By Aline LeChaye
Julia is the kind of girl who looks like she just walked off the set of Gossip Girl. Blond, bubbly, and barely twenty-five, she’s the last person anyone would call a mom.
I noticed the book by her plate the day we went out for brunch, but I didn’t notice the title until she showed me the book.
“It’s this great new writing book I found in a bookstore by my house.”
Inwardly, I groaned. Julia loves writing books. She buys them by the dozen and tries to follow every rule in every book. Once, she read a book that said every spoken sentence had to have its own dialogue tag, and she spent the whole night putting tags to her manuscript. The very next day, she read another book saying that dialogue tags were unnecessary, and should be used as little as possible. She spent another night going over the same manuscript, taking out the tags.
You can see that I wasn’t really keen to hear about her new purchase.
“It’s like, the best writer book, ever,” Julia gushed. “Here, take a look.”
I blinked, looked again.
“It’s called Writer Mama?”
“Yeah! Isn’t that cute? It talks about writing as a career for moms. You know, taking care of your baby and writing at the same time.”
“But, Julia, you’re not a mom. You don’t have a baby. You don’t even have a steady boyfriend. Why did you buy this?”
“It’s great. It doesn’t have to be just for people who are moms. I mean, you have a job, right? And you have to squeeze in time to write, don’t you? So it’s not that different from having to take care of a baby ten hours a day and trying to find time to write.”
I flipped open the book (albeit reluctantly) and came to the page where it talks about writing down your roles in life and finding four markets to go with each role. Sixteen markets in all.
At the time, I was seriously in need of new markets to write for. I’d fallen into that nasty little comfort zone where I would send articles and stories out only to editors I knew, and had stopped breaking in to new markets. There was something about the tone of the book I liked the look of as well.
I never thought I’d be reading a book called Writer Mama before becoming a mama, but I ended up borrowing it from Julia. And it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, it was kind of…good.
Of course the focus is on moms and kids most of the time, but many of the tips apply to anyone who’s writing part-time, and even those lucky enough to be writing full-time can get inspiration and advice from the pages of Writer Mama. The style is easy to get close to; it’s like sitting down with a friend at a kitchen table, and leafing through the pages of her submissions folder.
The quotes from “real” writer mamas at the beginning of every chapter were also interesting to read. I’d heard of one or two of the writers before reading the book, and never thought of them as moms. Knowing that they are heightens my admiration of them more than I can say.
So whether you’re a mom, a dad, or still single, go ahead, peep into Writer Mama. You just might find something shiny contained in its pages.