Juggling writing with motherhood - Liz Madrid

13 May 2015 / Leave a Comment

Our first writing mother featured in our 'Juggling writing with motherhood series' is Liz Madrid. She writes contemporary new adult as well as paranormal fiction and her novel Loving Ashe has had over a million reads on Wattpad in less than six months!  Liz suggests that writing mothers set up a schedule to write each day and that they also find balance outside of the family to recharge those writing batteries ...

How do you juggle your writing time with being a mother?
I’m still trying to find the balance in that. I have a 5-year old boy who’s on the spectrum and he’s about to start kindergarten in a few months. But first, there’s summer and because I’m not enrolling him in a summer program, it’s just going to be us and maybe some play dates with other parents and their children.

The days when he’s in school 3 hours a week, I write like a madwoman during those times on my laptop, as well as first thing in the morning before he wakes up, and late, late at night when everyone is asleep - you could say that I’m sleep-deprived. I also have learned to write on my iPhone. I used to write on my iPad but ever since I got the 6 plus, it’s like I’m attached to the hip with it. But I write my ideas on there and even record myself with text to speech apps and podcast apps while I’m driving, just so I don’t lose my ideas by the time I get to sit in front of the computer. I also keep a journal.

I even bought a used Neo2 keyboard writing thingie that basically just allows you to type your story, no connectivity to the internet - just write. Afterwards, you hook it up to your laptop, turn on your word processing software and your laptop recognizes it as an external keyboard and types out whatever you want to import into it. Anything for the story!

How is your writing viewed by others in your household?
They tolerate it; they’re not hot about it at all. There’s nothing they can do about it - I’m going to write no matter what they say. There’s some bitterness, I’m sure, especially when things don’t get done around the house because I just did a word sprint of 5K words in one day and laundry wasn’t done for the day. My mother still hopes that I’d choose art one day - portraiture, because she thinks it’s my calling and I can make more money doing it - over writing. She doesn’t get the writing part even though I got my love of books from her. The rest of my family just tolerates it.

I know my in-laws don’t understand it, though when my sister-in-law found out that I was letting go of my teaching position (part time) so I could write more, she was very supportive about it and actually just read 50 Shades of Gray and had to admit that she never knew such books existed. She did bring up an important point - why aren’t there any stories about middle-age women? Love stories in the midst of having work, kids and the PTA. She said that it seems that we’re all invisible and no one wants to accept that middle-aged women have sex lives too. That’s actually an excellent question right there. Maybe there’s a market.

What do you think are the main challenges for writing mothers?
Time. With a spouse and children, time isn’t always there for you to do whatever it is you want. I read a poem once penned by a man about why there are more Pulitzer Prize winning males than females and he wrote that men didn’t have to kiss boo-boos, make dinner and attend PTA meetings. I wish I could find that poem again because I sure will frame it. Not that it’s impossible. I am in awe of women who manage to do it though. It’s just that I’m so disorganized.

Not feeling guilty over writing. I feel guilty whenever I write. When the husband comes home and the house is still a mess and toys are all over the place, whatever I just wrote - 500 or 5,000 words become a non-achievement because I didn’t do what I was “supposed” to do around the house. Maybe it’s just me, but all it takes is a look and I’m back to square one and wishing I could rewind the day and clean the house, do the laundry, pick up after the kid - but at the same time, I don’t want to give up that story. There have been many days - and there still are - where I want to just give up writing and be that perfect mother. I may be unhappy, but look, I’m perfect. But then I think to myself, whose life am I really living? What if there is no other life to live, no reincarnation? And the words died with me? Sorry for being depressing, but the guilt has truly become part and parcel of every story I write, no matter how awesome it may be.

What advice or tips would you give to other writing mothers?
Don’t be too hard on yourself like I am! Set up a schedule and write, even if it’s just 100 words a day or 1,000. Maybe sit with your family and tell them just how important it is for you to have YOUR time, the time to write. Have them understand that maybe you’ll be successful at it, but maybe you won’t, but at least everyone’s on the same page. Still, just to let them know what’s up. I’m not there yet, but I hope to get there eventually.

Find balance outside of the family. Hang out with friends, even if it’s just for a walk or a cup of coffee. I walk with a group of retired women once a week and it’s so refreshing to just be out and about with them. Hang out at the beach, or just out in nature. Writing is such a solitary activity and we’re mostly indoors, so being outdoors can definitely bring about a change emotionally, physically and subconsciously.

Tell us about your latest book and why you'll one day be pleased for your children to read it.
Right now, I’m working on the second book of the Ashe and Riley trilogy. While the first book, Loving Ashe, is sweet, the second, Loving Riley, is a bit spicy - one where maybe I won’t be too pleased if my child would read it till he was older. Hopefully he’ll be into other types of literature though, not the new adult stuff his mother is writing. This year I’m making it a point to write and publish erotica (not under my name though) so my kid won’t be reading that!

I don’t actually want to pick any one of my books for my kid to read one day. I’d just like them to be pleased knowing that mom finally figured out what to do with her life and despite the challenges and the missed dinners and one too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, she went ahead and wrote anyway.

Visit: http://lizmadrid.com/

Also in the juggling writing with motherhood series: 
Tess Woods's debut novel Love At First Flight has just been published by HarperCollins Australia's Impulse. Her advice for other writing mothers is simple - get a good coffee machine, a cleaner and build a community of other writing mums around you! Read Tess Woods's responses here ...

Ericka Clay, author of recently published Unkept (Bannerwing Books), founder of TipsyLit and one of my favourite online writers and bloggers. She suggests that we embrace our imperfections and that writing mothers are almost oxymorons ... Read Ericka Clay's responses here ...


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