1. You are a wife, mother, and soon-to-be published author—you wear so many hats! What does a typical day look like for you and your family?
I like to start out each day doing a downward dog before blending some fresh celery juice and smoking a pack of Marlboro Lights.
Jk, I’m not a morning person.
Our days are very basic stay-at-home-mom life. School drop offs, Costco, friend meet ups, dishes, laundry, ballet class, etc. I do write 2-3 days a week away from home in a local Starbucks. I pay for the babysitting out of my own pocket with money I earn from side jobs. Basically, I pay to write.
2. Have you always identified as a writer, or is this a creative skill you developed later in life?
On the last day of second grade, my teacher knelt down and told me I would be a writer someday. I carried that with me through grade school, high school, and college. I majored in English and have been writing most of my adult life.
3. In your most full or challenging seasons, how have you still managed to create?
Paying a babysitter and leaving the house. I tried to find ways around this. There is no other way.
4. How are you seeing the fruit of your creative work blooming now from seeds that you planted long ago?
That’s a great question. Putting myself out there was a big first step. I made a little hacky blog eight years ago and tried to be as honest as I could. From there I built an audience and eventually landed a viral Huffington Post piece and agent. The best thing you can do for yourself is write often, accept that not everything you write will be amazing, and avoid letting fear dictate your work. Also: buy your domain name right away.
5. What inspires you: as a wife, mom, and artist?
The most inspiring people to me as an artist are the risk takers. Folks going against the norm and putting out books, movies, music, photography, etc. unlike anything else. You can think whatever you want about Lena Dunham as a person, but her show Girls is an incredible example of original television. I seek the same boldness in books (Margaret Atwood! Aimee Bender! Lauren Groff!), movies, and even in my Instagram feed. I’m a little more of a basic b when it comes to music. I love John Mayer.
As far as motherhood goes, I recently read Michelle Obama’s book Becoming and was really inspired by Michelle’s mom. She was a no nonsense and no drama figure in Michelle’s life while also being her number one encourager and advocate. Really incredible.
6. Do you have any favorite resources that you’d recommend to fellow creatives?
It’s a tired recommendation, but I really do advise any aspiring writers to read and follow Anne Lamott. Other than that, books on writing are pretty useless. I know people love Big Magic. I own it. I liked it. But most books like that are just another way to avoid working on your craft. For writers, the best resource is reading books of all genres as much as possible. There is no way around this.
Oh, I also enjoy Mary Karr on Twitter. She puts out some great tips.
7. Do you have a scripture, word, or mantra that guides your work?
Words are not precious. Trying to write something with the idea that it needs to be the next big thing is a soul killer. Take the expectation out of it. Do the best you can and know it may be mediocre. Do better next time!
8. How do you believe motherhood and creative work complement one another?
Motherhood opens a world of emotional depth that can be used to retell human experience. It is a great resource.
9. Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel and quit? How did you fight past that feeling?
I’ve never met another creative person who doesn’t experience that feeling on a regular basis. It’s just part of the job. Those who succeed are able to find a way to push past it. For me it involves finding similar people to commiserate with while also learning how to sit with those feelings and then let them go.
10. If you could tell moms who long to create as they raise little ones a word of advice or encouragement, what would it be?
Advocate for yourself in your home, in your marriage, and with your kids. This is an integral part of the process if you ever expect to get real work done. If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you need to first take yourself seriously. Work time is work time. It’s not something you can do in between changing a diaper and putting dinner in the oven. I learned this the hard way after a lot of resentment and unhappiness. Mother’s guilt is a real thing. Get a therapist or just skip it and get a babysitter. There is so much joy and fulfillment on the other side.