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Lori Duffy Foster

... write to think; think to write.

Thoughts, News & Events

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Mon, 01 May 2017
I told a fellow writer recently I would not be attending two appealing conferences this spring and summer because of conflicts with my children's lives. One falls on the weekend of my son's first-ever prom and the other clashes with summer camp drop-off.
She commended me on my "sacrifices," but suggested I reconsider.
I need to put my writing first, she said.
I need to ensure that I am taken seriously if I want to succeed.
I was taken aback.
I just don't see it that way.
I chose my career, but I also chose to have children.
I believe in balance, but when I am forced to tip those scales, they will always tip in favor of my four kids. My husband is no different in his approach to his career, though it's less obvious because he doesn't have as much flexibility.
Motherhood has made me a better writer, so if it slows me down a little, that's okay.
My perspective is unpopular, at least that's what I gather from forums, blogs and books on the subject. We female writers are supposed to protect our writing identities at all costs and forgive ourselves the selfishness required by our career choices.
Don't get me wrong.
I am selfish sometimes.
Um, plenty of times.
Just this morning, I encouraged my sick ten-year-old son to watch YouTube videos so I could write in peace. The house could be a lot cleaner. I could put better meals on the table. I could be doing art and science projects with my kids during school breaks and on the weekends to keep them off their iPods and computers.
I could also take a regularly paying job and earn money for after-school activities, upcoming college costs and educational summer outings. I have sometimes worked part-time when our finances required it. Most recently, I was a taxonomy specialist for a media company.
But as soon as our finances allowed, I quit.
Why?
Because I'm selfish.
I want to write even if I can't guarantee that my writing will sell.
But I have my limits.
No conference is worth missing my son's first prom.
I want to see the flush in his face when I tell him how handsome he looks in a tuxedo. I want to see him give his date her corsage and wave as the two of them head off for a night of dinner and dancing with friends. I want to hear all about it when he gets back.
No networking opportunity is worth missing camp send-off.
I want to hug my twins before they disappear into their cabins for their first full week of overnight camp and squeeze my daughter before we let her go for two weeks, longer than we have ever been without her.
And no novel of mine is going to suffer because I didn't go to that one workshop.
Look at all the real-life experience I am getting through my kids.
You can't buy that.
We women have good reason to be protective and defensive when it comes to our identities as writers. Despite all the strides we have made as a gender, society as a whole still tends to see male writers as professionals and women as hobbyists.
But we don't have to deny one identity in order to reinforce the other.
I completed four novels while my children were in the most physically, emotionally and intellectually demanding stages of their lives. They still need me now, but their needs have changed. These days, the conflicts with my writing are more about the schedule.
Achieving a balance is easier and it will only get better.
If I get published now, my youngest kids are old enough to understand that I will have to travel for signings, to teach workshops or to participate in conferences. They are old enough to be excited for me, to be proud of me and maybe even to sometimes travel with me.
And it goes both ways.
I am secure enough in my identity as a mother to do all that without guilt, to enjoy success as a writer.
I have not sacrificed.
I have compromised to get what I want, an entirely different concept.
We are not going to change society's view of female writers by mimicking the success of stereotypical male writers. Why would we want to do that? We need to show the world something different. We need to show society that parenthood (fatherhood included) is a valuable asset for writers, not a complication or a burden.
I will go to a conference this year, but I won't miss a child's birthday, a school event, or a milestone to do it. Childhood lasts for only so long, but I intend to write forever.
Where's the sacrifice in that?
(Margaret Atwood, you are my idol!)

Sat, 21 Jan 2017

Thu, 05 Jan 2017


Wed, 28 Sep 2016

Thu, 15 Sep 2016

Fri, 18 Dec 2015

Thu, 19 Nov 2015



Wed, 02 Sep 2015

Mon, 17 Aug 2015














Quotes

"Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else."

--Gloria Steinem

No one is able to enjoy such feast than the one who throws a party in his own mind

--Selma Lagerlöf

Every word written is a victory against death.

--Michel Butor

"Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you – as if you haven't been told a million times already – that writing is harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching. "

--Harlan Ellison

The only reason for being a professional writer is that you just can't help it

--Leo Rosten

"For me, writing is exploration; and most of the time, I'm surprised where the journey takes me."

--Jack Dann

About Lori Duffy Foster

I was born and raised in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, which is the setting of my first novel, Spring Melt. I am sister to seven siblings. I am a graduate of SUNY-Oswego (BA) and of Binghamton University (MA). For 11 years, I wrote about everything--crime, education, politics, the military, running, Native American affairs--for The (Syracuse, N.Y.) Post-Standard. That's where I met my awesome husband, Tom, co-author of Their Darkest Day, an account of the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
When I became a mother, I gave up my full-time career to be home with our kids. I have taught college English as an adjunct; worked as a technical writer; freelanced as a writer and editor; and started up my own Web-based business. In my spare time I write novels. My short stories have been published in Aethlon, a journal of sports literature, and in the 2011 Short Story America Anthology.
I am a writer, but I refuse to call myself an author until at least one of those books sees print (at someone else's expense).
I have lived all over the country--in New York State, Florida, Arizona, Ohio and, currently, in northern Pennsylvania.  And my hope is that one of these days, my husband and I will be able to take our kids around the country and throughout the world.