There’s a commercial out there that I used to see when I actually watched TV. I don’t remember the concept or even who was advertising, but the commercial ended with the line, “having a baby changes everything.” I’m very aware of this in my personal life, but I didn’t realize, until lately, that having a baby has changed my writing life. And the changes are deeper than just going from handwriting to writing on the computer or adding my “(insert something funny)” note when I can’t think of something good.
A few weeks ago, I met the multi-talented Bethany Hensel through a member of my critique group. Later, we connected on twitter (@B_Twon13) and I mentioned something about working on notes for a young adult novel while writing a couple of chapters of my middle grade series. She then asked if I can work on multiple projects at once. My first reaction was “no way!” But when I thought about it, I realized that I do actually work on multiple things at once. I do because I have to.
Now I write during Sesame Street when I used to need quiet, think about plot development while cooking or driving when I used to need to sit and focus, and write at night when my brain used to be too tired. I’m growing as a writer. Or I’m adapting as one. It is a primitive comparison, but I guess I’ve adapted to writing in my new, motherly condition the way an animal adapts to changes in environment. I haven’t noticed how I’ve changed my habits, until I was asked about them, when I realized that I’ve found a new way to write that works for me.
I’m also starting to allow my writing to go places it has never gone before. I usually stick with light and funny work because it doesn’t make me uncomfortable. Lately, I think because of the new levels of emotion Mister has made me feel, I’ve been working on going deeper into my history and within myself to find material for my writing.
Perhaps this is a good time to reflect: What adaptations to your work habits have you made because of life changes? Have they made you a better writer? What isn’t working for you? How could it be changed? My hope is that we all will find a writing process that works for each of us, so we can tell our stories.
More on work habits: