Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gin Under My Pillow: A Mom's Guide To Writing a Book

Morning Readers,
     I'll let you in on a little secret....I write. Well, I know you know I know that you know I write a blog, but I also assumed you thought I only blogged and possibly worked on graffiti, when the mood struck me.  Several months ago, I started my first book of humor. Day one went pretty well, with many paragraphs churned out. Day two...a few more sentences. Day three, the babies slapped my computer shut and demanded I mother them instead of writing about it. "But this is more fun!" I protested. They weren't having any of it. So, today, I thought I'd explain why a mom/writer gives you a blank stare and backs away when you ask..."How's the book coming along?"
                                                A Mom's Guide To Writing A Book: 101
(also available in Cliff's Notes and I'm Hurling Myself Off A Cliff's Notes..)

1.) What do I want to write about?

     To be honest, it doesn't matter. Pick anything, anything at all because whether you're cutting peanut butter sandwiches into the shapes of the new unicorn breed you've invented, or the shape of your spunky, go-get-em heroine's face, your kids will be eating it, while you scratch outlines, on the kitchen door, intermittently whispering, "Opening line, opening line... apes are so over-done."

2.) So what is it that you do, exactly?

     Try answering this question as calmly and as rationally as possible. You're writing a book, but you also change poop, a lot. I like to answer this question with, "I'm writing a book about poop." It's easier to remember than, "I'm a pooper..er...a writer...I mean, I poop. No..that's not what I meant. I meant I poop when I write. Wait...."
...Simple, prepared answers help you stay on track, if you accidentally wander out of the house and run into another human being.

3.) Where will I find the time?

     There isn't any. No one allows you to brush your teeth, let alone, floor it in a literary drag race with Jane Austin. Just don't make the mistake I did, and attempt random, ceremonial rain dances you found in a library book marked, "Death", in order to conjure up more time. This is a bad idea for a few reasons:

a.) Asking the butcher to hand you a live chicken is awkward and expensive.
b.) It's hard to explain away any extra pairs of horns you may or may not grow.
c.) Screaming, "You hold the portal open, while I shove it back to the other dimension," when your husband walks in the door, is bound to cause an uncomfortable silence in the bedroom.

The only way you find time is to sacrifice any time you're supposed to be sleeping, and invest in a heavy duty cover-up/iron-clad foundation for your under eye circles. No one said the cover on the book jacket has to be pretty. Less-than-nightmare-inducing should still be acceptable. If you write horror, even better...

4.) People started laughing when I said I was writing a book.

     They're not laughing at you, it's just that your bra's on the outside of your shirt, again. The sooner you get this corrected, the sooner you'll snatch that Pulitzer.

5.) I didn't get to write, today. Should I throw my dream away like the pants Paris Hilton wore, once, yesterday?

     In short, no. It took you twenty sacrificed showers, thirty sleepless nights, and being the only woman at church without a clean pair of underwear, to come up with and jump start this dream. Not to mention, it took a lot of courage to march up and down the street, in said underwear, singing, "I have a dream. I have a dream. Saints alive, I have a dream!" Take a slug of Gin, get back on that unicorn and canter steadfastly back to Fansaltania.

6.) My baby ate my computer and I didn't back up my work.

I believe you. Always back up your work. Watch your baby for viruses.

7.) Wash, rinse, repeat until that book is done. Let me clarify...this does not mean your hair. We all know that'll be sticking to your face like eight-week-old cabbage by the time your masterpiece is complete

Where do you block out time to work on your hobbies? Any other tips for parents who write, blog or try to go to bathroom alone are also welcome...

Until Next Time, Readers!


 

20 comments:

  1. People go to the bathroom alone? Huh. Missed that memo too it seems.
    I get up two hours before my kids do so I can get stuff done. Otherwise it's a no go. Good news is eventually Butch and Sundance will go to school. That's when you actually get to take a real shower. With hot water and everything. I promise, the first time it happened to me I thought I had entered the twilight zone.

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    Replies
    1. Well, I don't...unless I want to leave the twins and come back to a lake of orange juice on the kitchen floor. Hmmm. Hot water? What's this you speak of? Don't yank me around here, Melynda...

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  2. So you're saying that I should write a book BEFORE I spawn time sucking kids???

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    Replies
    1. They do suck some time, but they're also my muses and story fuel. It's a delicate balance..LOL.

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  3. I'm 77 & I have time to do anything I want--if only I could remember what it was I wanted to do! I raised 3 kids who are thankfully out of the house now--although each of them moved back in for a time after going out on their own. (My fault--I should have changed the locks!)

    Before I reached my present state of Nirvana, however, I did spend a little time being a diaper changer, food wiper offer, cook ,maid, general household drudge, chauffer, read to me-er, grocery shopper, hooker (Not really. I just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.), fight referee, Brownie leader, cookie seller, den mother & five or six thousand other things--you know, just the normal mother stuff.

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    Replies
    1. Roger, Fishducky...changing locks, immediately....:)

      Over and out...

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  4. I don't really like the "how's the book coming" question, I usually deflect. Maybe I should try saying "I'm writing a book about poop"--that should get them off my back.
    :)

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    Replies
    1. It works 99 percent of the time, until you get one of the weird ones who wants to talk about poop...yikes.

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  5. ahahahahahaha. oh, lady. you amuse me immensely.

    all true.

    some days i plead with my 8 month old to let me have a quiet pee...

    she obliges. some days. usually not.

    cheers.

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  6. ps. if you make an article of clothing out of a trash bag, please do share.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, I made that plea, this morning. They voted "no" and that they'd come right in and go after the shampoo, instead...yeesh.
      Btw...now I feel the pressure to start getting crafty with trash bags. Definitely sending photos if there's anything of note...

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  7. My "favorite" question: "You're STILL working on that book???"

    Stick with it, kiddo. Even when days, weeks, or even months pass, life gets in the way, and you have zero time to write, don't give up on it entirely. You have a ton of talent. Believe in yourself. Don't do what I did and get involved in a bazillion other things and allow writing to sit forgotten on the back burner for decades. Stick with it!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the encouragement,Susan! I shall keep chipping away until the cows come home...and hopefully they'll bring a decent book with them..:)

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  8. The answer to #4 is a total winner for me. Moms get no luck at least some of the time.

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    Replies
    1. You are correct, John...no luck...no luck at all.

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  9. This is such a fun post. I get up at five each morning to write.

    P. S. Once Doctor Jones managed to delete AN ENTIRE manusript. It was a good thing I'd emailed it to myself the previous day. That would have been terrible!

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    Replies
    1. I know you do, and I"m so jealous of your discipline! It's not helping that the kids are getting up at 4:45-5am now. What??? Why does no one warn me about these things? Thank goodness for backing up your work!

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  10. Dear Paige,
    I laughed out loud at the following: "They're not laughing at you, it's just that your bra's on the outside of your shirt, again. The sooner you get this corrected, the sooner you'll snatch that Pulitzer." Yes, that Pulitzer does beckon. It's like a lighthouse leading out of the darkness of our own muddled thoughts. The problem for me is that I suddenly discover that my boat is sinking!

    I hope you continue A Mom's Guide To Writing A Book: 101. I like laughing and you have helped me laugh today. Thank you.

    Peace

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    1. Dee, I'm sure there will be a follow-up to A Mom's Guide. If I can get this book finished, there are many sections which will need to be added to the guidebook..lol. Thank you for reading, my dear!

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    ReplyDelete