Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Can a working mother still find time to write?

Guest Post by Author Cindy Vine
Cindy Vine is a mother, teacher and writer
living at the foot of
Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
As a working mother, she’s managed to write

a self-help book called Fear, Phobias and
Frozen Feet; a
semi-autobiographical account
of an escape from an abusive marriage

called Stop The world, I Need to Pee; and
a little boy’s
traumatic life called The Case of Billy B,
a book about jealousy,
hate and betrayal and the biggest dilemma
of all: "Not Telling"; and
a children's picture
book about solving
a problem with a bully
called Fighting Fisi.

Any mother will tell you, that motherhood is a full time job. There
is no start or finish time, you are on duty 24 hours a day. If you
are a working mom, then you are under even more pressure. There’s a
bit of overlap involved, because eight of those 24 hours, not only are
you a mom, but you are also a working woman with all the stresses
and pressures a job entails. And then, lest you forget, factor in cook-
ing meals, traveling to and from work, and the life of a typical working
mother starts to resemble that scrambled egg I tried to make last
week. It’s a scrambled mess of deadlines and times, with the mommy
rushing around like a chicken with its head chopped off, trying to
please everybody, with no time for herself.

But deep within this mother is the desire to write. In fact, forget
desire, it’s more like a deep need, rather like the need to breathe.
It’s something you just have to do, you have all these words bubbling
inside you just trying to get out. Cooking, cleaning, traveling,
working, parenting – how are you going to fit in time for writing?
This is where time management becomes so important. You have to
plan your day so that you leave yourself some ‘me-time.’ Even if it’s
the half an hour before you sleep, half an hour of your lunch break, or
half an hour at 5.30am; you have to set that time aside for your
writing each and every day. Once you start, you’ll quickly settle
into the routine. Just make sure that nobody disturbs you during your
‘me-time.’ Not even an over-amorous husband. Rather write a short
description of his sexual advances, than succumb to them.

Have your special writing space set up, out of bounds to all and
sundry, except maybe your cat if you have one. I’m allergic to cats.
Do not try and write huge chapters, that’ll be too overwhelming for
you and you’ll just give up. Rather, focus on writing short sharp
scenes, descriptions, events, things that happened to you during the
day. Invent characters and write descriptions of them, what they do
for fun, get to know them. Then, after you’ve amassed pages and pages
of these short scenes, take one or two mental health days, call in
sick at work, stay home in your empty house or go to the library. And
what you do is sort through your scenes, decide what you can use,
what can be chucked, what lines of dialogue you like, and work out a
system to file them. You now have some good pieces to go into a novel.

Your next step is to plan your story and adapt your good scenes you’ve
filed, use your character sketches and you’re A for AWAY. Forget
about writing your book from cover to cover. Your everyday life will
not allow for that, after all, there are only 24 hours in a day. Work
smart, set aside some ‘me-time’ find a suitable work space, and do
small pieces at a time. You can always flesh them out later and
discard what is rubbish. Writing a book is not difficult, it just
takes commitment and good time management; ah and maybe a little
talent might help

All of Cindy's books are available on
You can follow Cindy’s blogs on; or
or find out more about Cindy and her books on Follow on Facebook:

Author of:

  • Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet
  • Stop the world, I need to pee!
  • The Case of Billy B
  • Fighting Fisi



  1. I came straight away after Nancy's tweet. I enjoyed reading and listening to Cindy's story of 'Fighting Fisi.' Brilliant advice as always, Cindy.

    Thank you Cindy and thanks to you as well, Nancy!

  2. Aidy, so nice of your to stop by and take a look at Cindy's video. Hope you liked the article too. Cindy is amazing...don't know how she does it. Teaching, raising three children, and turning out interesting, compelling and humorous books. And all on her own. i"m on my way to your poetry site. Can't wait to read some of that good stuff you write!

  3. Some great tips here for writers. The subjects of her books are very challenging, but important ones for children nowadays to absorb and learn.

  4. Very thoughtful article. For a fresh take on building strong careers and families, check out Getting to 50/50 -- on how men and women share roles with all sorts of good results -- including a healthier sex life. The book also debunks some common myths that cause many moms to back away from their jobs. Authors Sharon Meers (a Goldman MD now in tech) and Joanna Strober (a private equity exec) share their often funny tales of combining work and family. Definitely a book worth checking out.