Today I'd like to welcome Emily Ungar, author of the delightful MG contemporary novel LIBERTY BELLE, to YAtopia, talking all about how she balances writing life with motherhood.
Writing and Motherhood: Before and After
by Emily Ungar
Writing is a little different now that I’m a mom to twin toddler boys. What was once a random two hours on a Saturday afternoon, for example, is now naptime to two very busy little guys. But no--not naptime for me. That time is for writing, and it is sacred.
Here’s a few ways my writing life has changed since becoming a mom:
How I handle writers’ block:
Before parenthood: surf People.com for scandals and shocking engagements
After parenthood: surf People.com for C-list celebrity pregnancy stories
How I Write:
Before: lounge on worn leather couch at Mo’Joe Coffeehouse in downtown Indianapolis. Bring husband. Unlimited coffee refills. Lots of procrastination and laughter. Clock disregarded. Word count for the day: 754
After: hastily shove sticky milk cups back in fridge. Ignore bills. Butt in chair until first cry is heard from the nursery. Freeze; could it be a fluke? Second cry heard. Writing time over. Word count: 947 (who said I couldn’t be productive in a 40-minute sprint?)
Before: the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel, on my lunch hour. It was all very chic.
After: pecking at iPhone in bedroom after husband falls asleep. One novel later, a referral for a specialist for hand pain.
Best sounding board for story ideas:
Before: my husband, with undivided attention
After: a stuffed octopus named Ollie
Cages for plot bunnies:
Before: floral bound notebooks
After: torn scraps of Buy Buy Baby receipts
So, yeah--things are a little different. Would I change anything about my new writing lifestyle? Not a darn thing. Since becoming a mother, I often feel these incredible waves of creativity. I’m usually too tired to do anything about them, but still--they’re there. Surely having a hand in creating two new people lends itself to creating more fiction as well? Every hour of writing that I took for granted before is now recognized as a blessing. It’s obvious now if I want to write even when I’m dirty and hungry and the house is a mess and I just want to curl up at my kitchen table to nibble on animal crackers and read junk mail…I must really LOVE writing with a capital L. Being a mother is an amazing gift, and I’m grateful for having a passion such as writing that lets me feel the joy of creation every single day.
On the same day she turns twelve years old, Savannah moves away from everything she’s known in sweet, sunny Georgia to preppy Washington D.C. Not only will she miss her best friends Katie and Tessa, Savannah will start a new school. She soon discovers that her schoolmates love to brag—about their clothes, their parents’ governmental connections, and even who has the in with the school authorities.
Unhappy and lonely, Savannah decides if she can’t make life better, she can at least make it sound that way. Soon she is living in the childhood home of George Washington, riding in the limo of the vice president’s daughter, and even moving into the former Luxembourg embassy.
All is well until she learns that her true friends from Georgia are coming for a visit. Now Savannah must create the life she’s been talking about in her letters—and fast! Will Savannah find herself or lose her friends?
Emily Ungar is a graduate of Indiana University, where she majored in journalism. After living in seven different U.S. states by the time she finished college, she now lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her husband and very curious twin toddlers. When she isn’t chasing after her twin boys, Emily loves to curl up in a chaise lounge with a book in one hand and a lemon cupcake in the other. Emily loves connecting with her readers, so she welcomes you to say hi on her blog at emilyungar.com.
We are ten writers passionate about Young Adult literature in all shapes and sizes. Check out our About Us page for details on all of our amazing contributors! Don't hesitate to contact us with questions or comments.