For nearly 20 years after I left my full-time journalism career, fiction writing took a backseat to parenting (and to paid work).
That seat was never too far away. Picture the special infant seat in some minivans, the one located in the center of the middle row that you can slide up so the baby is within reach of the front passenger seat. That’s where I kept my passion for fiction: always within reach, but still safely tucked behind me.
I didn’t mind, most of the time.
I did have my share of meltdowns, times when I thought that if I couldn’t give it my all, I should give it up. But I did not give it up. I wrote when I could, sometimes missing days, weeks or even months, but always thinking about writing and knowing I would eventually get the words down.
It turned out to be a productive method.
Earlier in 2020, I signed a contract with Level Best Books for three novels in a series. Two weeks ago, I signed another contract with Level Best Books for three standalone novels. Of the six novels, five are complete, products of my writing-while-parenting methods. The sixth is under construction.
The last of the novels under contract will be published just before our youngest two children graduate high school.
How fitting is that?
I am ecstatic, of course. I want to shout it out to the world.
But I am sharing this news for another reason.
I know there are more people like me out there, parents who are struggling to feed that passion for writing while also feeding young children who need us in ways that can be physically and emotionally intense. I know there is pressure to carve out untouchable time each day for writing, a feeling that if we can’t do that, we are not passionate enough.
That we will fail.
I sharing this so you know that is not true.
You can be a good and attentive parent and still succeed as a writer. Your journey might deviate from the norm, but that will only make it more exciting, an original, like any good novel plot. Keep the faith, my parent-writer friends. Ignore those who say the world of fiction belongs to the young, the single or those who can afford full-time daycare while they write.
Good things will happen if you are patient and persistent.