Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
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A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire...


On Raising a Writer

It's an odd thing to see a girl of three working to become a writer. Odd but not impossible. To write as a mother is to seek the time your ninja children are tucked away in corners of the house safe from harm and well away from you. It's why I rise at 4 a.m., before the sun and rest of humanity. Darkness is my cover. And yet, a deadline is a deadline for a reason and will wait for neither nap nor night. This is how I caught myself, one early evening in the shrinking space between dinner and goodnights, hiding with my laptop in the bedroom. Predictably, my daughter broke from the herd and found me. Who am I to deny a girl a break from the boys? Under oath that she remain quiet, she sat silent for three solid ticking seconds before the inevitable.

Her: "What are you doing?"

Me: "Writing."

Her: "Writing what?"

Me: "A story."

Her: "About what?"

Me: "A girl who could be silent longer than any other girl in the kingdom."

Her: Silence. A beat. "That's not a very good story. Tell me another one."

Me: "No, you tell me."

And so, it began. We have our writing sessions, she and I. She sits with her Crayola of choice, scribbling in color what cannot be put into words. How can you be a writer if you cannot yet read or write? This is how: You tell a story to yourself no one has ever told. And you keep talking even when no one is listening. I catch her, whispering words like a little hobgoblin casting spells. The narration is rambling and riddled with minefields of emotion. Sometimes she brings herself to tears.

Now I'm not foolish enough to claim this career for her. She's just a kid, pretending. But is that not what all writers are as we weave thoughts into words into plots peopled with our own psyche? Aren't we just kids making up hundreds of stories in our heads, only a fraction of which end up on paper? In the end, raising a writer and being a writer are not that different. You just keep pretending.


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 so readers can learn more about you and your projects.

Jamie Sumner has written for the Washington Post,  Scary Mommy, Parenting Special Needs Magazine and others. She is the author of the book, Unbound: Finding Freedom from Unrealistic Expectations of Motherhood. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and three children. She is a reviews editor for Literary Mama.

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Beautifully said and oh so true. We should never stop pretending. Dreaming. Writing.
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