Writing from Home: It Can Be Great and Not-So-Great for Mothers

I went to school to be a teacher. In fact, I have a B.S. in Education, not journalism.

Due to the hours and holidays, teaching is traditionally thought to be the best work for a mother who wants to keep one foot in the mommy-door and one foot in the career-door. This thought, paired with my love for children and learning, led me to life inside the schoolhouse doors.

Soon though, writing, not teaching, became my real "full time job," and it's been years since I set foot behind a teacher's podium.

There are times I miss teaching and regret I haven't used my diploma more, but who am I kidding? -- freelance writing has to be the best situation for a stay-at-home mother: I get paid, I do something I love, and I don't leave the kids. What's more? I can stay in my pajamas all morning!

Sometimes people ask if the lack of structure and absence of a physical "office" bother me and make it hard to concentrate. Sure, I get sidetracked watching a great episode of Rolie Polie Olie with my son every now and then, and I take long, leisurely breaks to chat on the phone or go to lunch, but this isn't because I "work at home," it's because I'm an artist.

I only write when inspired and when it "feels right." Even if I sat behind a desk all day, I'd still piddle around and get distracted -- it's my nature to jump from project-to-project, then zero-in on a particular piece when the mood strikes me. This is the artist in me. Just as a painter cannot be told, "Paint, now!" a writer cannot sit in front of a blank screen and expect great things to flow.

My best pieces, in fact, are written while I do such things as stand in line at the grocery store and wait at a red light, or during a commercial break from Oprah.

As I'm sure any artist can relate, I usually get a "feeling" when I have a great story brewing in my mind. This is, I think, the blessing and curse of creativity, because sometimes that "feeling" comes in the middle of a dinner party or at two o'clock in the morning and I have to race to find paper and jot my thoughts down. My husband has grown accustomed to me running in the door, heading straight to the computer and yelling as I go, "Can't talk....got a story on my mind....need to get it on paper!"

So, while I love this profession for its adaptability with the children and being a mother, sometimes the unpredictable nature of my creativity poses a few problems. For instance, if inspiration causes me to stay up until 3 a.m. writing a great column, I'm little use to my high-energy children a few hours later when they get up at the crack-of-dawn.

Yes, I have the luxury of lounging in my pajamas and not going to an "office," but I struggle with the spontaneous nature of this business and the chaotic schedule it sometimes poses for my children and me.

I guess though, even if things were different and my life was more structured, I'd still be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl...that's just the life of an artist.

About The Author

++You may reprint the above column on your website so long as the following is included the URL address is actively hyperlinked back++

THIS MUST BE INCLUDED: Copyright 2004 Sarah Smiley http://www.SarahSmiley.com - Sarah Smiley's syndicated column Shore Duty appears weekly in newspapers across the country.

[email protected]

In The News:

