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Writing--a Lonely Job?

Writing is a lonely job! Or is it? Maybe. If you have no kids. And no one knows that you write for children.

I started writing (to be published, that is) when my children were little. It's a bit uncanny how you can write surrounded by six small bodies in constant motion. But I did. In between the "I'm hungry" and "I hafta go potty" and "He/She took that away from me!" I'd sit and write (well, sometimes I would do laundry, or other things).

Occassionally I might hear something like this:
What are you doing, Mommy?
I'm writing a story.
Is it about a pig?
No. But it's about a farmer.
Does he have a pig?
!Well, yes. But it's about his cow.
Does his cow like the pig?
Yeees. And he likes chocolate milk.
The pig fell in the mud!
He did?
And he splashed chocolate spots all over the cow!

My first critic! That sounds like a story-starter to me.

When my story was finished I would read it to my children. I didn't tell them that I wrote it. They were always up for a story. I would put my pages inside of a magazine and pretend that I was reading someone else's story. Then I'd watch to see if they got wiggly or bored. I knew the jig was up when I heard:
Let me see, Mommy. Let me see!
Can I see the dog?
I wanna see the pictures!
(Oops! I don't draw!)

Lonely? If your friends know that you write, you probably hear things like this:

Have you written anything lately?
(me) I'm working on some things.

So how's your book doing?
(me) It won't be out for 2 years.

I saw your poem in BabyBug! My son liked the pictures.

My friend has this idea for a picture book. Who should she send it to?
(me) There's this great book called the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market Book...

Rrring! (phone--home, not cell)
Hi! Whatcha' doing?
I'm writing.
Hurry! Turn on your TV. There's a preview of this great movie coming out!
I heard about that one. I read the book.

And the best one:
Where can I get a copy of your book? I need it for my friend who just had a baby!

Fast forward. My kids are grown. You'd think I'd have all day just to write. Well, in between laundry (it never goes away), cooking, shopping, appointments, making appointments, calling insurance companies, not to mention my other job which pays regularly, I write.

But some things simply are more important than writing time. On any writing day I might get a phone call like this:

Rrring! (phone--home, not cell)
Hi Mom. What's up?
Not much. What's up with you?
Not much. I'm just writing some lyrics to a new song....

Rrring!
Hi Grandma. Someone wants to sing for you.
(grandson on the phone) ABCD EFG...

La la la la, la la la (cell phone, not home phone)
Hi Mom. We're just leaving work. What're you doing for lunch?

Rrring!
Hi Grandma. Someone wants to talk to you.
say hi to grandma...
say I love you grandma....
say bye bye... Bye Bye!

Hi Mom! Whatcha doing?

Blessed interruptions. The ones that take you off-track, but keep you there at the same time.

Finally, sitting at the computer trying to write something that makes sense.
Beep! (e-mail message)
When is our next writers' meeting?
Beep!
Here's my critique for the next meeting. Send us yours!
Beep!
Are you going to that thing at the bookstore on Saturday?
Beep!
Can you look at this program for the writers' conference and tell me what you think?
Beep!
Hi! Can you send me a copy of that picture you took last week (which is still on my camera)?

Writing, a lonely job? I don't think so. And I'm glad it's not.

Next week I'll talk about things that writers do besides writing that keep us connected as children's writers. In the meantime, good luck sorting through the good interruptions and those that can wait until later
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