Tuesday, October 04, 2011

WrAHM: Get These Kids Away From Me!

So how does a “Write from Home Mom” manage to find the time to write? The answer, I believe, is to get as far away from your children as possible (I jest, though not entirely).
I cannot write well in a house where I know my kids are near—or more specifically, when they might come into the room at any moment. No way, it’s impossible. For example, I might hear one of them crying in another part of the house and instead of thinking about some mess that my protagonist has gotten herself into, I’ll be thinking, “Is Noah upset? Did Lily bang her head on the wall again?” 
I could be in the middle of a very tense and intimate scene between my characters—they might be about to have sex or something crazy like that—and then, I’ll hear my daughter laugh, and all at once I’m wondering: what is she laughing about? Did she just see something funny on TV? Is she watching too much TV? And just like that, my characters are left high and dry with no direction to follow (you can imagine how awkward that may be). And then one of them will cry out for me, “Mommmmmmmy!” A sound like this is capable of immediately taking you out of the world you are trying to create inside your computer. This is why I must get out of my house and away from my children to write first drafts of anything—far, far, away. 
Okay, I’ll admit, I never go that far—maybe to a local coffee shop, the library, or maybe (if the kids are sufficiently quiet and occupied), to the closed-off confines of my master bedroom. But the key element is that the kids are away from me, and there is no chance they will be climbing into my lap anytime soon. The sad part: this doesn’t happen as regularly as I’d like. But alas, things are about to change for me in a big way. 
After being home with my kids full-time for the last six years, my son will be starting grade one and will be at school every day, all day, and my daughter will be entering nursery school three mornings a week. As well as a delightful right of passage for my kids, this means something very important to me—I will be able to get the kids away from me! Imagine three full mornings a week with no little whines, cries or baby coughs echoing through my home. When it comes to the good of my writing, this idea is heavenly (of course, personally, I will miss those little baby sounds). It will mean that I can be home and still be far enough away from the kids to get some work done. I will not have to hole myself up in some library cubical or restaurant booth to write something new. 
The only problem is that if I’m at home writing, there will still be laundry to do and dirty counters to wipe and dishes to load, which has me thinking that maybe its not the sounds of the kids, but the routine of the house that I need to escape. Maybe even the walls and smells of everyday life are not conducive to creating anything fresh? What do you think? Is it our kids we need to get away from to write, or just our lives?

Allison Baggio’s first novel Girl in Shades was released on October 1st by ECW Press. Whenever she can escape her kids, she is hard at work on her second and third books. Learn more about her at www.allisonbaggio.com


  1. I think its all of it. But with the kids at school at least you can schedule the rest of your life. I work from home and my best work is done in the morning and I just ignore everything else. Towards lunch time i take a break to handle household chores. So it basically means no visitors in the morning (business or personal)because things are amock. Any business task I didn't handle in the first half of the day probably has to wait till evening or the next day. Its the only way I can cope with it all really.

  2. Yay for some free time! I know you'll miss the kiddos some, but you'll be amazed how excited your muse will be to come out and play uninterrupted. Good luck, and enjoy. :)

  3. One of the hardest plights of writers is to find a good place to write! It's so hard to write from home and always prefer to be alone so I don't have any distractions also!

    Great post!

    Brittany Roshelle, The Write Stuff Blog

  4. Thanks everyone for you comments! Glad to see I'm not the only one in this crazy "write from home" situation...


  5. I have one word. Prioritize.
    Once you have your free mornings with the kids at school, everything else can wait. Put off the laundry, the dishes, whatever. I write at home and my dishes pile up. I don't' mind. I'd rather have words on a page than a clean counter top. My biggest issue - the dog needs a walk, and I can't resist his big brown eyes.