4 Super Easy Tips For Writing More Effective Headlines  ForbesIf you use *content* marketing to grow your business, then you're likely using headlines on a regular – and frequent – basis. You need to drive people to your blog ...
MSU Writing Center to launch Multimedia Writing Center  The State NewsThe soon-to-be launched Multimedia Writing Center will “help students with projects that go beyond written words."
WCU hosts hundreds of young authors for writing celebration  WDAMMore than 350 elementary school students from across the Pine Belt were at William Carey University on Friday morning for an annual event celebrating writing.
Two life-writing sessions take place at The Reach  Abbotsford NewsProgram takes place Feb. 23 and March 2 at Abbosford gallery-museum.
Hantsport writer Bishop pens first novel  TheChronicleHerald.caWriting her first novel was not only a lot harder than Anne Bishop thought it would be, it was harder than any of the non-fiction books she wrote. “Non-fiction is a ...
How Writing Cured My Depression  The Good Men ProjectBefore you vent to your friends and family, write about those negative feelings.
Avoid These Bad Habits in Your Writing  LifehackerThe top copy editor at Random House has a book out about what you should and shouldn't do in your writing, and people are already arguing about it. All writing ...
With the writing on the wall for Sainsbury's-Asda, now what?  The GrocerSo long, then, Sainsda. The CMA's findings are only provisional and Sainsbury's and Asda will get an opportunity to challenge them, but the writing is on the wall ...
Playwright David Edgar to teach on new writing course at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School | News  The StagePlaywrights David Edgar and Stephanie Dale are to lead a Master's degree in drama writing at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
'Of course you know why I'm writing': War letter from 1917 a tale of friendship and sacrifice  National PostIn early May 1917, Earl Sorel, a young teamster from Manitoba, was laid up in a British hospital a short ferry ride across the River Mersey from Liverpool when he ...
From writing for Kylie to Brit Award nomination: Why ‘anti-war’ musician Nerina Pallot is looking forward to Dundee  The CourierFor a self-confessed “grumpy bugger”, Brit Award-nominated singer-songwriter Nerina Pallot is in fine fettle when The Courier calls. The London-based ...
Singer Don McLean threatens Maine weekly for writing about ex-wife's exhibit on abuse  Press Herald“American Pie” singer Don McLean has threatened a weekly newspaper with legal action for writing about his ex-wife's exhibition of photos about domestic ...
Formula For Writing An Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter  ForbesHR managers say that many job hunters are not writing cover letters anymore. Learn how you can standout if you use these proven cover letter writing formula.
Writing A Check For A Conspiracy And The Craziest College Courses  The Daily CallerOn the Friday edition of The Daily Daily Caller Podcast, we get into the insanity presented by the Chicago police in the Jussie Smollett hate crime hoax case.
University of Iowa graduates win Hollywood honor for writing Stephen King TV show  Iowa City Press CitizenFour University of Iowa graduates took home a Writers Guild of America Award Sunday for their work on the Hulu show "Castle Rock," a show based around the ...
On Itchiness in Science Writing  Scientific AmericanOver the years that I've written pieces here at Scientific American I've only very occasionally talked about the process of writing about science, since there have ...
Homeless couple calls Denver7 about police department's ticket writing frenzy  The Denver ChannelA homeless couple, cited multiple times for expired tags on their RV, is accusing DPD of harassment.
In a lyrical fashion: model Wilson Oryema on writing poetry for this season  The GuardianA favourite of labels from Stella McCartney to Grace Wales Bonner, the 25-year-old filmmaker, poet and environmental campaigner reflects on the change of the ...
Persistence key to becoming professional writer: poet laureate  Humboldt JournalHUMBOLDT — A poet recognized by the lieutenant governor for his lifelong contribution to the arts said the secret to writing success is just to continue writing.
What to look for before writing a story about an academic study  Columbia Journalism ReviewFacebook is 15 years old. And there are certain things, if we believe the reams of headlines we see based on social science studies, that we now think we know ...
This AI is so good at writing that its creators won't let you use it  CNNSan Francisco (CNN Business) A new artificial intelligence system is so good at composing text that the researchers behind it said they won't release it for fear of ...
CBSE Board Exam 2019: Check 3 Important Formats for Writing Good Answers  Jagran JoshAre you writing CBSE 10th & 12th Board Exams 2019? Check important tips format to write good answers in CBSE Board Exam 2019. Analysis of CBSE ...
Want to get writing and featured on TheJournal.ie? RTÉ Radio 1's short story competition is now open  TheJournal.ieThe winners of the RTÉ Radio 1 Short Story Competition will have their work featured on TheJournal.ie and on the station.
SEO: 9 Tips for Writing Great Content  Practical EcommerceTextual *content* enables search engines to understand your site. The words you choose should engage shoppers and boost your site's relevance to the ...
Commentary: Why effective writing matters  Valley NewsSpend more than a few minutes in the word business — I've spent going on 30 years in it, as a proofreader, copy editor, publishing-house copy chief and, ...
Southern West Virginia is getting a creative writing retreat  WVVA TV(Lewisburg) A creative writing retreat is popping up in Lewisburg. The idea of the weekend long retreat at Lee Street Studios is to learn about and share.
Writing About Writing About the Border Crisis  The New YorkerValeria Luiselli's intricate novel, “Lost Children Archive,” confronts the complexities of bearing witness, James Wood writes.
Writers, publishers, bookstores: A primer on the Year of the Montreal Anglo Renaissance  The Globe and MailSeveral of the city's authors were either longlisted or shortlisted for a Governor-General's Award or the Giller. Equally impressive was the emergence of new ...
