Writing with kids and life…

September 17, 2009 at 6:00 am 4 comments

By Lori Devoti

My very first appearance as an author was at the local library. I did my “this is how I got published spiel”. Afterwards, a woman came up to me to tell me how she had always wanted to write, but see…she had small kids, so it really couldn’t happen for quite a few years.

I smiled ’cause see…I wrote my first book with two kids under six at home with me. And those two kids both have cystic fibrosis. So, I not only had to deal with the fights, the many juice demands, and potty training, I also had to deal with chest physical therapy, a multitude of daily drugs to keep straight and way more doctor interaction than I recommend for anyone’s sanity.

But I did it and frankly so could this woman if she really wanted to.

Does that sound callous? I don’t mean it to, but the reality is that if you want something bad enough you will find time for it. We don’t live in a time where every waking hour has to be dedicated to cooking, cleaning, hunting, or farming for our very survival. (I mean I haven’t boiled my own soap for years!) No, the vast majority of us take time for things that aren’t absolutely necessary to our survival or our family’s survival all the time. We watch TV. We browse the Internet. We shop. We do stuff! And while doing stuff is important for our sanity and living a full life–each of those things is a choice and we could choose to be doing something else.

Simply enough, that’s what I did and to a degree still do.

Last Thursday we learned that a child in my son’s class had H1N1. This was a huge deal to us–my kids, both under 12 and both with CF, getting H1N1—-well it is a nightmare I don’t want to even consider happening. So, we, after a deep discussion, pulled them out of school. Since last Friday, I have been spending all day with them, home schooling them. And I am on deadline. And I was already behind where I wanted to be.

But you know what? I discovered I can get enough done to make my deadline–even with giving up hours to them every day.

I had to make adjustments. I watch a lot less TV. I spend a lot less time reading blogs. I ignore a lot more stuff – flame wars, entire conversations on loops, current events.

I adjusted my goal. I decided I could take an extra week to get the book done. It cuts into my revision time, but I know I can do that in the time that is left.

I adjusted my writing time from Monday thru Friday to every day of the week.

What I didn’t do is say “I can’t do this.” Because that is the one sure fired way to make sure you won’t.

Bottom line, I made my writing a priority again, and if you want to write with life and children you will probably have to do that too. But the good news is…You can!

Go forth and write. 🙂


Entry filed under: Living with CF, writing. Tags: .

sacrificing the reader for the writer Characters live on after the book ends


  • 1. Teresa Bodwell  |  September 17, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks, Lori.

    I have to confess, you make me feel like a slacker. 🙂

  • 2. Paula Reed  |  September 17, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    I say the same thing to people. I hear it all the time, “I just don’t have the time.” I hear it from people who scrapbook and can tell me everything going on with the latest reality show. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with those activities, but we all choose how we spend our free time. I spend mine writing.

  • 3. Michelle Daly  |  September 18, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I totally agree with you. When I wrote my first book, I had two children under four and a teenage mentally handicapped daughter with cerebal palsy. I really really really wanted to write it so I bought a wallpaper pasting table, a dictionary, a thesaurus oh, and a pack of foolscap paper because I was writing on my little Brother typewriter and needed a copy of my ms.
    Most people as me, ‘how long did it take you to write it?’ That is because everyone has a book in them and loads of people would like to write one, but they want to start it tomorrow and finish it yesterday. One of the most ingrdients for writing is the staying power.
    ps. I went on to home-school my two children and they both went to university.
    I think home-schooling is more acceptable now than it was twenty years ago.
    Good luck with your new role. I’m sure you’ll do a wonderful job!

  • 4. Maisey  |  September 19, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Hi Lori,

    I know it’s definitely possible. I started writing and wrote my first MS when my youngest son was one month old and my oldest was 20 mos. Now with two boys under four and a new baby on the way I’m still plugging away. I’ve got my computer in the living room and during tv time in the morning I just tune out the Little Einsteins and do what I can. When it’s too tough to concentrate as soon as my husband walks through the door I try to sneak of to a coffee shop for an hour or so and get some more done, or I just end up staying up late after they’re in bed. There’s not much of a schedule, and it can be crazy. But if you love it, and you want to make it work, I firmly believe that you can. It’s no eight hours of uninterrupted time in an office, but I wouldn’t like that anyway! I just have to be flexible about it. And one of the best things about writing is it’s something you can still stay at home and do. That way I get to pursue my dream with my kids right by my side, and what’s better than that!?

    Best of luck to everyone trying to figure this crazy system out!

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