Tag Archives: children

Your baby may be your best critique partner

I’m currently swimming in pages as I’m hard at work revising my WIP; it’s a YA paranormal (and no it doesn’t involve vampires.) I wrote this story a while back but now I’m revising while taking care of my 4-month-old son. I also have a 5-year-old daughter but I’m constantly amazed at how much I forgot about being a parent to a baby. For the purposes of this blog I’m only going to keep my findings to how my baby impacts my writing. I’m sure there’s a slew of amazing parenting blogs to check out. As far as my writing goes my baby has made a most positive impact.

No I’m not crazy. Babies are time consuming. However, babies are also a great sounding board. I’ve just finished reading through my entire WIP and there is this one crucial part towards the beginning that just doesn’t seem right to me. It’s a dialogue sequence and it seems forced yet the info is important. I know people preach about how great it is to read aloud but this has never worked for me. I’ve tried it and I either get distracted or feel stupid. I think I like to read how I normally read, which is playing the scene out in my head. However, now I have the perfect listener who doesn’t interrupt me and smiles at everything I say! Yep, babies are awesome.

One of the reasons I write is because of my children. I love stories and I have wonderful stories in my head so I write for my children. I write upper middle grade and YA so currently these stories aren’t being read by my kindergartener or my 4-month-old but one day they will be. For now though I can read to my baby and at the very least it will help me get this dialogue section to flow. Now reading to a 5 year old I do NOT recommend. After every sentence I hear, “why?” Yes that may be a valid question and a question that can often help our writing but a YA character’s motivations are clearly out of the comprehension of a kindergartener so this only brings me frustration.

Do you read to your baby? Does it help you?

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How I’m remembering September 11 with my toddler

Most of us can recall with great detail where we were twelve years ago today. On September 11, 2001 the unimaginable happened – America was attacked. Everyday normal people were killed and just like that the world got a lot scarier. Something I’d never feared before became reality and the fear alone was enough to empower those who planned the attack. Almost but not enough. We’re still strong and we’ll never forget.

patriotic cookiesNow as a mom, I face a new sadness each 9/11. On top of remembering the tragic events of that day I’m faced with the dilemma on how to handle this topic in front of my three year old. Of course she’s too young to watch the footage of the tower or to really be told what happened. Instead we celebrate America by singing songs, reading patriotic quotes and decorating cookies in red, white and blue frosting. Rather than talk about what happened we celebrate America’s strength and those who fight each day for our freedom. I’m sure to hug my daughter a little tighter thinking of the children that hugged their parents for the last time that fateful morning.

We’ll approach each September 11 differently depending on her age and maturity. Someday I’ll have to have the difficult conversation about what happened but until then I do prefer to keep her innocent and free of such fears for a little longer.

Before 9/11 I had never been afraid of an attack on American soil. I was a senior in high school when I learned how evil can truly strike anywhere. My daughter will not grow up with such innocence. She’ll study and know about the events of September 11, 2001 long before high school. We won’t shield her from our nation’s darkest hour or the news of terror plots reported on the evening news. She’ll grow up in a scarier world than I did and that fact is sometimes more troubling to me than looking back on that day.

Our nation was changed but it’s the loss of childhood innocence that is the real crime. How do you handle the topic of September 11 with your children?

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Why my daughter thinks all phones are cameras

Baby Markey has a toy kitchen. It’s a great toy and she loves to “cook” family meals. The other morning she was “making” some scrambled eggs while talking on the play phone. She put her play conversation on hold and said, “just minute, need to take pictures.” She began taking play pictures with the phone of her play food. She believed that this play phone was also a camera and it got me thinking how different her generation will be from mine. April 10 blog

Today smart phones can practically run our lives. I do have an actual camera in addition to my iPhone but honestly most of my pictures are taken by my iPhone as I’m caught in the moment. It’s easy to see how my toddler will assume that cameras and phones are the same item just used for different purposes.

I also worry about my daughter’s generation when it comes to books. Now I love my iPad and ibooks. It’s easier for travel and to carry around and it definitely solves the problem of my overflowing bookcases. However, I still love holding an actual book and getting lost in its pages. I once saw a Good Morning America story that showed toddlers holding magazines and tapping the pictures expecting something to happen like a graphic from an app.

My daughter plays with apps but I will not purchase her ebooks. I want her to hold her books and turn the physical pages. Technology is great but I really often worry about how it is changing younger generations. I remember life without email, apps and that nagging feeling I now have to constantly be connected to my world.

I’m not saying that kids should avoid technology or that technology is bad but it is interesting when it starts to change the perceptive usage of a toy to a child.

Have you seen similar acts from your child that you can trace to modern technology? Do you set a limit on computer or iPad time for your child?

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How to tap into your child’s endless energy

How many of us look at our children and wish we had that kind of energy? I asked this question probably on an hourly basis for the first year of my daughter’s life. The truth is, I discovered that her energy is contagious. I mean this in the best way possible. Of course, as a moBahrain beach 2m almost all of my working breaks are spent with her.

It’s so much fun to see the world through her eyes. From her point of view the world is full of endless possibilities. Everything is shiny and new and a new toy can make anything better. I love seeing her excitement for life and all it brings. It is easy to lose sight of this. I know I’m guilty of not noticing the small miracles at work around us each day because I’m pushing to reach a writing quota.

Spending time with my now two-year-old makes me notice the little things in life. I laugh more and I’m much more active. This combination of happiness and getting your blood flowing is the key to finding energy even when you are physically and emotionally drained. At least that has been my experience.

One of my worries when I had my daughter was how I would be the mom I wanted to be while following my professional dreams. I truly believe that people find a way to make something happen if they really want it.

If you’re a working mom or dad struggling to get it all done, sometimes getting some good quality time in with your child is better than that third cup of coffee.

Where do you find your energy source? Do you also find it in your children or do you look elsewhere such as in nature?

Don’t forget to check out my popular “Writing Moms (and Dads)” WANA International workshop happening in March. See details below:

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Online Workshop
Date: March 4th, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Description: Plot, character arc, transitions, climax, revise, rewrite, make that deadline, blog, check social media sites, continued education, volunteer for local writing group, read critique partners manuscript, research agents/publishers, read books within your genre, read a craft book and network. These are ALL things that go through writers’ minds on any given day. But what if you had to add: Make bottles, keep up with diaper/Gerber/ formula supplies, feed baby, play dates, bathe baby, wipe up thrown sweet potatoes, shower to get sweet potatoes out of your hair, more playtime, hope for a naptime (for baby, you must write,) read to baby, and hope baby actually goes to bed at the designated time.
For many writers, this is reality. In fact, many full-time writers are made because of a child being born. Some amazing mothers write late at night, around their day job. However you do it, being a writing parent is a challenge but very doable and rewarding. Learn easy self study tactics, time management tips and suggestions from a ten-year freelance journalist, published author and speaker who also has a two-year-old daughter and a high maintenance dog. You can have it all without losing your mind.
Register HERE

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Personal Consultation
Dates: March 4, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Length: Two 45 min. phone consultations. The first consultation will be within the first week of the four-week Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop. The second will be scheduled prior to completing the workshop.
Description: Take what you learn from the Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop and get one-on-one guidance on developing the best plan for making you a smarter writer. The first consultation will be a detailed interview followed by a discussion of time constraints. The second will be about developing the best plan for you based off your first consultation discussions. You will also get personalized methods for implementing, testing and carrying out your plan.
Register HERE

Ok…you’ve read this far so here’s a treat. If you sign up for at least one day of WANACon then you will get my March Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop for a discounted rate. Please email me at NatalieCMarkey@gmail.com if you qualify.

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