Yes, it's nearly midnight as I write this post. It would be so easy to give up, and skip my self-imposed deadline or just blog tomorrow.
"No," said my two-year-old when I told him I didn't do my "Mommy Work" today. "Go now," he said, and pushed me off the bed.
He's right. I've got work to do.
And for the past week, I've realized that kids are right a lot of the time. At least my kids, anyway.
Let me explain.
Lesson 1: Routine
For Christmas, my daughter got a "Responsibility Chart." If I miss a day of positive rewards (at least now, while it's new) I'm more likely to miss two. She goes beserk when I'm inconsistent. She's taught me the importance of routine. Get in the habit of writing every day, just like she's in the habit of being rewarded. Make a chart if you have to. And reward yourself if you have to, too.
Lesson 2: It's all about KIDS
For Christmas, my son got many picture books. One of them (which I will not name for fear the author will see) I read to him on Christmas morning. And hated it. But my reluctant reader sat through the entire thing...and then asked to read it again. And again. About two weeks and thirty reads later, I still hate the text of the story. But my son loves it...and I've come to respect the fact that this author blew off what parents were going to say and grabbed my two-year-old's attention. My boy loves reading (and sits through more than one book now)! And he's taught me that writing for children is about children. It's not about us. We must consider our manuscripts from the viewpoint of our audience.
Lesson 3: Whining gets you nowhere
In some circles, the "squeaky wheel gets the grease." But not in my household. My kids have learned to learned to "turn it off like a faucet." And if you're a writer, you should, too. After reading a lot of blogs over the past week (I'm doing the Comment Challenge) - the ones that are the best are the ones without whining. In the writing industry, the squeaky wheels aren't getting published. It's the ones who can self-oil, and keep on trucking through hard times. Complain to your husband or your local writer's group when you're away at the cabin. As for your blog, bashing "them" or "the industry" just sounds like whining. And if I think that, what's an editor going to think?
Lesson 4: Patience
We, as parents, are quick to judge children as impatient. But is this really the case? We're often the ones rushing them out the door, or to pick something at the market, or to hurry here or there. The other night, I was having a "heart to heart" with my five-year-old about a rejection letter I got recently. "Don't worry, Mom," she said. "Just send it to somebody else. And if no one likes your stories, just wait until I grow up and then I'll turn them into books for you." She's willing to wait twenty plus years, no big deal. It's simple. Just send it to somebody else. Or wait. And that's exactly what I intend to do.
What lessons on writing have you learned from your kids?
Other people's kids?
I'm curious to know.
Comments are open!