As if 2013 hasn’t been a busy enough year for me already: getting an agent, getting published and relocating to South West France, I’m also six and a half months pregnant. But what happens when you’re a full-time writer and a baby gets thrown into the mix?
I was reading a Facebook post of a distant friend who’s about to go on maternity leave, and she had decided she wanted to write a book and was asking advice on how to get published. Now, we’ll gloss over the fact that the advice should have been write the book first then worry about publishing, and focus on one of her friends’ comments which was along the lines of: I hope you’re not planning to write whilst you’re on maternity leave as you’ll have no time whatsoever. I read this and wondered if I was in a big trouble.
I’m planning on taking a mini-maternity leave where I’m not doing any fresh writing. Don’t Tell the Groom is published three weeks after my due date, so I imagine that I’m going to have to do some promo pieces and blog posts etc. Then the plan is to “go back to work” three months after. But when I say go back to work, I mean re-locate to my home office a few mornings a week whilst my husband looks after the baby. I’m lucky that my husband will be at home with me and the baby for at least the first six months, which again, should allow me some time to write.
I think the hardest thing is the not knowing. We have no way of knowing ahead of time what our baby is going to be like. What their schedule is going to be and whether my writing plans are realistic. As this is our first baby we don’t have a clue what we’re doing, or how labour intensive it’s going to be.
I know that I’m lucky in that my writing means that I work from home and even when I go back to work I’ll still be in the same house as the baby (is that a good thing?!). But I know as the baby grows up I’ll be able to fit my writing around their school hours – in France they start them young at two and a half.
At the moment I’m really busy writing. I’m trying to get ahead of myself so that I can enjoy the first few months without worrying. This means it’s going to be a busy few months. I need to finish off the sequel to Don’t Tell the Groom which is due at the publishers not long after the baby. And then I want to start (and hopefully finish) one of my self-published titles Millie and the American Proposal.
I have read stories of authors writing books in the first month or two post-birth – apparently in a haze. I don’t know whether this is an urban myth or whether it can happen, but that would be amazing if that happened to me. I’ve got so many books in my head and at the moment I don’t know when I’m going to get round to writing them.
So for those of you that have been in my shoes – what am I in for? Did you manage to get back to writing early on? Does anyone have any top tips of how to balance writing and a baby?