Being a Parent Can Make You a Better Writer

Being a parent can help you be a better writer, and that doesn’t get talked about enough. Instead, you usually hear about how little time you’ll have, and how hard it can be to look after a young child and keep writing. When I found out that I was pregnant, I was honestly terrified I’d never find time to write (or have time for myself) ever again. I’d seen friends drop off the face of the earth after having kids, and that scared me too.

This post isn’t really for those of you who already have kids, but maybe for those of you thinking about children and a little worried like I was. Yes, your life will change, but it can be a positive change.

First of all, a caveat for the women: your hormones will go up and down before and after having a child. You don’t know how your mood might be affected, and sometimes the bad effects snowball when you dump sleep deprivation on top of them. Post partum depression is real too (and you should see a doctor if you suspect it). If you breastfeed, your hormones might not balance out until months after weaning. For me it wasn’t until more than a year after giving birth. For you it might be weeks or months. If it’s taking longer than you expect, don’t worry, you haven’t lost yourself. Be kind. If you can’t write for a while (I couldn’t), it’s okay. Eventually baby will sleep through the night and you’ll feel new again, I promise.

Some of the good things…

You get super good at squeezing tasks into short bits of free time.  The baby is napping, QUICK! eat, shower, do laundry! There’s nothing like a crying baby for a timer. Pomodoro technique? Try ‘while the baby sleeps.’ It’s like rolling dice.

You just experienced something crazy and wonderful. You survived sleepless nights, you know how much punishment your body can take, or not. You get to be reminded of what it’s like to be young again. All of it is more realism for your story toolbox.

You have a little person to write for and to tell stories to. You get to watch their imaginations develop and help them grow into future readers.

You gain perspective. Yes, rejections are still tough, but they’re nowhere near important as the kiddo tugging on your leg. You might find it’s so much easier to let them go, not just because you have no time to dwell, but because they are just a small part of your life.

And you know, sometimes you need a break to recharge. By the time you have time to write, you could be itching to create so badly that you’ll have super amazing outputs.

Yes, parenthood can be really tough at times, but there’s so much good stuff to experience too. It’s all worth it.

Related Reading: If you feel like you’re falling behind in life, don’t. You are exactly where you need to be.

ALSO NEWS!!!! I’m super excited to announce that I have a story coming out in POC Destroy SF. You can check out the table of contents here.  This is the first story I wrote post baby 🙂

4 Comments to “Being a Parent Can Make You a Better Writer”

  1. Congratulations on the story!! That’s so wonderful.

    Thanks for the advice, insight, and reassurance, too. This is definitely something I worry about, so it’s nice to hear positive tales from the other side. <3

  2. If you spend your life safely avoiding any distractions or attachments, you’ll have a lot of time to write and nothing interesting to write about.

    Or, to put it more poetically:

    “In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you’ll dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it to the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused.”

    Papa (Hemingway) said that.

    Applies to Mama, too. 🙂

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