Several years ago Randall Wright—one of the authors/instructors at the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference—strolled over and began talking to a small group of women, including me. What he said left a lasting impression on me.
He asked if we (as mom writers) ever felt guilty taking time away from our kids or cleaning to write. In unison, we all said yes. I told him I sometimes feel conflicted that there is a real world going on around me, and yet I sit and make up an imaginary one while my kids play on the floor nearby.
Then he reminded me of something. When we were young, kids played by themselves. I personally remember my mom reading to me and doing crafts with us sometimes, but I don’t recall her getting down and playing with us very often. Usually we played by ourselves, in our own make-believe worlds.
Martine Leavitt came over and joined our conversation for a minute and told us to think of the children who will snuggle up to our books someday, take comfort in our words, and find peace in their lives while they learn something.
Years later, I still think about their advice as I try to find a balance of writing and being a human being who contributes to the real world. How do you find your balance?