Writing for the Busy Parent

Welcome to another Feature Friday…sort of. As always, the days are just whizzing on by. I’m doing something new for this Feature Friday. It’s my first collaborative post. I’d like to welcome Dillon, from over at From Rad to Dad.

Why thank you Corey! It’s a pleasure to be here! Hi, new friends!

dillon-fam-4A little intro about my family! Korina (my wife) and I are both 26 years old, and at the time I’m jotting this down our son, Killian Jaymes, is 10 months old. I work a normal 7 to 4 Monday through Friday job while Korina runs her amazing nerdy crafting business from home while taking care of Killian, whose occupation is currently pooping his pants and chasing our dog Lupin around.

We run a small Youtube channel where we document our life in weekly videos. Korina and I also both write our parenting blogs and work on our modern fantasy stories! Well, when we find the time to write on the side, which is actually what this blog post is about.

So writing is tough, we all know that. And parenting is tough too, even folks without kids can fully acknowledge that. But what’s it like trying to be a writer and a parent at the same time? That’s what Corey and I have teamed up to shed some light on!

With that great introduction, below are the five questions we are addressing. If you are tackling the challenge of being a parent and writer, feel free to Contact Me with some answers to the questions and we will link you into this post and point people to your page. If you’d like a photo(s) included, be sure to attach them. The parenting struggle is a bit easier when it’s shared.

Now to the questions.

  1. How do you balance work, home, writing, love, and life?
  2. How has becoming a parent changed your outlook on writing and reading?
  3. What’s the biggest misconception you’ve faced with stay-at-home parenting, or parenting in general?
  4. As a parent, where do you go to write? When is the best time for you to write?  
  5. Why do you write, and how does that reason impact your writing?  

QE’s answers:

family-11.) For me, scheduling is the single most important thing I do. I’ve found I have to constantly tweak my schedule as life changes (Thor grows). Allocating my time prevents me from over-committing to a single project and leaving others lagging behind. When Thor’s awake or my wife is home, I typically don’t spend too much time writing or editing and instead try to take advantage of the time as a family.

2.) When I became a stay-at-home dad, losing my work identity was hard. As Thor grows, he’ll never look at me as “His dad who was in the military or who was a cop.” I think children having a way to identify their parents to others is important. Dedicating my time to writing and reading lets me share stories with him, but also helps me feel confident he will know his dad “does” something other than just take care of him.

3.) The biggest misconception I’ve faced is that because I’m a stay-at-home dad I have tons of time and don’t really have any commitments. Most laypeople don’t look at writing and editing as a real occupation. When people ask what I do (which inevitably comes up), I tell them I write and edit books. This is usually answered with an awkward smile and look that says, “That’s not really a job.”  

img_23344.) I have a study where I write and edit. For me, having a space dedicated to work helps me focus in on what needs to be done and not get distracted. I usually work while everyone else sleeps, or during my son’s naps. Right now, I only sleep 4-5 hours on normal days. When my wife is home for her weekends, I try to catch up on sleep and recharge.

5.) I write because I love reading stories and have always enjoyed telling them. Reading stories to my son is one of my biggest joys. Even though he’s too little to understand them (almost a year old), he still stops what he is doing and listens, as if he’s trying to understand. I write with my son and family in mind. I don’t tailor the stories to them, but knowing they will read them is very empowering. Knowing after I’m long gone my son might have a book I wrote on his own shelf is even more inspiring.

Dillon’s answers:

dillon-fam-21.) In short, an unhealthy amount of coffee. Outside of work, my schedule changes frequently and I spend as much time with my family as I can. They recharge my batteries and motivate me to be better than I am — they are my greatest inspiration. I give myself every opportunity to write, I have Google Docs on my phone, so I squeeze in a few lines, or outline points while in line at the post office or even in the bathroom. I make small time throughout my day burst-writing as much as I can, and then I spend time editing in the same fashion. Piece by piece!

