Friday, June 22, 2012

Writing with Children: Hint #3

If you can't beat 'em...join 'em.

Only, today I suggest it's the children who need to be doing the joining...not you, the writer.  I mean if writing is so exciting, then why aren't we including the children in our activities???

Because we want quiet time. Time to think. Aloooooone time. Um, folks? You have children. Leave the fantasy world to your imagination and books and look at the real world for a moment. Yeah, I's a little scary. But not so bad if you take a step back. *whoops, watch out for the--sorry, you okay?*

So, okay, sometimes it's a little noisy, but then I personally work better with a little noise.  Too little and my romance feels like a zombie apocalypse in waiting.


So how do I get them involved, You ask? They don't even WANT to write! Good grief, one of mine can't even hold their own pen. How do you suggest I get them to join me?

So. Glad. You. Asked.

  • Coloring books
  • Blank paper
  • Have them make their own book! using a $4 combination writing/illustration journal just for kids. 
  • Books on tape/cd. In fact, I've read some of my children's favorite books onto tape/cd so they could read along with MY voice (while I'm busy doing something else--like writing). 
  • Record your children reading their favorite book, then play it back to them. They're a STAR!!!
  • Teenagers can offer some remarkably good fodder. Especially if you're writing for them. It doesn't get any better than real life, folks. So, interview your teens.  You may be surprised by what you learn...and how eager they are to share (and not just because you may put it in your book). 
A little planning can go a long way into giving you the time you need to write. Plus we want our children to appreciate our talent, which means that we need to give them reminders of what it is we're doing and why (aside of being the awesome parent we are).

Books are awesome. Important. Just like our children. You CAN do both.

Happy Writing...with children.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Writing with Children: Hint #2

Karaoke machine. Trust me.

I was cleaning out my closet yesterday, a chore I had been dreading but couldn't put off seeing as how I  didn't have homework to...distract me anymore.  :)

I had actually gone looking for said object a few months back and couldn't find it. Go figure.  But yesterday's cleaning unearthed the "treasure" and the rest of the day was filled with music and....laughter.  Oh yes, lots of laughter.  There was choreography, duets, and moments where I thought my son was back (nope, just my beast of a daughter with a seriously low voice).

I learned who could sing and who couldn' the lyrics.  :)  You thought I was going to rat out my non-singers.  I can't, and not just because I love them. Proudly I don't have any non-singers.  Music has always been a big part of our lives and we've been blessed with pitch perfect children. :)  (okay, brag moment over)

So yeah, a Karaoke machine...and maybe some earphones. Because as occupied as they were yesterday, I was too distracted in listening to them (and laughing) to get any work done.  :)  We're on day two now and any moment we have some little friends coming over.  It's going to be a sing-songy day in the Adair home.

*pulls out earphones*

Happy Writing...with children.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Never Surrender

It's time to Surrender!  No, I'm not giving up. Except of course the occasional free time. But I'm no quitter, as you'll soon find out (if you're new to my blog and don't know me very well). It's the release of Surrender by Elana Johnson and in honor of her new book she has issued a call.

This is me answering it.  About a time I refused to give up on something, no matter what. And from what I hear, it's a pretty good story. And it's true. Every word.

It began 23 years ago when I started college. And ended last month when I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree. Finally. It was a long, hard road lined with a lot of boxed meals, but baby I kept going until I got to the end. And I brought my family with me. In fact, they're not only the reason I put my education on hold, but the very reason I finally finished it.

It started the night my husband and I got engaged, and the sad realization that there wasn't enough money for us to both attend school simultaneously. I offered to work to put him through school first, seeing as how I wanted to be a stay at home mom eventually anyway. ☺ He promised that I would one day get my degree.

Well, we had four children by the time he got his PhD in Chemical Engineering and I was pleased to have supported our family during that time using my well-honed typing skills (sadly for things other than writing) to work from home while raising our children. I was happy. Proud of myself. Yet always in the back of my mind was the dream of having time to write again…and going back to school.

Two weeks into our new state, new home and well paying job my husband says, "Okay, now it's your turn." I looked around at the moving boxes and listened to the screams from upstairs and laughed in his face.  I said, " I know what you're saying, but now’s not the time. I still haven’t finished unpacking!”

Fast forward two years and my life looked something like this.

  • With Child number 4 and 5 in tow I head off to college to register. I love my children but I NEED something more than diapers and Barney. Online classes are my new best friend.
  • Number 6 arrives shortly before my sister in law (and her young daughter) who will live with us while her husband is at army bootcamp. She wants to help out, so I decide to sign up for a semester course…crammed into two weeks. I attend class, nurse my six month old, study and sleep. I get an A. And my sister in law cooks the entire two weeks. I’m liking this going to school thing.
  • Child number 7 necessitates my taking a break. Not because she's difficult, but because I'm just too darn busy being Mom. :)
  • Two years later I’m back at school. The oldest are now big enough to help watch little ones and I’m taking face to face classes during the summer while everyone is watching cartoons. And Facebooking.
  • It takes 7 years for me to complete my Associates degree. We throw a party and celebrate this milestone. I decide to take a year off to write and to spend a little more time with my five year old—during which time my mother passes away. I hear her voice in my head that says, "Finish school."
  • Six months later my youngest is old enough to attend public school, so I go back. Full time. I’m done taking my time and there’s nothing to hold me back. Except that I have 7 children who still need me…but also a promise.
  • My husband drops everything in his personal life to help me study, fix dinners, and help kids with homework while I’m doing my own. I still try and be Mom, and sometimes succeed.
  • I ask my husband multiple times 'why I am doing this? My life is nothing but stress and more stress as I juggle so many roles.' He says, “You’re doing it so I can keep my promise to you.”
  • I buck up and get back to work. I get into the Creative Writing program on the first try.
  • I try and speed up my education by writing a Senior Honors Thesis in place of a minor. It’s also good practice considering I’m an English and Creative Writing major. I graduate Magna Cum Laude with a printed Honors Thesis ready to grace the University library. And my shelf. ☺ 
  • I finished my last two years in two years, thanks to the patience and love of my awesome family. They were all in the stands when I walked across the stage.
    I worked my butt off.  I slept very little.  And my husband kept his promise to help me succeed.  To never give up. Never surrender.

    Karen Adair
    Bachelor's in English/Creative Writing
    University of Houston
    May 2012

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    Writing with Children: Hint #1

    Juggling a passion for writing with a...passionate crowd can be a challenge indeed. But it CAN be done.

    Hint #1: Candy.

    This is the candy jar that sits on my desk. My desk that is conveniently located right next to the children's computers.  When they are at school my desk is quiet. When they come home we all work together, visit, and snack from Mom's candy jar.

    The kids used to complain that I was always at my computer. Now they don't.  Because when Mom's at her desk they can come visit her...and her candy jar.  :)  They love it!  I refill it about every two weeks with a different variety of candy. They always get excited to see what will be next.

    As you find creative ways to include your children in your writing adventures, you'll no doubt enjoy the "sweet" rewards of doing so.

    Happy Writing...with children. :)