How Does a Mother of 5 Find Time to Write?

I met Darah Zeledon, the Warrior Mom, through one of the LinkedIn groups for writers that she and I both belong to. She’d posted an essay she’d written; I loved it, so I contacted her to tell her so.

Since then, we’ve become fast online friends. We seem to share a similar high-energy enthusiasm and intensity. Having hit it off so happily, we’ve committed to buddy up to help each other further our creative writing plans.

When I learned that Darah, the mother of 5 (gorgeous) young children, has pumped out 25,000 words of her memoir, I asked if she’d be willing to reveal her work schedule. What follows is the first part of my interview with her. And if you click on the links, you’ll be able to read samples of her essay writing.

Do you write every day?
I aim to. At the very least, I’ll jot down ideas by putting pen to paper while on the go with my kids. My writing habits are far from exemplar. In fact, my system is rather dysfunctional; would probably be counterproductive for most writers. I write in short intense intervals of about twenty minutes—essentially the length of my two toddlers’ attention span. I probably squeeze in a total of 80 minutes a day using this “technique.”

With your family responsibilities, how on earth do you find time to write?
I have 5 “spirited and dynamic” children that range from ages 9 to 2 years old. The youngest two, ages 4 and 2 are home with me 24/7. At 2pm we fetch the rest of the pack from school and from that time on, it’s madness as they all ruthlessly compete for my attention. And about 7pm, my loving, medium-maintenance, Latin-hubby strolls through the door and expects to spend time with his wife. I have no down time, no “me time.” Every waking moment is consumed with someone demanding my undivided attention. I write frequently about this mayhem and how I attempt to manage it all. [“See Girls Night Out: It’s Not What You Think.”]

Check back for the next part of Darah’s interview on shoe-horning time into the day to write, even if you have 5 young kids and a “high maintenance” husband.

And check out her blog, The Warrior Mom.

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7 thoughts on “How Does a Mother of 5 Find Time to Write?

  1. Dear Lynette,

    What a great interview of Darah! Like you, I am a great admirer of Darah. You can find my tweets at @moniquehigh; I have taught writing at UCLA and at my own seminars, and been a literary agent. I’ve also published seven of my own books. I can’t wait for Darah’s memoir to come out. She is full of wisdom delivered with humor and ingenuity. Thank you for your own work and for exposing her!

    Brava to both of you!
    Monique Raphel High

  2. I love Darah’s writing (and her contributions to SaneMoms!) and am utterly impressed with her ability to fit writing in around 5 kids. Making the most of those 20 minute bursts is something I need to learn, I get stuck in thinking that I need an uninterrupted hour to crank anything out. That’s SO not happening at this stage of my parenting either, until after they’re all in bed and I’m exhausted. Looking forward to round two of her story …

  3. Sounds hectic, but hey, if this system works for her, great. I would imagine she’d have to hyper-focus and really zone in for those 20 min. intervals and block everything out in order to churn out anything of value. Personally, I prefer and appreciate now more than ever, my “traditional” method of peace and quiet—just me and my computer.

  4. I am really impressed with Darah’s writing and the wit and humor she expresses – a little reminiscent of the wonderful Erma Bombeck!! Kudos to her for finding the time and ENERGY for sharing such relevant and enjoyable thoughts with us all. I hope to be reading and learning a lot more about this special lady!!

  5. That is one busy lady. Really enjoyed the peek into
    The life of a mother of 5! Having just one child, even though
    She’s autistic, is hard especially when I’m writing!

    CJ xx

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