I’ve been writing since before my children were born. It’s not always easy for them to understand exactly it is that I do. When I taught, my job was pretty straight-forward: the three of us would drive to school together, I’d wave to them while they played at recess, I’d bring a pay check home.
Now, I’m working outside of the classroom. I’ve yet to make any money. I’ve yet to sell a book. I’m sure it’s a little confusing, to say the least.
My third grader keeps asking, “Why is everyone so excited you have an agent? You’ve been sending stories to publishers for a long time.”
Once, years ago, he asked me what story I was working on. When I told him, he answered, “Still? Aren’t you finished with that yet?”
So yes, I’ll spend years on the same book, and yes, I’ve been sending things to publishers for ages. Good observations there, Mister. The difference is now I hope to be getting somewhere with this fabulous new support system.
When I asked my first grader if he understood what an agent was, he told me “an agent helps with stories.” I thought this rather insightful for my squirrely guy.
To some extent, my boys get the fact I’m working, though not in the traditional way I used to. And even if they don’t understand everything I do, reading, writing, and publishing have become a part of our family conversation. They both love to write stories on stapled scrap paper or in notebooks they buy with their allowance. My third grader can’t decide if he’d like to be a scientist or an author someday. “You can do both, you know,” I tell him.
Maybe someday, when I sell something (sooner than later, right??), everything will make a little more sense around here. For now, though, I’m proud of my boys’ interest in stories, the way my husband praises my hardwork in their presence, and the conversations the process has brought about.
Kristen Torres-Toro says
I think it’s hard for people who aren’t writers to understand what we go through and how it all works. It’s hard for us to understand unless we are willing to learn about it and walk through it. It sounds like your family is really excited for you, though! That’s awesome!
Valerie Geary says
I loved this post! Getting anyone to understand how hard writers work is difficult, let alone getting young children to understand. And if you think about it, your third grader can be a point of motivation when he asks: “You’re not done yet?” Makes you want to lock yourself in your closet and get busy!! 🙂
Valerie Geary says
(And I meant to type office, but I was thinking about your cute closet/office and it came out as closet instead… :/ )
Corey Schwartz says
Aw, how sweet! My daughter can’t understand why she can’t illustrate my next book. After all, she is a very good artist! 🙂
Heidi Willis says
I love how my kids have learned about the writing process through me. They understand far better than I ever did about drafts and edits and agents and how a book doesn’t just magically appear on the bookshelf of a store just because you want it to.
My son wants to put my book cover on a T-shirt and wear it to school for advertisement. Soooo cute! But I have to remind him, it’s not exactly the kind of book 11 year olds want to read!
Anita Saxena says
Your kids sound cute. And I think its fantastic that they like to write. It’s great that you have your family’s support and they’ve embraced your pursuit of writing as well. Best of luck!
Christina Lee says
LOL–my five eyar old jsut thinks I’m at the computer all day or at my otehr desk making jew-well-ree 🙂
I enjoyed reading this post about how a writer’s life meshes with family life. I’ve thought that the 2 are independent, but really, I’m coming to believe, they can balance each other well.
I, too, have young children (four of ’em). Some of them want to be writers, others illustrators and our youngest? He’s just happy to have a clean diaper and someone to snuggle.
You are further ahead in the writing journey than I, and, as with other writers, I’m scribbling notes.
Shannon O'Donnell says
This post reminds me so much of my own family (minus the agent part). My kids don’t understand why they can’t buy my books yet for their friends – after all, I’m supposedly done writing them! 🙂 Like yours, my husband is wonderfully supportive, which helps more than I can believe sometimes.
Stephanie Thornton says
You can always trust kids to ask the tough questions, eh?
My daughter is only three so she doesn’t understand what I write. When I tell her I’m writing a story she asks me to tell her a story, usually one about a princess or the Three Little Pigs. Or both.
Lisa and Laura says
I think it’s wonderful that you have a family who is so supportive of your dreams! My hope is that since I’m following my dreams, my kids will follow suit, regardless of what they may be. And of course I hope they grow to love books as much as I do! I can’t wait to start reading Harry Potter out loud to them at night!
Jemi Fraser says
Good role models are crucial in kids’ development. You’re creating writers just by being a writer. Awesome 🙂
Sharon Mayhew says
Recently, I’ve heard several people say they should write a book. They can write better than anything they’ve read lately. I hold in my chuckle and my lecture about finding an agent or an editor, studying the market, doing your research, and networking.
My grandfather (89 years old) said that until I started writing and trying to get published he never thought about the work it takes to get published. Now he reads every short story he sees and recognizes the work that goes into getting it published.
Most people don’t have the will power to keep trying. You have to want it and be willing to work for it and…wait for it.