“By having children, I’ve both sabotaged and saved myself as a writer. […] With a child you certainly can’t be a Bruce Chatwin or a Hemingway, living the adventurer-writer life. No running with the bulls at Pamplona. If you value your relationships with your children, you can’t write about them. You have to make up other, less convincing children. There is also one’s inclination to be charming instead of presenting a grittier truth about the world. But then, having children has also made me this particular writer. Without my children, I’d have written with less fervor; I wouldn’t understand life in the same way. I’d write fewer comic scenes, which are the most challenging. I’d probably have become obsessively self-absorbed, or slacked off. Maybe I’d have become an alcoholic. Many of the writers I love most were alcoholics. I’ve made my choice, I sometimes think: Wonderful children instead of hard liquor.”
As for me, I agree with Louise Erdrich. I have two amazing daughters who are launched into the world at this point, but when I started writing they were still in middle school and high school. I was an 8 – 3 writer, except on holidays and summer vacations, and I was a single-mom, as well. I’d like to think writing actually made me a better mom because–then, as now–I feel at my most authentic when I write.
We writers will do what we have to do to get to write. What about you? Are you a writer, poet, painter or other creative-type with children? How has this limited or enhanced your craft?
P.S. I am an ex-shrink who writes award-winning novels. Check out my books here.