What the Real World Gives Mommy Writers

I remember girls in college bragging about completing their homework, participating in activities, and how they were successful in everything.

That was my perception. I could not see inside their lives.

Although my time as a creative author is now limited, I know a good writer observes people.

You are like an investigator who knows how to read people and spot little details.

Maybe you do not spot the little details in your everyday life. Laundry piles up. Your children’s rooms are never really picked up. You tell yourself they’re clean; just not picked up and they have a train to make for Monday. If you’re working, you’re wondering where is the break over the weekend only to realize the week is your break from home.

When do you write?

Anytime you can.

What do you write?

What inspires you.

Some mom writers escape into the jungles of their imaginations where they are still children. Those are the women I relate to most; the women who know they cannot complete everything perfectly. The women who know being a mommy is good, but it is a lot of work. They’re not afraid to admit it.

But they also have something to talk about, and the conversation is produced from their fingers and keyboard.

The last time I worked on my work was two weekends ago. I prepared an Elliot McSwean story for submission. The 10-year-old boy in my story has a mother who is a preschool teacher. She relates to her three daughters, but cannot grasp why her only son refuses to stay out of other people’s business.

That is a different perspective for me. During childhood little boys, sling shots and water guns filled my neighborhood. For two streets I was the only girl. I grew up to favor boys because I did not like or understand girls my age. (That has changed.) When I worked as an after school assistant teacher, several of my boys wanted someone to throw a football with them. In college I found out I had a decent arm and could catch. I also played a lot of Frisbee.

To have a curious boy of my own is no big surprise.

As a writer I tend to choose very real subjects. I cannot tell you why. In Elliot McSwean and my other stories I compose different relationships between parents, children, and siblings. One story I am write about a mother who tries everything she can to make it to her son’s soccer game on time after being delayed by an ignorant hostess and other challenges on her drive. Will she make it to the game on time after missing his last three games?

Even though I have not written creatively for two weeks, I watch people and think of new situations and new stories. I am always thinking of what a little boy might do next to embarrass his mother like opening the bathroom stall before she is finished and because he is ready to leave. (That has not happened to me just yet.)

A lot of other parent writers walk in similar shoes. They must work, go to school, and take their children to school. What gets us through the days and nights is a child’s imagination.

By Rebecca T. Dickinson

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7 thoughts on “What the Real World Gives Mommy Writers

  1. I totally relate. I love mothers who think about stuff :) When my kids were young I dragged them to every research place I wanted to go to. They loved it. We lived in a really crappy apartment (you had to climb over a set of stairs that had fallen apart just so you wouldn’t fall through to the basement) but there was a tiny room, a closet really and I staked my claim. Whenever I had a free moment I ran up there and wrote.

    1. That is great you made your children part of the process! Kids like to go places. My son likes to go to the library just to see the stuffed animals.
      I live in a house with six people, and while we have separate spaces, I do like being at the university in my own little cubby office where I work as a GA and research. I am one of those crazy people who likes to research. Perhaps my favorite library is the South Carolinana Library where I have done a lot of historical research related to my book, Sons of the Edisto.

      1. I adore research! One of my favorite places for research is the Army War College Library in Carlisle, PA. I think they moved it to a new building but when I was there it was housed in this beautiful old building. The librarians were all distinguished older gentlemen and they’d bring all of these great artifacts in boxes to my table–even when I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. I really wanted to live there :)

    1. Sally, I cannot thank you enough for your support! Beginning graduate school, working and being a mother has separated me somewhat from my writing. I hope to find a little time for it this weekend. It is a small shell of time, but the time is precious. :)

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