Reasons why being a mother makes me a better writer

I feel like there is an idea out there that artistry is somehow incompatible with motherhood. That if I can't give myself over completely to the creative process, then I'm bound to fail. I have two small children under the age of 5. They take up just about every ounce of energy I have. But they don't stop me from writing. If anything, I would argue that my writing has flourished since having children. Here are the reasons why being a mother has made me a better writer:


I've been inspired by a profound emotional experience

The agony of childbirth, the joy of holding new life, the middle-of-the-night paranoid googling of mysterious ailments. These are things I wouldn't have experienced without having children and inform my writing about women's lives.


My patience is infinite (or at least I try)

As Jay-Z says, "I'm not patient and I hate waiting." I've struggled with impatience my whole life. Writing and publishing are a long process. Building up my audience will take time. Spending time on thoughtful edits take a while. All of this would normally kill me. But now that I've had kids I know what it's like to wait for a 2-year-old to put on her own shoes agonizingly slow. My patience has been tested every single day and has slowly stretched. I'm also learning to value living in the moment. Every day that goes by is a day that they get older and it's a bittersweet feeling.


My time management is amazing

I do the bulk of my writing on my phone as I commute to work. It's 30 minutes of unlimited alone time and I maximize it to its fullest potential. I don't fool around with precious alone time because I appreciate it for its rareness. One of my author inspirations, Nora Roberts, says that the secret to her success is "ass in chair." She treats her writing as a job and shows up every single day to work. Get er done. That's my approach. Work hard, write lots, edit carefully, and keep going.

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© 2019 by Joni Harrison