2.) My outlook on everything changed the day I found out about Killian. I wanted to write, not for fame or glory, but to simply have him look up at me and say, “my dad is cool, strange, but cool.” I want to write interesting things, motivational words to help him in the future when the rain pours down and I may not be there. I want to read so I know how to answer those questions that he’s going to come at me with. I want him to know there are a million ways to be creative and he can chase any of them.

dillon-fam-33.) Parents trying to be perfect. I thought, for a brief moment, that becoming a parent would make me picture perfect. It did anything but. So many parents have picture perfect Facebook lives, and that is garbage. We fight, we cry, we make mistakes, we show up late, we forget the diaper bag, we don’t read bedtime stories every night, we forget to write, we are tired and no one ever talks about all of that being okay. And IT’S OKAY, we are not supposed to be perfect. We are supposed to be human.

4.) I don’t have a dedicated place or time, a lot of my writing is done on my phone in lines or on my lunch break at work. Even though I don’t carve out dedicated time, I still write, I still edit, and I still post. Getting something done when you can is better than not ever getting to it. If I’m gonna pick a time, I really like writing in bed later at night with my wife sitting beside me and Killian sleeping in his crib. A small cup of coffee beside me as I type and a flurry of grammatically horrible words strung together is where I always end the night. Usually followed by me saying, “I’ll fix it tomorrow!”

dillon-fam-15.) Two reasons: To motivate other parents, and to remind us all it’s okay to fail and make mistakes. We are not perfect; we are parents. I love being a dad and I want to share the stories of how it’s changed me and hopefully help at least one parent out there not feel so worried about it all. As for my personal writing: I am a genuinely curious day dreamer, and when a character walks into my head I want to chase them down the rabbit hole and see where they go and how their story unravels. I have to know how they end up. I guess I just want to share these stories on both the blog and in my personal writing. I want people to be happy and confident.

question markThat’s it for today! Again, if you’re a parent, grandparent, or parent to fur-babies—we’d love to hear from you. How do you manage the madness?  Contact Me and I’ll update this post with your answers and link your blog into the post as well. Every now and then, Dillon and I will recycle this post on our pages and put our feelers out for more struggling writers/parents. From Dillon: Thank’s for taking the time to read! Hopefully you picked up some tricks for your own crazy writing style! Thanks Corey for having me!

Until we all cross quills again, keep reading, keep writing, and as always—stay sharp! As Dillon likes to say on his page, “You’ve got this!”

Copyright Info (final)

45 responses

  1. Thanks for sharing your stories, Dillon and Corey. In all the busyness you described, your love for your families is apparent. If you have that going strong, you have the most important asset with which to raise a happy, healthy child. I can tell you from my experience as a teacher that the parents who are literate and read to their children give them a huge advantage in learning. Many blessings.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Well, that’s shattered all illusions of my writing like mad while building wild.contraptions to entertain the hypothetical babies…
    This was actually a really interesting read. I struggle enough as is with a 9 to 5 job and no other real hobbies except my writing. Seeing a guy who does that AND has a kid? And a dog? And a wife?
    I also love the fact that you guys do it for your kids, in whichever way you do. You guys are both inspirational. Keep fighting the good fight.

    Liked by 5 people

    • It’s funny because when Thor was first born I started writing my book. At that point in time, Heather was on maternity leave and Thor really just slept most of the day. At that point in time, I was confident I would have all the time in the world. Now she is back to work and Thor is pretty much away for the entire day minus a couple hour-or-so naps. Suddenly, it’s a daily scramble to get everything done. He’s at an age where he needs constant supervision (the age where the value of any and all objects are tested by placing them into his mouth). I’m not sure how my daily time will change as he grows. The only assumption I feel is safe to make is that when he goes to school, I will be able to really amp up my writing and editing. I just have to survive these first years…oh…and not make any more babies 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry to shatter your illusions! You can still do all the contraption building, you just divvy your time between building, playing and writing, and loving and you just dwindle your sleep! If writing is important, you make the time for it and it does get done, just at a slower pace sometimes, and later at night or earlier in the morning. Also, the inspirational part made me blush, thank you, I love reading what you have to write! I hope the rest of your writing intensive goes swimmingly!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for this!! It’s so wonderful to hear from other parents who are seriously dedicated to the writing craft, like stay up late and jam it into every crevice of the day dedicated! It’s not easy, but it’s totally worth it!

