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Brittany: Finding Time to Write

Brittany VandeputteBrittany Vandeputte, writer and mother of two young boys, is one of 13 contributors whose wisdom appears in the e-book The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years. Brittany wrote the piece below before her second son was born. If you’re a writer with a wee one, do you resonate with Brittany’s snapshot?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a mother who writes. Ordinarily, when I think of a “writer” I imagine a reclusive character locked behind a door who neither eats nor sleeps for days. I think of this person because that is how I used to write before I had obligations to other people. I still have an “office” but I use the term loosely. An office seems to signify a private place to conduct one’s business and that is hardly how I would describe the place I do most of my writing. As a mother, I fully expect to find toys littering the floor and a strange assortment of other odds and ends that my son finds endlessly amusing. Lately, it has been the remnants of a bag of polyfill stuffing that he excavated from my craft basket.

I don’t get a lot of time to write. I try to jot down ideas while my son is playing, but more times than not, he ends up stealing the pen out of my hand and following that up with a victory dance where he leaps triumphantly on my notebook. For the last 6 months, I have done the bulk of my writing in very short bursts during my son’s naptime — which is unfortunately only once a day. It frustrates me to no end, but the alternative is even more frustrating.

There are times I wish I could push everything outside the door and lock myself in. All I want is one day where I can write and make some real measurable progress. But of course, I can’t do that and I know it. The thing is, other people know it too, and very occasionally, someone will say to me, “Come to my house. Bring the baby. I’ll watch him while you write.” There’s a special place in heaven for these people. And I always take them up on the offer. As a mother, I already know that it takes a village to raise a child, but I’m learning that a village is also essential when you’re a writer. It takes that many offered spaces to get your novel finished!


If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. It is so very true!

    The really sad part for me is that when i finally get a little babysitting, the time vanishes into a whirlwind of catching up on chores and the writing takes a backseat again!

    May 15, 2013
    • A classic trap, Cathy! We’ve all been there. Can you set aside the FIRST 30-60 minutes of your babysitting window for writing?

      May 15, 2013
      • That’s a good idea. Once you get on a roll, it’s easier to ignore the other stuff too. I’m also getting proper doors put on my office one of these days so I can’t the the laundry, unmade bed, misbehaving pets etc.

        May 17, 2013
  2. yes that’s why they say time flies with kids!

    May 15, 2013
  3. Since writing that, my boys have (suddenly, inexplicably) turned almost-5 and almost-7. I vaguely remember those days… but not really. Now the time I could be writing is sucked into the never-ending black hole of soccer practice, cub scouts, errands, grocery shopping, school volunteering, etc. I still think it’s supremely challenging to be a mother who writes, but when my youngest starts full day kindergarten in September, I’m going to reclaim my office and get back to work. 🙂

    May 15, 2013
  4. so very true. I have 3 boys.I know all to well how hard it can be to write with all the demands life hands out daily

    May 15, 2013
  5. I totally feel this way! I’m a painter/wife/new mom and trying to figure out how to get my previous 8 hours of work into her 3 hours of naptime a day!

    May 18, 2013
  6. I totally feel this way and understand! I’m a painter/ new mom and trying to figure out how to focus! It’s hard to concentrate in short spurts of the baby’s naptime. But I am determined to do it!

    May 18, 2013
  7. Shvetal #

    I’m a new mom, an intermittent writer and now more an aspiring one than otherwise. Loved your post, and hopefully it will inspire me to do my writing.

    May 22, 2013

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