A Balancing Act: Mother and Writer

            How to Begin a Freelance Writing Career at Home When You're a Mom

            You love your kids and you love to write. How can you do both?

Whether you have small children, middle-sized children, or big children – moms have a lot on their plates. We’re great at multi-tasking but usually it is for others and not ourselves. 

I’ve been a mom for 30 years and counting. With a 17 and 11 year old at home (and homeschooled) and my tendency to write only when inspired, I’ve learned it is imperative to work consistently if I am going to have a home-based, freelance writing career.

Once you have made the decision to be purposeful in your writing and have identified your yearly goals and weekly objectives, here are some tips for busy moms:
  • ·   Scheduling
There’s no doubt that the kiddos come first. But that doesn’t mean you cannot find time to write. Even very young children can learn to respect mom’s time. Of course, life happens and there may be interruptions to work around. But if you do not have a designated time scheduled for writing every day, it won’t happen. You have to have a target to aim at or you will not hit it.
  • Space
You need a writing space. That doesn’t mean you can’t sit on the couch with your laptop while the children are nearby. But your writing space will be one spot to keep your supplies and a place to go when you sit down at your designated time. It also makes you feel more professional. I fit a small desk in my bedroom. It immediately took my writing from casual blogging to writing magazine articles with a purpose. 

  • System
If you don’t buy the groceries this week you won’t be preparing any meals! Rarely do things go well when it’s hit or miss. This was my difficulty. I am very organized and efficient when it comes to managing my home but the writing kept falling through the cracks. That's because I only wrote when inspired. I learned if I sat down at my designated time, inspiration would come.

Choose certain days for specific tasks. For example, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I check the freelance job boards for assignments and apply. Once a week I write an article and submit it to the 3 magazines I'm interested in. Twice a week I research various topics I need to learn such as keywords, driving traffic to my site, etc. The internet is bursting with free courses!

I also bought a composition notebook and keep a "diary" of my daily writing accomplishments. It really helped me stay encouraged when I had an off week due to sickness, interruptions, and appointments.
  • Sanity
Let’s face it, moms are in demand! Yet, it’s alright to communicate to family and friends that you are unavailable when you’re working from home. 

If your children are very young and an hour a day is all you can manage, make that hour count. Plan on writing in the morning before the children are up, during naps, or after they go to bed. Or provide a quiet activity for your children while you write.  If your children go to school then designate 2-4 hours each day and stick with it. 

If you don’t treat your freelance writing seriously, no one else will. It’s a business that will provide an income and that’s serious stuff.
  • ·  Successful
Since joining an online writing group, I have learned to believe I can have a freelance writing business from home.  If you are a stay-at-home mom, you are used to working and not getting a paycheck. To think you can actually get paid for a writing assignment or publishing a book seems out of reach. 

I’ve got great news for you: it is within your reach.

However, it’s going to take patience and work. Don’t discount submitting one magazine article each week to an article directory or taking a resume writing course and begin offering resume writing services – it all counts. Just keep plugging away and don’t give up. 

Even if you have a goal of writing a book or a becoming a regular contributor to a magazine, you have to start somewhere. Dream big, but don’t forget to make it happen with earning money from writing projects that will help develop your platform, develop your writing skills, and get you where you want to go.

Do you have any ideas to add? Please share them!


Kathleen Moulton lives at the foothills of the beautiful Adirondack Mountains in Upstate NY. She is a 25 year veteran homeschooling mom, a member of the Working Writer’s Club, and monthly contributor to Heartbeat the Magazine. You can find her passion to encourage at "When it Hurts" - http://kathleenmoulton.com


Karen Cioffi said...

Kathleen, great tips on keeping writing an important aspect of your life, especially when you're a mom.

Kathleen Moulton said...

Thank-you, Karen. I suppose we can add grandmother to the list, too, but I'm not there yet!


Magdalena Ball said...

Great suggestions Kathleen. I'm afraid I do indeed sit on the couch with my laptap while the kids are nearby, but I totally agree that you need to teach them that some private space and time is essential for output. My kids respect my writing and even, sometimes, emulate (and surpass) me, so carving time in my schedule for writing hasn't hurt them a bit.

Kathleen Moulton said...

Magdalena, I often sit on the couch with my laptop, too. I think it's because we're used to multi-tasking.

That's really nice that your kids emulate you.

Thanks for your comment!


Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great tips on the balancing act of being a mom and a writer or mom and whatever else one wants to be.

Kathleen Moulton said...

Thanks, Mary!

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