Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
After Page One: Writing Space

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A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire


Down, set, write


Writing is often portrayed as an isolating practice. One peppered with a mix of furious typing and prolonged thought. Just this morning I viewed the Facebook feed of a fellow writer, which included a view from his current writing space – it was remote and natural. The kind of place where the wind might whisper a story. Where characters might emerge from a cloud or wash up on the shore in a heap.

But this is not my practice. I share my office with three kids and a husband. On my desk right now, a plastic egg with glasses and several Lego people poised to do a Conga line. My soundtrack varies from SpongeBob to NFL Total Access. Did you know that there is an entire network dedicated to football even during the off season?

I get interrupted in five minute increments. To tie a shoelace, to get someone a drink. I typed nearly the entire final draft of my first novel with one finger, while the other hand supported the small body of my breastfeeding infant. I have written at 5:00 a.m. and midnight. I have spent hours writing only to produce one sentence. Sometimes I sit down to write but end up playing Facebook Scrabble or searching the Internet for cats that look like Wilfred Brimley.

There are times when characters pull me to the computer. Stored somewhere behind the hundreds of digital photos I’ve never gotten around to printing, they holler for me to write them. But I’m often pulled away by the characters in my own story. By their hands: big ones, tiny ones, dirty ones. Tapping, tugging, wanting food, help, attention. I write in my pajamas, I write in heels. I write in last night’s mascara, tomorrow’s soccer socks. And sometimes I have to write other stuff: checks, permissions, fitness programs. I am a mom, a wife, and a personal trainer. There is always stuff do. Legs to be lunged, mouths to be fed, grass to be cut, but I always find a way to write because I am also a writer and that’s what writers do. They write. And though my workspace will likely never be remote and natural like that of my aforementioned writer friend’s, it is still my space. All ten yards of it. Touchdown.


Ali is giving away one copy of Roost. Read the entry details here -- deadline to enter is September 11.


Join our After Page One series.  We’re looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we’d love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude.   The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll publish a short bio at the bottom of your post so readers can learn more about you and your projects


Ali Bryan is a personal trainer who grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and now lives in Calgary with her husband and three children. She was a finalist in the CBC Canada Writes literary contest for her essay “Asshole Homemaker” and a bronze medalist in the CBC literary triathlon. Her real name is Alexandra. Roost is her first novel.

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People always ask how I find time to write with working, two kids, husband, and a house to clean up, but it's what I've done since I was ten years old. It's part of who I am; it's how I cope. It's what helps me do everything else. It offers me the chance to reflect among the chaos.
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