Blitzboks writing a new book in Sin City  IOLCAPE TOWN – The Blitzboks see every season as a new chapter. And while Neil Powell feels like they are writing a new book entirely this time, he reckons his ...
Gerard Way Compares Writing Music For The Umbrella Academy To My Chemical Romance  Kerrang!Gerard Way has said that writing the music for The Umbrella Academy is similar to that of writing for My Chemical Romance. Speaking to Kerrang!, the former ...
Taco Bell employee goes viral for writing inspirational message in every takeout order  Yahoo LifestyleTaco Bell employee Kelly Stewart, 27, goes viral for writing personal messages to drive-through costumers.
Sign on the dotted line: Why millennials are writing contracts for their relationships  Chicago TribuneRachel Sibley and John Meyer had been dating four months when they planned out a night to reflect on their relationship. They dimmed the lights, lit some ...
Heidi Toffler, unheralded half of a futurist writing team, dies at 89  Washington PostHeidi Toffler, who partnered with her husband, Alvin Toffler, to write best-selling books about the future of human society in an age of rapid technological change ...
Trisha Yearwood Talks Writing For the Last Time With Garth Brooks: ‘That’s Our Story’  PEOPLE.comTrisha's new album "Let's Be Frank" features eleven standards and one original which she wrote with her husband Garth Brooks.
Ottawa science fiction writer Kate Heartfield nominated for two prestigious Nebula Awards  Ottawa CitizenOttawa writer Kate Heartfield has been nominated for two auspicious Nebula Awards for science fiction writing.Heartfield, who teaches journalism at Carleton ...
Why are so many women writing about rough sex?  The GuardianIt's no surprise a new generation of female authors is exploring sexual abuse and dominance, says Guardian columnist Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett.
Winds of Winter: George RR Martin talks ‘dead ends’ while writing Game of Thrones book  ExpressA RESURFACED interview with George RR Martin sees him speaking about the “dead ends” he occasionally hits when writing.
'Empire' Executive Producers Confirm Jussie Smollett's Character Will Be Written Out of Final Episodes  BillboardThe producers of Empire announced on Friday (Feb. 22) that they have decided to write Jussie Smollett's character Jamal Lyon out of the final two episodes of ...
Eight Scribes Selected for Disney-ABC Television 2019 Writing Program  DeadlineThe Disney ABC Television Writing Program has selected the participants for the 2019 program, with the incoming scribes hailing from Virginia, Florida, Alaska, ...
Robotech Comics: Brenden Fletcher to Take Over as Writer (Exclusive)  Den of Geek USBrenden Fletcher will headline the Robotech comic later this year and we've got the exclusive on the first cover in an upcoming arc.
Trump Attorney General Pick Puts Marijuana Enforcement Pledge In Writing  ForbesWilliam Barr, President Trump's nominee to serve as the next U.S. attorney general, made headlines earlier this month when he pledged during his Senate ...
Fox Denies Writing Jussie Smollett Off Empire Amid Staged Attack Claim  E! OnlineThe network insisted the actor is a core character and that the claim was ridiculous.
Nick Cafardo, longtime Boston Globe baseball writer, dies at 62  ESPNLongtime Boston Globe baseball writer Nick Cafardo died after collapsing at the Red Sox's spring training ballpark. He was 62.
Writing Secure Shell Scripts  Linux JournalDon't expose your system with sloppy scripts! Although a Linux desktop or server is less susceptible to viruses and malware than a typical Windows device, ...
Poor pay perpetuates creative block for low-socioeconomic writers  The BooksellerI think the low point came when we finally had to turn to Wonga. Or it might have been when my wife and I smashed up an old kitchen chair to put in the log ...
Writers Guild Sends Hollywood Agents Proposed Code of Conduct  VarietyLeaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent Hollywood talent agencies a proposed “Code of Conduct” with tough new restrictions on how they operate as ...
Former PQ leader Lisée writing 'tell-all' book, says party is not dead  Montreal GazetteLisée confirmed in an tweet Friday that a book is in the works. His tweet simply said, "Can't wait."
People: Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe baseball writer, dies at 62  Berkshire EagleNick Cafardo, Boston Globe baseball writer, dies at 62. Boston Globe baseball writer Nick Cafardo, who covered the Red Sox and the rest of the sport for more ...
Why do writers fictionalize town names? To free their imaginations  OurWindsor.caHere's a good rule for writers of fiction: when in trouble, ask yourself what Alice would do.
Stalin's Scheherazade: Was Nobel Winner Mikhail Sholokhov a Brilliant Writer or a Successful Con Man?  Publishers WeeklyIn Stalin's Scribe: Literature, Ambition, and Survival: The Life of Mikhail Sholokhov, Brian Boeck paints a nuanced portrait of Mikhail Sholokhov, a Nobel ...
Book review: True crime writer Eve Lazarus revisits a notorious Vancouver murder case  Vancouver SunEve Lazarus follows up her successful Cold Case Vancouver with the tale of a mid-60's murders.
Steven Merchant, Director and Writer of 'Fighting with My Family'  KSHBDirector and Writer of 'Fighting with My Family,' Steven Merchant, fills us in on what audiences can expect from the film.
The slowly written Mueller report that’s sitting in plain sight  The Washington PostPresident Trump has benefited enormously from the frog-in-hot-water nature of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation into his campaign and ...
Budget writers want more oversight of new voting machines  Laredo Morning TimesCOLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Budget writers in the South Carolina House don't want the State Election Commission to have the final decision on choosing the state's ...
Oklahoma State blog Cowboys Ride For Free is hiring a golf writer  Cowboys Ride For FreeThis golf team is awfully fun. Here's your chance to cover them.
Michigan starts writing rules for adult-use marijuana industry  MLive.comMarijuana entrepreneurs are watching expectantly as Michigan officials start to write rules for the new adult-use industry. The Bureau of Marijuana Regulation ...
