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Writing While Taking Care of Kids
by Mary Ann Kerl

Wow! Have I been busy the last nine days. I have been writing and taking care of my two-year-old grandson.

The experience made me realize how busy I was when my two boys were growing up.  I wrote then too. In fact, thats when I began my freelance career. The experience reminded me of how I managed to write and sell on a consistent basis while I cared for preschoolers.  Anyone taking care of children can do the same.

A lot of Moms can find these ideas helpful. Or even Dads. Todays society features some stay-at-home fathers.  The point is, any writer who takes care of children can incorporate these ideas into her or his busy schedule and get some writing done at the same time!

  1. Take advantage of your situation and write what you know.

If you are with preschoolers every day, there are a lot of writing markets to pursue: childrens magazines and/or childrens book publishers, parenting magazines and/or parenting books; general books featuring time management subjects, etc. The list is endless.

  1. Observe your children.

I use to have a notebook just for the things my two sons said. Their conversations were sometimes funny and sometimes serious. Either way, often their bits of dialog were important enough for me to stop what I was doing, grab a little notebook especially for such occasions and write down what they said.

So many of these conversations ended up in publications that one day my son, eight-years-old at the time, said, Mom, I just cant believe Im in all your stories.  He was thrilled!  That reminds me.  For articles that feature  your childrens pictures, grandparents go ballistic.  One time my mother-in-law bought a dozen issues of the same magazine.  When the clerk was curious and asked why, my mother-in-law proudly opened the magazine and showed the clerk her grandchildren.

  1. Occasionally throw a party for your childrens friends and let them help you write a childrens short story or book.

My sons loved it when I did this.  I would make a big batch of popcorn and we would get comfortable, seated in a circle in the living room.  Then one by one I would go around the circle and have the kids give me ideas.  Im not sure but I think I would be pretty safe in saying all of those stories eventually got published.  What an easy way to write childrens stories and entertain your kids at the same time.  Another way I entertained my children and write was to make original crafts that we designed together and then, when they went to bed at night, I wrote the articles and sold them.

  1. Before you send off your story, make sure to read it to the children afterwards to get their feedback.

I know a Sunday School teacher who read a Bible story she wrote to her class. Afterwards she asked what they thought. One kid summed it up in two words: It stinks!  Instead of the writer getting discouraged, she went home rewrote the story and read it again. This time the same kid said it was a winner.  The teacher sold the story. Today, she has written numerous pieces for Sunday School materials.

So, if you have kids underfoot, grab a pen and get started!  Try one or more of our ideas, and start selling to whatever market you chose!

© Copyright 2010, Mary Ann Kerl

A freelance writer, Mary Ann Kerl also teaches online communication courses for the University of Phoenix. Over 2,000 of her articles and short stories have appeared in over 100 different publications, including Writer's Digest, The Writer, Family Circle, Home Life, Children's Digest and others. She sold 16 books to royalty companies, including Augsburg Fortress. Her latest book is Devoted to Economizing with Devoted Books.

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