Self-Care for Mom Writers: May is for Me!

Amy Mercer

By Amy Mercer

I don’t know about you, mama writers, but I feel like May is for me. I have spent too many hours volunteering at my kid’s pre-school field trips, Easter plays and birthday parties and I am spent. I have said yes to too many blogs, columns and editing projects and my creative writing, my passion has paid the price. So May is for me, May is for saying no, May is for sitting in front of the computer each day and writing for me.

Here’s some tips to help you reclaim you:

· Set a limit on the number of times you check your email during the day. For example, once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and one time in the evening. The less you check your email, the less distracted from your creative writing you will be. As a mother, I’ve begun to feel guilty about the time I spend in front of my lap-top, away from my children and when I read an article in the New York Times about a writer who decided to regulate/restrict the time he spent on the computer, I was intrigued. Could I do the same thing? The idea of limiting my access to my computer made me hyperventilate. So I knew I had to try. I have not yet made it through a full day off-line, but I am attempting to limit my access and I’ve noticed that after hours away, when I log back on, I haven’t missed much.

· Whether you are a type A or a fly by the seat of your pants kind of girl, pull out your planner, organize and catalog your writing goals. Having them on paper, in an organized fashion will help even the most spontaneous of us. And don’t forget to assess your progress. How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions? So far, so good? Or do you need to recommit? Write those down too.

· Practice saying no. Start small…No, I can’t make something sweet for the school’s Spring picnic. No, I can’t edit your article. No, I can’t volunteer for this writing group. And No, I can’t watch you ride your bike right now. Mommy needs to write. No is hard to say sometimes and you may feel guilty, but after a few tries, you’ll get more comfortable saying no and it will come easier. Soon, you will find yourself with time to write those stories that have been coming together in the back of your mind. You will breathe easier. You will smile more often. And you will remember that you are a writer.

Amy S. Mercer is a freelance writer living in Charleston, SC with her husband and two sons. Her writing has been published in skirt! Magazine, Literary Mama, Diabetes Forecast and A Cup of Comfort for Writers. Amy is Blog Editor for Literary Mama and Associate editor for The Writer Mama Zine. More at Dreaming About Water.


2 Responses to “Self-Care for Mom Writers: May is for Me!”

  1. 1 Abby May 20, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Great tips, Amy. The e-mail one is especially hard for me, but you’re right — it’s a huge time-suck, and nothing is rarely that urgent.

    I’m still not great at saying no, especially passing up writing assignments, but I’ve started listening to my gut. I usually regret taking on more work than I can comfortably handle.

  2. 2 alsmercer June 22, 2008 at 6:10 am

    I’m a big talker and am still learning how to say no myself! There is such a thrill to taking on new projects, it’s a bit of an addiction. Yikes. Here’s to saying no!

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