Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Why Writing with Kids Isn't So Bad

By Abbey Downey

As a mom of two young kids (ages five and three), it’s safe to assume I’ll hear the same question every time I mention I’m also a writer. “How do you make time to write with kids at home?”
Honestly, it’s a reasonable question. Kids take a lot of our time and mental resources, don’t they? And, even if you can get them playing peacefully without you, a mom knows those minutes won’t last as long as she hopes.
“He hit me!”
“She took my toy!”
“Can I have a snack?”
“I have to go potty. Now!”

"Look, I deleted Mom's entire manuscript with one click!"

But here’s what most people don’t realize: having my kids around actually makes my writing better. In spite of the interruptions, the constant questions, and the frequent potty/refereeing/feeding breaks. 

Here’s what I mean:

   They make me more creative.
Have you ever just listened to a kid playing imaginary games? They’re hilarious! My oh-so-dramatic daughter frequently ends sessions of playing Barbies with someone getting hurt and going to the hospital. My son likes to make his superheroes face off against the bad guys. All of their games involve dramatic conflict. Also, since I write fiction, I can give young characters some of my kids’ funniest quirks!

They force me to use my time wisely.
I love the way another author recently responded to the question of how moms find time to write. She laughingly replied that nap time is her friend, but then went on to say that somehow, God always provides the time. Isn’t that just like our God? He calls us to write and He provides what we need to accomplish that. But this is where I struggle: I have to get off Twitter and use the snippets of time I do have, especially when there are kids around with all their various needs. If I want to get any writing in, I have to plan my day and stick to it.

They make me get out and experience the world.
I’m an introvert. Even if you aren’t, as people who work in a rather solitary profession, it’s easy for writers to get wrapped up in our words and forget that there’s a whole, real world right in front of us. And that world provides endless inspiration! My kids require things like being picked up from school, getting food to make into meals, trips to the library, and hours spent eavesdropping on—I mean, accidentally overhearing—conversations during sports practices. All wonderful places to gather ideas that I would miss if I holed up all the time in my house.
"Hmm....I think this story would be better with a few
random letters sprinkled in."

They remind me to always include God.
As they all do, my kids ask questions. So many questions. My five-year-old is very much trying to make sense of how things fit into the world and his questions usually revolve around how things work together. When we get into a line of questions, often it will circle around to how God fits into the subject. Where’s God when kids are at school? How does Jesus eat if He’s invisible? It’s a great reminder that God is in everything we do. No matter the market or genre, there’s always a way to include God in our words and in our writing process.

Have you faced a challenge in your writing that turned out to hide blessings? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Abbey Downey never expected her love for writing to turn into a career, but she’s thankful for the chance to write inspirational romance as Mollie Campbell. A life-long Midwestern girl, Abbey lives in Central Indiana, where her family has roots back to the 1840s. She couldn’t be happier spending her days putting words on paper and hanging out with her husband, two kids, and a rather enthusiastic beagle.

You can check out Abbey's books at

Photos from