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How to write a book with kids


Type writer on a desk

I've daydreamed about writing a book before—many, many times.


In my dream, I'm sitting in a library or artsy loft or at a desk by a window and writing away in all different forms. I'm surrounded by shelves of books by the greats, with my own sprinkled in. I take coffee breaks when inspiration is low and walk in the city or by the ocean. When inspiration strikes, I breeze back to my desk and write again. Quickly and quietly in my world.


Do you know what was not in my daydream? Kids. Everywhere, all the time.


I never dreamed that I would be writing a book with kids. I never really thought I was going to have kids in the first place. But I certainly did not think that the writing projects on my desk would have to compete for space with sippy cups, baby puffs, and piles of broken toys waiting for a new tube of super glue. I didn't think my brain would have to battle for space, either.


Getting to sit down at my computer these days is like an Olympic sport of psychological tests. It's not easy. It's a battle every moment. But it's worth it, and life is short. Here's some advice for mothers on how to write books with kids. Or better, here are some tips on how to TRY to write books with kids.


Tips for writing a book with kids

Are these tips going to work for you? Maybe. Do they always work for me? Psh. I'm a dreamer, but I'm not entirely delusional. Some of these are just wishful thinking.


Writing a book when you have children, no matter what genre, is a challenge. Especially if you are a freelance work-from-home mom like me who is also battling to find time for work, let's get into it.


Tip 1: Set the scene

First, set up your children for your own success. What does this look like? Everyone's interpretation will be different.


In my case, I make sure that each one of my kids has all or some of the following: food, drink, activity, empty bladder, clean diaper, and minimal access to dangerous things. All must be spaced out throughout the house, just enough so that the temptation to bother one another is not too strong. If they're already playing together, I have to calculate how much time I think they can continue this charade before it implodes. The baby must be sleeping. It's the only way.


Tip 2: Don't attract attention

Do not announce what you are about to do. You attract too much curiosity and attention.


I cannot tell my kids I'm writing. I cannot tell them I'll be in my office or on my computer. It's not that they will be interested, although I run the risk of that too. More so, when you tell your chilren you are about to do something that sounds important or not involving them, there is a little signal that lights up in their brain that repeats phrases to them such as Go get mom. Go ask mom things. Make big messes. Make brother bleed.


The key to writing a book with kids is to make it seem as if it was THEIR choice to be ignoring me right now. THEY are busy. Not me. Slink away quickly and quietly.


Tip 3: Grab the monitor

Your kids are never too old for a monitor. Don't trust those little crazy people to their own devices in your home.


As soon as you leave the room, even if you are only right around the corner, they have already started calculating how much time they have to get away with evil plans. It's okay to feel like a spy.


Plus, a monitor heps me determine which screams are dire and which screams give me a few more minutes before I need to respond. Lots of words can be written under pressure in just a few minutes!


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Pin photo: Writing a book with kids


Tips 4: Reduce your distractions.

Distractions and interruptions. Both are killers of creativity.


This is a hard one, but I've got it down to a science. Right before I'm about ready to slink away to work on my book, I plug in my cell phone in a different room; it's the bain of my existence, and I have wasted more time than I want to admit scrolling rather than creating. TikTok is the worst. I lose myself for hours.


But can't you still go on social media on your computer? Sure, if I used a regular computer. When I know I need to write, I grab my Freewrite Traveler. No distractions, no social media, no email. I can't even get distracted with editing because it's not for that. Just writing the words all down as fast as possible.


I have more reasons why I love my Freewrite Traveler here, but distractions are a huge part of it.


Tip 5: Make a calming drink before

This may just be a no-brainer, but always make a delicious drink before this entire process starts. This way, even if you don't get to write, or you have writer's block or shiz hits the fan in about 5-10 minutes with the kids, you got to have a quiet cup of brainstorming coffee or something. Honestly, it's worth it.


Tip 6: Use screens wisely

Don't ever think that just slapping a screen in front of your kid's face is going to give you uninterrupted writing time. These may work for some kids, but mine? Very inconsistent.


Without fail, my kids will have probelms with their tablets, app malfunctions, missing chargers, trouble agreeing on a movie, or disinterest all together. When I know I want to work on something and my kids are home, I screen starve them.


I initiate a screen ban from the moment they wake up. I take them away and keep them on chargers until the right moment. They are usually pretty excited I gave in at this point; it's less likely they experience issues. Less.


Tip 7: Have low expectations

Let's me honest, if you have been writing for a while, you know how hard it can be to concetrate on a story or poetry with constant distractions and interruptions. You're going to do your best work when you're alone in your thoughts, and that's okay. Whatever progress you make on your book in the time you carve out during the day is more than you had before.


Sometimes, your kids will surprise you and let you have a few hours on your book! Sometimes, they won't let you get as far as making that cup of coffee. Don't put pressure on yourself to compete with other writers without kids or even other writers who do have kids. We all have unique circumstances; some of us have more resources and help than others.


I know you're curious. No, I'm not one of those moms with a ton of help, resources, and money who just says these things to make people feel better. I wrote the first draft of this blog with one hand while feeding my baby with the other. I had yogurt on my sleeve and keyboard, and she whined the whole time. But I did it. And when she went down for a nap, I whipped out the editing brain and got to work.


Low. Low expectations. That's especially true if you have young kids. A speck of dust off the floor low.


Final Tip: Keep dreaming

I've gone through many phases in my life where I thought it was stupid to keep thinking I could publish a book. I would give up all my creative endeavors with the most minor setbacks and just wallow. It's easy to do in a society where people devalue mothers but still enable us to live these crazy lives that are just about the kiddos and not at all about their passions or careers.


Don't give up. You can write that book. You can publish it, especially with all the different publishing mediums that are available these days for indie authors. Try reframing setbacks when they happen.


If you sat at your desk in front of your book but didn't get to write, you didn't fail. You looked at your book today. You got your creative brain moving and brainstorming, and your book is on your mind. Your dream is real; you saw it today It's just going to take you a little longer to get there.


Have patience with yourself. Writing a book is hard. Raising kids is hard. You're doing both. That's pretty badass.


Don't forget to share your stories with me to keep each other going on this journey.


Till next time,

Shell



Disclaimer: This blog contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases to help fund my dream of being a published author and poet. I love and appreciate you so much!





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The Writer

Welcome! I'm a poet, author, mother, and dreamer of creative works, sharing my writing journey for all to see. My work is raw, honest, and not always pretty. I cover the darker elements of motherhood and being a woman, finding beauty in the shadows despite the smoke screens we like to build to shield them. 
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