Sunday, March 27, 2011

Writer Mama Starting Over Again

Hi Girlfriends,

I think it's quite funny that this cycle's theme is new beginnings, because that's exactly where I am in my life right now. I'm starting over. But it has nothing to do with my literary life, although it will definitely change the way I write. Girlfriends, I'm having a baby. Ten years after giving the birth the first time, I'm doing it again. Yes, there is another child in between the first and what will definitely be the last, but still, he was born almost seven years ago. For all intents and purposes, I feel like this is definitely going to be a new beginning. (Just as a side note: I can't believe all of the improvements and new gadgets there are for babies these days. A trip through the baby aisles at Target yesterday gave me a panic attack.)

While I would never say this baby was an accident, she wasn't exactly planned either. Suffice it to say, the hubby and I did not sit down and figure out exactly how a new baby would fit into our already hectic lives. My husband is in graduate school. I was planning on going on a whirlwind book tour this summer for Substitute Me. Considering I'll be bigger than a beached whale and on the verge of pushing this baby girl out, I can pretty much postpone those plans.

So, what am I going to do? How do I once again figure out how to marry my life as a writer, --which today we know also means my life as a non-stop publicist, promoter and social media whore -- with that of a new mother? After the birth of my first child, it took me an entire year to write one feature-length magazine article. I figured my writing career was over before it began. But then a funny thing happened. Once my son was a year old, sleeping through the night, on a semi-regular schedule, I started to fit the writing in during those nap times, after hours, or even while he played on his baby gym and I pretended to watch. If I'm being honest, I'll tell you that having kids actually made me into the super efficient writer I am today. Once my second son was born, I wrote three more books, a slew of magazine articles and a synopsis for a stage play that never made it out of my living room, but still.

My fingers are crossed that this child will be born knowing how much I love her, yet at the same time knowing how much I need her to be really keen on schedules. (Please!) Of course I know that it is entirely possible that because I actually need a really easy baby, I'll probably get a super fussy-won't sleep unless she's in a moving vehicle- needs to eat precisely every two hours for six months baby, but I kind of have a Plan B for that scenario. She comes with me on that whirlwind book tour. After all, Substitute Me is all about a working woman trying to find a perfect nanny. Won't having Baby X attached to my side make a great talking point for book groups? You think I'm kidding?

At the end of the day, I wouldn't change my life circumstances for the world. Since I was a little girl there have been two dreams that have been constant in my life; to be a writer and to be a mother. So far I've been able to do both and now I get a chance to try again. I couldn't be happier that this my new beginning.

(But just to calm my fears as a writer who's about to become a mother of three, I started googling writer mamas with three or more kids and I discovered, Jodi Piccolt, Jacqueline Mitchard and Sara Gruen all have at least three kids. If you want to make me feel better, let me know of any other three-kid author moms and/or if you are one of those yourself, how do you make it work? I'm so listening.)

Thanks, Girlfriends.


  1. I can list a couple that might help you... Jane Porter and Allison Brennan (who has 5). I have three myself with my third being a surprise (7 yrs between him and the oldest, 4 between youngest and his sister), although I'm still working out the kinks in my writing and am no where near the level of those ladies. However, my first published work was written while nursing my youngest. I've had most of my rights reverted and self-pubbed those now, but I'm hoping still hoping for that NYC contract as well. It's a juggling act with my youngest just turned 5, and my oldest at almost 12, but I wouldn't miss this act for anything in the world! Congratulations and best wishes on your new baby. :-)

  2. Anna Quindlen.

    Does that make you feel better?

    Good luck . . . and we're all here for you. Well, except for those 3 a.m. feedings.

  3. Congrats, Lori, and best wishes!
    Michelle beat me to it, but the first person I thought of was Allison Brennan -- mother of 5 and a NYT bestseller to boot. Also, Emily Giffin is mom to 3 kids, NYT bestsellers and a movie coming out soon ;).

  4. Congratulations, Lori! Juliette Fay lives in my neck of the woods, and know she has a house full of little ones. Her second novel just came out to terrific reviews!

  5. I'm so happy for you! You're getting your girl!

  6. Charlaine Harris has three! And raised them all while she juggled two mystery series and wrote DEAD UNTIL DARK, her first Sookie book (and look where that got her!). So go forth and, write! And congratulations on Baby Number Three!

  7. I have four boys and I know exactly what you mean about babies making you efficient. Writer's block? Pure luxury.
    My debut novel launches tomorrow!!

  8. Congratulations, Lori, to you and your future talking point!

  9. What wonderful news, Lori! I think babies make for good writing...yes, once you're sleeping throught the night! I just had my number 3 in October and mine are little and close together (4.5, almost 3 and five months). Nothing has made me use my time more efficiently and I'm glad for it. I know the value of an hour! Enjoy this renewal in your life!

  10. Congratulations! As noted above, there are so many writing mamas. And I also believe that it makes you way more efficient. Who has time to play Farmville when the kid will be waking up from her nap any second now. I say step up your internet marketing and figure out what you can do from home this summer. Also, check out Tiphanie Yanique. We did an NYC event together when she was like 8 months pregnant. So it can be done....

  11. OMG Girlfriends,

    Thank you for all of your ideas, well wishes and support. Even though I know writing and motherhood can go together, it helps to know how many others have done so, so successfully before me. Because you know my mother just keeps looking at me and going, "Why?"

    Yes, Skype visits will now be the way to go, and I did tour for my first book, Hair Story while hugely pregnant with my first son and after almost getting run over by a car while walking to a bookstore on a major highway because that's where the bus let us off, I swore I'd never do that again. But he did tour with me as soon as he was hatched. That child saw almost every university on the east coast before he was 6 months old.

  12. So happy for you, Lori! Your statement about how you didn't exactly plan the baby made me think of a friend's response to a question about if they'd planned to have a baby so soon after their first. The answer was, "We are now!" Funny how everything changes. Good luck. I'm sure you'll do wonderfully!

  13. Congratulations, Lori. I've got 3 boys, 10 years between the oldest and youngest, 7 years between the oldest and middle child. The answer to "How will I..." is you will. Take a deep breath and enjoy every minute of your changing life.

    You'll have new things to say.

    You'll decide what's important, which may be different than what is currently important, and you'll make choices.

    You'll surround yourself with people who encourage you, both as a mother and as a writer.

    You may be more efficient, but maybe not right away. And if you aren't, don't beat yourself up. Give yourself permission to be who you are in the space where you are, and to find your own way. I'm sure you'll get great tips from others to help you, like the one about Skype.