Making Room for Writing While Mothering

I have read many excellent books and blogs about biblical motherhood and the call to sacrifice. Mothering is great sacrifice and requires much of us. This I do not doubt. In fact, this I know to be true. Over the years, I have learned that God gifts us with specific bents in order to be used by Him. These gifts are not to be used in place of our role as mothers, but rather in conjunction with it.

Writing is a fine example. As one who has loved writing since my youth, there was a large void when I allowed the craft to slip for several years. Reading books on biblical mothering poured heavy guilt on me for even considering such endeavors. After all, it's considered selfish if you exercise a gift, especially if you also enjoy it.

Might I offer a different perspective? When managed well, both can be done.

Writing is a gift for me, my family, and anyone else God sees fit to be encouraged by it. It offers me a great release that no other activity can offer me. Nothing else has quite the same satisfaction and refreshing as writing does.

Writing is woven throughout the woman God created me to be. It’s an expression of Him–an extension of His likeness, coupled with my identity in Him.

So, how do I make room for writing while I am mothering 5 children?

In Rumors of Water, L.L. Barkat says,

"Writing starts with living. Living starts with somebody caring so much about something that they need to drag you out of your writing chair and take you where you'll be surprised to find your words."

Writing happens alongside your life as a wife and mother, not in place of it. Just as we help nurture our children's gifts and talents, we can also nurture ours. Writing becomes woven within the ministry of living.

Write with what you have. Grab a moleskin or two, keep one close and scribble an idea, a quote, a problem, a story. Record your moments and use them later.

The key to stringing words together is to carve out bits of time throughout your day. Perhaps you can get up early and focus 30 minutes on making sense of your previously recorded notes. How about an afternoon quite time? Sneak in another half hour in the evening, and you've etched 90 minutes of writing into your day.

But be careful of your motives. Writing may be of use to you, but it can't be only about you. Is your writing solely self-serving, or does it represent a greater need?

Writing is a wonderful gift if it is being used for the glory of God. If you use it for your own glory, it will probably never fully satisfy. In addition, you may be likely to spend more time on it then you currently possess as a mother raising children. When disciplining our children or playing with them is regularly pushed aside to pursue writing, that's a problem.

Writing is a gift and with that comes a great responsibility to care for it as God intended.

What Works for Me

  • I roughly sketch my posts out in mind-map form on a legal pad. I write down my thoughts and connect them accordingly. This really helps me organize my thinking and know how to order my writing when I create a post. Without this step, I struggle much more with my ideas and it takes much longer.
  • I then wait for a time when it is quiet so that I can connect my thoughts into something that makes sense. Typically this happens in the evening. But most of my writing takes place on Friday nights at Starbucks. I spend 2-3 hours there writing as long as I can.
  • I edit the posts at home when I find holes of time; fifteen minutes here, fifteen minutes there
  • If I'm working on an additional project, I spend some time in the evenings adding to that.

One thing I find extremely useful is to make goals for myself. If I have a time limit, I will focus on a specific writing project {or post} for that specified time - say 15 or 30 minutes. Or I will give myself a word limit to hit: 200 words or 500 words. I have found this to be very effective.

 In the End

In the end, what it really all comes down to is time management. We all do different things within our mothering duties. Some watch TV and others read {and reading is good for writers}! If you truly desire to write, don't sacrifice your mothering responsibilities or homemaking duties. Sacrifice something such as the television. Save time browsing and clicking aimlessly on the Internet. You'd be surprised how much time is wasted link hopping!

What challenge do you face with trying to {or wanting to} write within the responsibilities of mothering and home keeping?

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