Monday, January 31, 2011

Writing and Parenting (1)

One of the most difficult problems for a writer (painter, muscian, etc.) with children to overcome is how to find time to do our writing. Our children take up a tremendous amount of our time. How do we satisfy our need to be an artist and our need to be a parent? Parenting is immediate. It is now. There is no I'll get to it later. Unfornately, our writing can be put off until later, and that's what usually happens.

 It's an age-old delimma, in some ways more perplexing for women than for men, and in some ways more perplexing for men than for women. And, really, the problem confronts anyone who runs their own business, maybe even anyone who works and has a family. The demand for shelter and nurture comes first. It is paramount. The ideal solution is when writing, shelter, and nurture all merge into one. Is it possible for that to happen?

Family life is a constant mix, an ever changing matrix, because as our children grow older, and/or  new ones come along, our needs and relationships change. And oftentimes, with more than one child, different networks form. We might have to take care of an infant, an adolescent, and a teenager all at the same time. Besides being exhausting, it's time consuming.

Writing a novel, poetry, whatever, takes a commitment, and usually a commitment over a long period of time. Ideally, a person who wants to be a writer knows so at a very young age (I was about thirteen or fourteen when I knew it) and commits herself to writing then and there and gets published at a fairly young age, makes a lot of money, finds a wonderful spouse/partner, and her writing pays the bills, and she lives happily ever after. Of course, it usually doesn't happen that way. If it has, I don't know about it. (As I think about it, John Updike might have done it, or some version of it.)

So these two aspects of our lives--writing and parenting--are, at least on the surface, antagonistic to one another.
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