Home > Uncategorized > New Book, New Routine

New Book, New Routine

The novelist Allegra Goodman has posted some interesting ruminations over on her blog at www.allegragoodman.com about being a mother and also a working writer and it got me thinking. I have three school-aged kids, as many of you already know, and I’m always asked how I manage to write AND raise kids. The answer is–by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.

I have help. I DEMAND help. My husband does a lot. I have an au pair (for which, yes, I realize I am extremely fortunate). Hell, I make the kids help. And there’s a benefit to this. For me, it legitimizes what I’m doing and I think it does the same for my family.

One thing I’m noticing though is that each book is a whole new process. I wrote my first novel pregnant and with babies asleep next to me. During the second book, my kids somehow passed out of the potty-training/pacifier/toddler stage and into the orthodontia/sleepover/school kid stage. And now, as I start a new book, I’m wondering what my new routine will be like. I have a set stretch of time when they’re at school, but different obligations. I’m doing library duty now and not the park run. My weekends are broken up with horseback riding lessons, soccer and basketball games, and birthday parties.

Does this affect what I write? Yes and no, I think. It doesn’t change the kind of book I think up. The content is the same. But maybe it changes the form of the book. Will I write longer or shorter chapters? Will I find it easier to keep the narrative flow going from writing session to writing session in first person or third? Sometimes it’s frustrating, all the interruptions of family life, but without them, I imagine my writing would be poorer, less layered, for isn’t art not just a product of the artist’s will, but also a result of how the artist interacts with the world around him or her?  Life, to paraphrase Stephen King in his wonderful book On Writing, is a support system for art, not the other way around. I couldn’t agree more.

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