Becca: What was your writing routine before having kids?
Brittney: I married young and had my boys young. I was only 19 when we tied the knot. I had my first son a month before my 21st birthday and second son just after I turned 23. I honestly didn’t have a writing routine before I had kids. I had school assignments and sporadic bursts of creativity that I consider more of an outlet than writing for a finished product. Then I had the first taste of grown-up freedom and lost the urge for a while.
Becca: How did that change after having kids?
Brittney: I started getting “serious” about writing when my husband went to Iraq as a civilian contractor in 2005. I was telling my boys a continuing story every night involving a very small dragon. They started wanting those stories repeated so I started writing them down. Then I started illustrating the stories for them. The whole thing evolved into a self-published children’s book. That led into another book, and another, and another until I had four children’s books for a variety of ages and reasons. Next was a perpetual planner based on a blog I had going. By that time, the boys were older so I was balancing the niceness of children’s books (and the interesting challenges of being the mother of teenaged boys) with some feistier work under a pen name.
Becca: How is your writing itself influenced by having kids?
Brittney: I think I’ve always written for my kids. I write stories to help them build a better world even when I am writing a world that I would not want to live in. I believe that stories are the blueprints that we give our children so that they can build their world based on the lessons they learn from what they read. Even at my pen name’s worst, I try to write in a path to a better future. If I hadn’t had children, I’m not sure that I would recognize how important that is to include. I also try to write things that my grown sons can be proud to say their mother created. I don’t necessarily mean the story. They will never get into some of the plots. Still, I try to make the writing solid so they can recommend my books because they think someone will like them and not just because I’m their mom.
Becca: What advice do you have for parents of young kids who want to write?
Brittney: Do it! That doesn’t mean you have to turn it into a job or your career although you definitely can if that is what you want to do. But embracing writing because you love it shows your kids to embrace their own passions. Writing helps you express your joys and your fears. It is an awesome outlet and it can help you work your way to answers when you need them the most. It helps build your foundation stronger. Your children will benefit from the experience of watching you grow as an adult. Share your love of writing with them. Write something just for them even if it isn’t what you would normally write – maybe especially if it isn’t what you would normally write. Let your writing build another bond with your kids. If you’re worried about a writing schedule with the demands you have as a parent, don’t worry about keeping up with a word count or amount of writing time until your demands lighten and more time for yourself appears. Write when you can and for as long as you can. Find YOUR way.