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27 February 2006 @ 02:27 pm
Writing With Children Around  
Writing With Children Around…
©Lucy Monroe

When I first started writing I met people who require absolute silence and no interruptions to write. I thought immediately that if I were like that I’d never write at all. Not with two children, two cats, various neighborhood children and wonderful, but sometimes demanding husband running around. Luckily, I grew up in a family of six children, nine cats, two large dogs and various neighborhood children!

Don’t get me wrong. I need to focus on my writing, but I’ve had to learn to focus fast and furious. I’ve also developed some techniques for getting my family’s cooperation. Want to hear them? They’re nothing special, but they work for me.

Technique #1: Ignore them. Now, I know what you’re thinking. No self-respecting wife and mother would just flat out ignore her family to finish a scene, to get those words just right. You may be correct. But, a writer would. Honestly? This isn’t a technique I practice on purpose. It’s a side effect of writing focused. I’ve said more uh-huhs and nodded my assent to more dangerous projects when writing then my mother did with all six children spanning our entire growing up years.

Technique #2: Get them on your side. My children are rather mercenary. Are all children this way, or just mine? I don’t know, but it sure works for me. I offered to pay each of my children when my books publish. They pray for me every night and remind each other that I can’t publish and pay them if I don’t finish the book. If offering to pay them doesn’t work, try cause and effect. "Sure I can get rid of my computer...but to be fair, you'd have to give yours up as well, and the Gameboy, and the Nintendo..."

It’s a little more difficult for the husband. He knows the truth about the money. He forked out a lot of it while nothing was coming in. He can do the math. So, you’ve got to find other incentives for him to support your writing. Let him know what a different woman you would be without your writing and I don’t mean having a cleaner house. This can be a case of show, don’t tell! There's an woman who takes my place when I don't write. She's not very nice. She's cranky and she gets depressed. Tom and I now have a code. He asks, “Do you need to write?” I say, “Yes.”

Technique #3: Get them involved. Most recently I invited my children to help me name characters in my book. After explaining to my son that Pokemon names were not available back in the Regency era we settled on something we could all live with. When I need kid dialogue, I call one of my children over and ask them for input. I let them tell me things they think I should write about and I write it down. Someday, I’ll have a mom addicted to Pokemon in one my books (my son’s happiest fantasy).

Again, your husband knows the game. He knows when you are going to use what he suggests and when you won’t. Laughing hysterically at my husband’s idea that my historical hero and heroine have an "Odd Couple" type relationship probably gave him a clue. I’ve learned since then not to ask for advice on conflict after 11:00 p.m.

Try asking your husband to read your book for accuracy from a male POV. It worked for me. My husband likes to read my stories. Maybe yours would too. Make him part of the writing process for you. After he recuperated from the backlash of making changes in my manuscript without my permission, Tom and I developed a great working relationship. For those of you who are wondering, he was only in traction a few weeks. He's my first reader for every story and I really value his opinion.

Writing with small children and marvelous husband around takes persistence, a willingness to write in chaos, and a sense of humor. Like my mom always said, you’ll either laugh or scream. I’m choosing to laugh…and write.

Original Source: http://lucymonroe.com/Articles2.htm#writing%20with%20children
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Hearing: Led Zepplin - D'yer Mak'er
 
 
 
kidlit_kimkidlit_kim on February 28th, 2006 03:44 pm (UTC)
Great article!