    Meno<3

    Liked by 4 people

    • 🙂 I’m so happy you enjoyed reading the post. One thing I love about blogging is getting to reach out to the world and share bits of my life. Knowing someone like you found some joy in it makes the whole thing worth it. Thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to read.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can only admire how you find time to write with baby Thor needing your constant attention. I know I now find time only because my daughter is away at college. The emptiness at home is less tangible because I’m writing. I’ve been a school teacher all my life with the predictable work load I would bring home. I still do, but writing has taken precedence over everything else. I feel alive when I write. Don’t know how I did without it all these years.😁

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This was interesting to read. As a woman, I’m purposely not having children until I accomplish my goals, but it’s good to read about parents who still have interest outside of just their kids.

    Liked by 5 people

    • While I’m happy to dedicate my time and effort to raising Thor, I wanted to be sure to still plug away at my own goals. In my life so far, I’ve met lots of parents who have pretty much given up on everything except raising their children. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But for me, I don’t want my son to ever think he was a hindrance to me. I don’t want him to ever think I would blame him (directly or indirectly) for not meeting my goals. The only way to make that happen is it to accomplish those goals. Or at least fail repeatedly while continuing to try. And so, that’s what I am doing!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you! My wife and I always wanted to accomplish our goals before having Killian and then when we did had him something crazy happened. Through all the exhaustion and struggle it only made our goals bigger and our drive to achieve them so much greater! Because we wanted to show Killian that through any adversity, how ever small or large, great things can be accomplished. We haven’t gotten there yet, but, we’re working on it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Not kids here. I have babysat my young nieces, though–they’re the lights of my life–and, just from that, I can imagine how crazy hard it is to balance child-rearing and writing. My hat is off to all parents who somehow manage to do both!

    Liked by 4 people

    • While you are an amazing and unique person, your statement about your nieces really reminds me of my friend MLS Weech — another big-hearted person who writes and loves family.

      As for me, I’m sort of managing it…while in a constant state of time reappraisal. I never really put much stake into the value of time until I didn’t have enough of it. Funny how that happens…

      Liked by 3 people

    • It’s hard but it’s not. The joy from being a parent outshines the “lost time” of not being able to write some days. Sometimes its play with the boy, put him to sleep, leave the dishes in the sink and write. It’s all about checks and balances! Looking forward to more Tarot writing from you!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Great n helpful writing Dillon….As a parent its quite insightful n i feel relieved that as humans all of us make mistakes in parenting n its absolutely okay. I too am stay at home mom who has had 13 yrs experience in human resource prior to my 6yrs old daughter.. but right now i have given up my job n just willfully dedicate myself to my daughters bringing up. Now that she is old enough I write blogs on various different things i feel about n that happens when she sleeps or take a nap OR…i bought more writing time for myself by getting my 6 yr old girl to writing her own blog ..she writes …n we together write helping each other…its fun…we do glass painting together.. i ask for her opinions she feels confident when i ask her opinion…she learns dancing …so in order to spend more time with her…i joined her dancing class n we both enjoy that duo activity. Also i have made her website n youtube channel for whatever activities she does.be it dance singing etc. she feels motivated to do it all. You have to be a child i believe when u bring up the kids and its totally okay to b imperfect….there is no term or description of perfect parent….if ur child is learning every emotion.well n is becoming a good skill handler i think we r doing our job fine. So great going Dillon n Corey. My daughter write a blog under the name @taletelleramby do visit that ..she would feel motivated ..thanks for bringing forth so much in your writings.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. This was a very interesting post. I applaud both of you! Being a parent and a writer is never easy but it is totally worth it. We may not lead perfect lives but I wouldn’t trade the life I have for the world.

    My minion as I call my 4 year old is always inspiring me! He’s a constant source of motivation with all his crazy amounts of energy. I like to tell myself (as I consume copious amounts of coffee) that if he has all that energy than I have plenty enough to do all my writing and balance work, life, and the billion other things I’m doing with my time!

    Writing is amazing and being a parent is the best feeling in the world. Thanks for sharing your stories with us!

