Thursday, October 11, 2012

Moving to Planet Motherhood

This week, Writer Abroad hit a big milestone: her daughter’s first birthday.

The birth of a baby is a little like moving to another country. As a mother, you experience a similar culture shock. You don’t know the language—what does this cry mean versus that cry? You have to get used to a new identity—mom? Am I really a mom? You have to get used to a new time zone and a general jet-lagged state. And in general, you feel like you’ve been dropped on another planet where you don’t know how anything works.

In other words, Planet Motherhood is the perfect place to be as a writer.

Writers move abroad all the time for inspiration. Take it from Writer Abroad: moving to Planet Motherhood is a similar experience. And contrary to popular belief, you can be a writer and a new mother. Yes, you are in another world, on another planet, but this is a good thing. And you can adapt your writing habits to fit this new culture.


You have to take naptime and use it for all it’s worth. You can’t wait to be inspired. You can’t sit around and “warm up” to writing. You can’t wait until you feel rested. You just have to sit down and write.

Sure, Writer Abroad didn’t get as much writing done in the last year as she would have without moving to Planet Motherhood. But in case you’re still skeptical, here’s what she did manage to get done in the last year:

-Work three days a week as a copywriter (after maternity leave, of course)
-Continue her two blogs
-Complete one travel writing assignment for an in-flight magazine
-Write a 30,000-word journal about her daughter’s first year
-Write two new personal essays and receive 10 rejections from magazines 
-Add about 20,000 words to the first draft of her novel
-Finish one last revision of her 92,000-word memoir about living in Switzerland
-Organize a spring writing workshop in Zurich

So you see, this new planet called Motherhood isn’t bad place for writing. It’s just different. And like any culture shock, you learn to adapt and become that much of a better writer for it.

If you’ve moved to Planet Motherhood, how did it change your writing?


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