Perhaps you've considered trying on a new hat--author.
Perhaps you've considered writing about being a mother. After all, how hard could that be? All you have to do is write down your most brilliant thoughts (and all the brilliant thoughts of your brilliant children) and voilá--instant best seller!
Ah, if only it were that easy.
Writing about kids is still writing. Your story needs a point of view, the characters all need arcs, there must be a beginning, middle and an end. That is, you need to go back to my post on craft and start studying. Even a non-fiction memoir has to have form and structure.
But suppose you don't have the brain cells for that just now, what with your lack of sleep and hanging out with tiny creatures who need all your attention?
Here's what you should do: write it all down. All of it. Write letters. Write essays. Keep journals. Make a blog. Think of these difficult, fraught years as a time to gather material. You'll be SO glad when your kids are a little older and you have everything written down. All that glorious material ready for you to shape into your masterpiece.
While you're gathering material, notice how it shapes into a point of view. What is the ONE thing that you want to say about mothering? The ideas will start to form.
For Battle Hymn of the Tiger Daughter, the memoir of raising my remarkable daughter, my ONE thought was this: you don't have to destroy childhood to raise extraordinary adults. That was it. ONE IDEA. The story arc was how I was intent on destroying my kids' childhoods in the service of "success" and how I was weaned of that dangerous notion by the values of Freud (awareness of the tyranny of the narcissistic mother) and America (pride in the rebel).
I had a point of view. I had a beginning, middle, and end. I had a character arc. I had something to say.
Only then was I able to write.
Next post: A case study--planning the mommy memoir.
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