    Cheers! ^_^

    Liked by 4 people

    • Here’s to minions, coffee, time (mis)management, and family. I’m with you on this. I like to think they have so much energy because they came out of the battery charger just a short amount of time ago. So they are still surging with electricity, while my power is starting to wane. I obviously just need to install solar panels…

      Liked by 3 people

      • Haha! Totally! Xp It’d be more energy efficient and supposedly cost less overall in the long run. 😉 My little dude has tons of energy! Coffee helps me stay going. Xp

        I hope you are well. I’m out, going to celebrate the wife’s birthday! ^_^

        Cheers! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thats awesome! Always happy to see another Coffee addict, it does my heart good! Thanks for chiming in on the “not leading perfect lives” bit, I love real people with real stories! Thank you so much! I hope you get your energy and you son never stops being a source of inspiration and motivation for you!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. This is so very encouraging. Thank you for sharing. I think a mother’s responses would serve as an interesting contrast. Personally, it’s the mental space where I struggle – how to be in a writing rhythm in the midst of motherhood’s endless demands!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’d love to have a mothers insights here. I haven’t received any emails yet, but if/when I do, I’ll update the post with the info.

      I’m with you on the mental space. My wife is gone 12-14 hours out of the day, so I’m pretty much the one-stop-shop for raising our son. I used to think of myself as pretty mentally tough and resilient (having been in the military for years/and being a police officer). But baby Thor’s mood can shatter or bolster my entire outlook on my day…and it can happen in a heartbeat. He can go from happy to sad in two seconds and pull be right along with him.

      I’m still struggling to find ways to bounce back from a really hard day with him. Sometimes putting my headphones on, closing my eyes, and listening to music for 20 minutes after he’s gone to bed really helps me pull myself back together so I can work. I’ve heard meditation helps, but I’m so scatterbrained that I don’t know if I would be able to pull it off.

      I just try to treat each day as an opportunity for a great one. If anything, he’s teaching me how maximize my time and be more resilient and emotionally in touch.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I really admire your pursuits. With your wife’s professional demands and your son’s natural child demands, I can imagine you have been forced to run a well-oiled machine. The breakdown, as you allude to here, is awful and difficult to move beyond. I think we all have special pressures in our parenting (for us it is two full-time academic careers and no family for hundreds of miles). Luckily, writing is a healthy outlet, even if it is also a means of advancing in some professional capacity. I appreciate the risks you take in your writing and reaching out to help others through your blog. You give us all hope that a balance is within reach 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Writing for the Busy Parent — Quintessential Editor | FROM RAD TO DAD

  10. Really insightful post – thanks for posting. As a soon to be dad in May 2017, whilst both my wife and me are working, – moving from Asia to US and a have a kid AND i’m already stressed out with the kid coming soon. It is great to see how others do it. Agree with the first comment, that it would be interesting to also see the wives perspectives and how the whole element of “taking turns” to take care of the baby works (is there a set schedule? are you guys just going with the flow? etc.)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Congrats! We really don’t have a set-in-stone schedule. This is mostly because my wife is in the military.

      This means a few things. One, it means when she is working, she is unreachable. Two, she can disappear for six months at a time with deployments. Three, it means I’m the one-stop-shop for getting it done dad style.

      Her schedule is also dictated by the needs of the military. There have been a few times I’ve schedule meetings with clients based on her schedule and had to cancel/move them because something came up. Given she can’t have a cell phone or any sort of device that can record when working on the reactor, it’s not like she can just call me to tell me these things.

      For all of these reasons, I’m a night dweller (for now). The only time I can work with certainty is when Thor is asleep. I’m obviously at home with him every day, so I’ve worked hard to incorporate a structured nap and sleep schedule. He goes down for naps and bedtime at the same time every day. It could be luck, it could be the schedule, but he sleeps 12 hours at night; I sleep 4-5. This gives me seven to eight hours of time to work uninterrupted each night. If I’m dragging, I just nap during his daily nap times. This lets me sneak in 2-4 hours of sleep during the day.

      It’s a chaos factory, but hey, that’s fatherhood for you. If you need an ear to rant in, or have any questions about the arcane art of fathering a baby (or dealing with a nursing/pumping spouse), feel free to contact me via the link on the page. Best of luck to you!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: Writing for the Busy Parents – J.R. Handley Blog

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