A Writer Reading: Novel about Holocaust turns out to be pretty lucky library find  Albuquerque JournalRIO RANCHO, N.M. — Georgia Hunter's debut novel, "We Were the Lucky Ones" (2017), follows a family of Polish Jews through World War II. Ms. Hunter based ...
Writer Chris Claremont Returns to Marvel's X-Men | CBR  CBRLegendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont will return to the X-Men with a story starring Nightcrawler in Marvel Comics Presents.
Jussie Smollett Being Written Off "Empire"  CBS Los AngelesEmbattled actor Jussie Smollett -- who is facing allegations of staging a hate crime attack against himself in the city of Chicago -- is being written off his hit show ...
Pelegrin To Read At Lee's Writer's Festival Feb. 28  The ChattanooganLee University will continue the 2018-19 Writer's Festival with a reading by poet Alison Pelegrin on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Rose Lecture Hall, located ...
Writer says Lions should add Le'Veon Bell  247SportsThe Detroit Lions are eying a complete turnaround this offseason, and are thinking about the best ways to set up their roster for the future. Most agree the Lions ...
JD Salinger's unseen writings to be published, family confirms  The GuardianExclusive: The Catcher in the Rye author's son tells the Guardian estate will publish almost 'all of what he wrote' over next decade.
Accuracy vs entertainment: Mary Queen of Scots writer defends use of creative license  HarpersBAZAAR.comMary Queen of Scots writer Beau Willimon defends use of creative license in the film, which depicts a scene where Mary and Queen Elizabeth I meet - although ...
Full Show: Same-Sex Benefits Case, Pothole Repair, And Writer Justin Cronin (Feb. 22, 2019)  Houston Public MediaOn Friday's Houston Matters: A lawsuit over same-sex benefits is thrown out. We learn about the mayor's pothole program. We break down The Good, The Bad, ...
Appalachian Writers Discuss Their Work: Inside Appalachia  West Virginia Public BroadcastingPeople who write novels, short stories and newspaper articles each tell Appalachia's story in their own way. This is an encore airing of an Inside Appalachia ...
Letters: Writer says we must do more to support police  The Newark AdvocateDear people of the United States of America and beyond. What is going on that is bringing so much heartache to many? I am talking about all the police people ...
A must-read list: The enduring contributions of African American women writers  National PostAuthor: Nancy Kang, Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Canada Research Chair in Transnational Feminisms and Gender-Based Violence ...
Healthy Food? It's Written on the Walls  Technology NetworksFood can conjure up all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings—childhood nostalgia, memories of road trips, or just the simple comfort of a nourishing cup of soup.
Inside the 2019 Writers Guild Awards  VogueAs the last major awards-show precursor to the Oscars this Sunday, the Writers Guild Awards honored the freshest, brightest, and most diverse voices in writing ...
Sundance’s ‘Judy And Punch’ Writer-Director Mirrah Foulkes Inks With UTA  DeadlineMirrah Foulkes, the Australian writer-director-actor whose directorial debut feature film Judy & Punch was at Sundance, signed with UTA.
Q&A with writer Meg Wolitzer  Financial TimesMeg Wolitzer, 59, is the best-selling author of The Female Persuasion, The Interestings, The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap and The Wife, now a film starring ...
Newcastle Writers Festival launches diverse program for 2019  Newcastle HeraldInspired: Rosemarie Milsom started the festival partly to give a platform to the region's writers and poets. "We've contributed... to the creation of new work through ...
CNN's Jim Acosta is writing a book about Trump's war with the media  CNNNew York (CNN) CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is authoring a book about the Trump administration and its battles with the news media.
Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai written update: Naira feels a connection with Kartik  India TodayYeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai written update: Kartik and Naira bond grows stronger while Naksh misbehave with Dadi for taking Kartik's side.
Jussie Smollett's Character Being Written Off 'Empire'  CBS ChicagoA day after he was arrested for allegedly faking a hate crime because he was upset with his salary on "Empire," actor Jussie Smollett appears to be losing his ...
Kasauti Zindagi Ki written update, February 22, 2019: Prerna slaps Anurag after he assassinates her character  Times NowIn tonight's episode of Kasauti Zindagi Ki, Prerna goes to stop Anurag and Komolika's engagement but is horribly insulted by him. She even slaps him.
Kumkum Bhagya written update, February 22, 2019: Abhi, Pragya and Aaliya throw Tanu out of the house  Times NowIn tonight's episode of Kumkum Bhagya, Pragya finds out that Tanu tried to harm her and her baby. Pragya, along with Abhi and Aaliya, kick her out of the house.
Wilmington comic book writer’s star is on the rise  StarNewsOnline.comTini Howard has written for Rick and Morty, Captain America and The Punisher, in addition to her original titles. She has a book signing Feb. 27 at Memory Lane ...
Joss Sackler, wife of OxyContin heir, just wants her 'f--king neon hoodies' reviewed  Page SixJoss Sackler — wife of OxyContin heir David Sackler — just wants her “f - - king neon hoodies” reviewed. Sackler has lashed out at New York Times fashion ...
Writer Edith Iglauer's legacy on the B.C. fishing village she made home  CBC NewsEdith Iglauer may have been a ground-breaking journalist and exceptional writer, but for those in the B.C. fishing village of Pender Harbour, she'll be ...
UMBRELLA ACADEMY Writer And MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE Frontman Gerard Way Discusses The Show And More  Comic Book MovieIn a recent interview, singer/songwriter/comic writer Gerard Way decided to open up about his personal experience with apocalypse situations and how that ...
Australian writer set to win Oscar for best original screenplay  ABC LocalAn Australian writer is tipped to take home the award for best original screenplay at the Oscars this year.
Written Bypasses Oakleigh Plate 19 February, 2019  Racing.comBlue Diamond winner won't back up after Lightning run.

