Thursday, May 12, 2011

Aspiring Advice: The Family Inclusion

Managing May continues, and this week, I'd like to touch on something that's a little closer to home. You aspiring writers who are single or don't have a family of your own, go ahead and stick around. This applies to siblings and future relationships, in regards to your writing.

The most substantial consumer of our time as writers is none other than a family. In my case, an awesome wife and two rambunctious kids. I really don't mean that in a resentful way. It's something I've always wanted, but I'll be the first to admit that finding a quiet moment to concentrate (when everyone else is asleep), is not only difficult, but exhausting, as well as a precursor to insomnia and savage midnight pantry raiding.

This is young children I'm talking about. I can't imagine if it's any different with older kids or teenagers. That's a decade down the road. However, I've found it helpful to include my kidlets with my storytelling. I tell them my stories (or the direction I wish to go with them), before I've had a chance to write it. Since I write family friendly adventures (for now), I can get away with this a little easier at bedtime than, say, horror, for example.

This does two things for me. First, I've developed a verbal format, which I can then take to the computer once the little ones are down. This virtually cuts the "staring at a white screen" time in half. Second, whether they show it or not, the kids will see how passionate you are about writing and using imagination, as well as feel honored that they get to hear your new material first. A few local comedians have done this, to hilarious effect.

This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. Every writer has their domain, with their own minions to nurture. While it may increase the time it takes to finish your WiP, it's good advice to give your kids the time they deserve. Same goes for your significant other. A parent who takes a healthy time out for their kids will help them feel important and guided, rather than the memory of a grumpy grownup, glued to a computer. (And the best part--you don't need super powers!)

How do you manage writing time with your family? Do you share your stories with them ahead of time? 

I'm David, and we're out of diapers!


  1. I'm so impressed when people with families find time to write. It's hard enough to fit it in while I'm single - I can't imagine trying to add a family to that. Kudos to you!

  2. I used to tell my girls stories when they were little too. I have no greater cheerleaders than the two of them.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

  3. One of the blessings of a long distance college stay has been my parents don't notice how much time I spent writing. But when I visit I do make it a point to wait until everyone is asleep to write so I don't miss out. I use to not do this and felt like my whole visit was spent inside my room.

    I think having a very understanding family certainly helps writers because there could be a whole lot of resentment going the writer's way for being hunched up with the computer for hours.

  4. It is very hard to find time to write with my three little ones. I make sure to do it at night so I give them the attention they need during the day. It's a hard balance sometimes when the only time I have to write is at night. I have a million other things to do as well. I'm happy if I even get a sentence written sometimes. But, I love writing, so I do find time to squeeze a little in each day. Usually! :)
    I also tell my kids silly stories. They just think I'm weird. ;)

  5. very entertaining. we don't have kids just 2cats and they are pretty demanding but one of them has just had stitches and enjoyed watching the clip as he hates wearing the lampshade collar.

    BTW check out my Monday 16th May post cos I'll have tagged you :O)

  6. I LOVE this post. It's awesome and that video had me in tears. Was that the Wasatch Front I saw in the background? If you're in Utah we need to get our families together! =)

    I have just added to my list of tasks. Instead of just writing a YA novel I am also now illustrating a children's book. I like getting my kids input on my sketches. OF course they may be biased, they seem to love everything I do. Those are kids for ya =). But maybe I should try asking their help for my YA story as well. I can just imagine the feedback I'd get.

    As for special time for my kids, tonight we are going to have a fabulously great time going out in the yard and pulling weeds. When it cools down some. I can't believe how hot it got today. Crazy. And then tonight I will work on sketches or writing. Whichever I can stomach after a grueling day.

  7. I don't have children but I read another post recently that said it is always best to spend time with the children first and then concentrate on your writing. So if they want to go swimming, do that first. Then they should be happy to give you some time to write. I'm not sure how that works with young children, though.

    Ellie Garratt

  8. I like that you work storytelling into time with your kids without neglecting them. It's always nice to get first impressions of your work, even if your audience is a little bit on the young size. I think the attention span of kids will certainly help with determining how interesting your story really is. Great post though!

  9. Hmm.. I don't yet have a husband or kids so right now it's my job that takes up plenty of my time! Don't know how I'll manage when I actually get married!

  10. Great idea! I love kid History! I put that same video on my blog and they gave me tickets to go see the episode six premier, along with two other pairs for a giveaway :) If they do another one (and you want to) I'll mention it to them ;)