

May Kathryn  | 2 comments Hello again, Ms. Weiner!

Do you believe that having a pen and paper handy all the time helps too? or motivates you to really write as well? A poetry professor told us in class before that we have to make sure that we have a pen and paper beside our bed so that whenever an idea pops in our head, we can get to write it right away...

message 6: by Sophie (last edited May 11, 2008 05:54PM) (new)

Sophie Riggsby / allthingsequilateral (sophieriggsby) Wow...thank you for the advice! My youngest is going to turn three and start preschool in the Fall...I know I'll have about (between pick-up/drop-off) 2.5 hours on Tu/Th to Do Something...and I shall...great idea re: babysitting co-op...and thank you for admitting that you have a Support Base to help you...I miss not having my mother and MIL nearby and I'm glad that you are not one of those Gee, I Just Stay Up All Night Willingly Answering My Muse's Call types...I love my sleep, which we mommies do not get enough of as it is...and yes, treat it as a doctor's appointment...::LOVE THAT::!!!

message 7: by Lara (new)

Lara (lararuthz) | 1 comments This is really helpful to read. And I'm loving, by the way, Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird" that you recommended at your Barnes and Noble signing in NYC.

Do you do all of your writing on the computer or do you do some by hand? And do you write it all sequentially or do you sometimes jump around with the portion of the book you are writing?

Thanks for all the feedback and doing this Q&A. I'm really enjoying seeing your comments!

message 8: by Elise (new)

Elise (elisechidley) I'm a mom and writer too. You have to train yourself to come back from the school bus, walk straight past the dish-washer and washing machine, and go directly to the place where you write. I always figure that I can do the housework when the kids are here, but it's hard to string sentences together when your 7-yr-old is demanding that you watch him make a city out of playing cards (this afternoon's experience).

message 9: by Tracy (new)

Tracy McMillan (tracy_mcmillan) | 1 comments I'm a writer and I find sometimes it is as simple as sitting down, opening the computer, and putting my fingers on the keys.

Invariably, something usually happens! Even if it's just one sentence.

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