Dialogue Tags - A Study in Common Errors

Verb and SubjectIncorrect:"I bet you two had a fine time,"... Read More

Trying Too Hard

If you dread the thought of writing, if you fear... Read More

Beginners Blues: How to Collect Samples, Testimonials, and References as a Freelancer

Beginner's Blues: How to Collect Samples, Testimonials, and References as... Read More

Taking the Free Out of Freelance Writing

When you run an online agency for freelance writers, editors... Read More

Critique Groups - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

What do people expect when they join a writing group?The... Read More

Essay Types and Modes Youll Need to Write for College

~TYPES~You Want Us to Write What? Understanding the Task AssignedWhich... Read More

Overcome Writers Block with Snake Dancing

Writer's block! Even columnist Dave Berry has it. He admits... Read More

Story Structure - Final Conflict

Beyond three and four act story structure, lies the Hero's... Read More

Web Writing: Create Writing Flow With Four Uncommon Connectors

Connectors -- conjunctions, punctuation, and transitional phrases -- allow readers... Read More

Using Metaphor Effectively

We've all heard a politician on their soapbox, pushing for... Read More

Should You Hire a Ghostwriter?

Have you heard the term 'ghostwriter' and wondered what they... Read More

Mission Possible: Get Published with Goals, Guidance, and Persistance

You send me an e-mail. You tell me you've written... Read More

Write a Letter, Make a Difference

Today I took the dog for a walk and realized... Read More

Common Writing Mistakes

Most books aren't rejected because the stories are "bad." They're... Read More

Apostrophe Usage Made Simple

According to one of my previous articles, whenever a Southerner... Read More

Comma Usage Made Simple

Don't they drive you nuts?You can visit all the rules... Read More

How To Write Cover Letters That Work

Sometimes there is confusion about the exact meaning of the... Read More

Effective Collaboration - Working With Your Ghostwriter

Using a ghostwriter to craft your free reprint articles and... Read More

How to Come Up with Fresh Story Ideas

How to Come Up with Fresh Story Ideas When Your... Read More

What is Screenwriting?

Simply put, it is the art of writing scripts for... Read More

Realize Your Book Dream In 2005!

If you haven't realized the success you wanted last year,... Read More

Inspiring the Poet in You!

Poems. Just the mention of them makes me smile. Why?... Read More

Screenwriting ? The Lone Wolf Story Structure Template

Story Structure Templates are the fastest way to write screenplays.... Read More

Whose Story Is It?

Whenever you sit down to plot a story (or even... Read More

Top Seven Ways to Write your Print or eBook Fast

Want to write your book? But, need a blueprint on... Read More