Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Elbows Out!

This is an extract from an interview with writer Julianna Baggott, novelist, essayist and poet, where she was asked to give advice to mother/writers. 

'Put your elbows out, protect your time. This means that if you have a partner, that partner must step up and -- this is the tricky part -- you must allow them to step up and find their own way to parent. This is an act of deep trust. It means that you can't micromanage from the computer chair. It means that the sippy cup tops and bottoms might not match. We talk about sexism in the publishing industry and there's much work to be done, but most of that work begins with two people having a conversation at a kitchen table late at night after the baby has finally fallen asleep, two people who have to decide -- often with limited resources -- which career deserves to be pushed, deserves time and support. Writers often fail at this conversation. Women writers often cave at this moment -- do their budding careers truly deserve time?  Assert yourself now. Set the ground rules early. Elbows fucking out. You deserve the time. Your partner needs to step up. This is where it begins.'

She also has some interesting thoughts on learning to 'write while not writing'. She tells the story to herself, visualizes, perhaps while driving, cooking etc ... &  she has also learned to head edit... she calls it "Efficient Creativity..." I would highly recommend the full article  HERE  

How do you manage to juggle motherhood and writing? Funny how the juggling of fatherhood and writing rarely appears to be an issue, or is that changing ? :)

ps Thanks to Doireann Ni Ghriofa for tweeting this article btw!


Liza said...

Oh I remember the days when I didn't juggle motherhood and writing. Now our daughter is in college and I write when I want...until she comes home. Then I let myself be distracted...because our moments together are short. Still though, this post is all so true. I wish I had the confidence back then.

Words A Day said...

@Liza - It does take a lot of guts & confidence! Glad your getting your writing time now though, (those 1,000 a day!)

Rachel Fenton said...

The conversation about my career being as important as his is still floundering. Importance = money and my career can't compete on that scale. But I get my fucking elbows out none the less. Great article - thanks for posting it.

Words A Day said...

Ah yes, dirty auld money! But still...glad to hear your getting those EFO:)

Anonymous said...

Although I don't have the huge responsibilities of raising kiddies or juggling time between the husband and family, the hardest part of writing for me is switching off the net and opening the word document. Thanks for the post.

Old Kitty said...

I have no excuse! I only have my cats to juggle. And my supreme laziness!! Oh dear!!

Yay!! I think it should be a slogan somewhere "Elbows fucking out"!! Love it!! Take care

Jan Morrison said...

ah! elbows fucking out! I haven't had to be very aggressive with this in my current partnership. I arrived working as a therapist haphazardly and writing constantly. He builds houses and because he is also an unwilling entrepreneur he understands the dilemma. We kind of bumble along - sometimes we are working very hard at our moneyed work and sometimes we aren't. We'll never be able to retire (less a problem for me than him as I can be ancient and adored as a therapist - his body will dictate how long he can) but we are happy if not rich.

Theresa Milstein said...

Write while not writing--sound advice. I find myself doing this more and more.

I agree, writers need to let spouses take care of the kids without micromanaging. I know a mother who wasn't a writer, who never let her husband do anything. When she actually needed a break, neither the husband or sons were ready for it.