The wonderful Keris Stainton is the author of three published YA novels with a few more to come this year. She home educates her two young sons and is addicted to tea and Twitter.
“How do you juggle writing with raising a family?”
Here’s what she had to say…
” Writing and having children are, for me, inextricably linked. I’d always wanted to write and had dabbled for years and years, but it was having my first son, Harry (now 9) that made me finally decide to go for it. The full story involves a job in accountancy, a Paul McKenna book, a life coach, and Starbucks. But basically all you need to know is that I became horrified at the idea of one day telling my child that I’d always wanted to write, but had never really been brave enough. And so I started to write. At first I wrote for magazines and online, but when I was pregnant with my second son, Joe (now 5), I got a book deal and have subsequently had three young adult novels (and one New Adult novella) published, with another three due out this year. But I am always – always – looking for excuses not to write. The only time I ever willingly do housework is when I know I should be writing. I will phone annoying relatives. I will sort my receipts. I even, recently, googled how to fix a dripping tap (I didn’t go as far as actually fixing it though).
I annoy myself. I can fill days with ‘busyness’ or ‘research’ while fretting constantly about the fact that I’m not writing. This also involves telling the boys I can’t take them to the park, we can’t make biscuits, no I can’t help you download yet another Minecraft mod – I’M WRITING. But I’m not. I’m avoiding writing. I learned recently that if I write first thing – very first thing – then all of the above can be avoided. A few weeks ago I dreamt that we were burgled and so I started taking my laptop up to bed with me. One morning, I sat up in bed, opened up the laptop and started to write. After half an hour or so, the boys got up and joined me in bed with their own technology. By 9am – AM! – I had my words for the day. The rest of the day was so easy, so breezy, so much fun that I keep wondering if I’d forgotten to do something important. But no, I’d just got it out of the way. (I just read this article by Merrill Markoe, which may explain why it works). I will probably always avoid writing to some extent – I think it’s just human nature that if you know you have to do something, you’ll do all you can to put it off – but getting it out of the way early seems to be the key. Then you have the day free to be a parent, plus you also get to feel smug that your writing is done. Win-win.”