Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stay At Home Parents Are NOT Machines!

I invited my Scribo bud Kirkus MacGowan, India Author extraordinaire, to share a bit on being a stay-at-home dad & slowing down - in life and writing. So pull up a chair & get comfy.

 *Insert BIG APPLAUSE here*

Indie Authors: Slow Down!

When Terri first suggested a guest post for her blog (thanks Terri!), ideas about writing and the life of a stay-at-home parent immediately came to mind since we both have that in common. Time or the lack thereof, is one of the most complained about issues you’ll find with stay-at-home parent/authors.

Super Speed Indie Author

I have an Indie author friend who plans to publish eight books this year. My first thought when he told me this was that he had a backlist from traditional publishing. Nope. My second thought was that he wrote for years and is only just now publishing the books he had hidden away. Also not true.

He plans to WRITE eight books and publish them, all this year! That author friend is Russell Blake. As of this post, he’s published eleven books. Check them out on his official author page and blog, Russell Blake - Suspense Writer.
Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it likely? Maybe in Blake's case, but not in Terri’s or mine. Well, we could if we locked ourselves in the closet, ignored our children for twelve months, and our significant other literally handled everything else a responsible parent typically handles. As I said, not likely.


I haven’t read any of Blake’s work yet, so this is no judgment against him, but I can’t see how it’s possible to put out quality work at such an astounding rate. There’s no doubt, the man loves writing, and I’m certain he puts in long days. If he can write and publish eight books this year, awesome for him!

We’re Not Machines

However, most of us, especially stay-at-home parents, are not machines even if we want to be.

Here I am, stating that it’s virtually impossible to put work out as fast as we’d like, yet in the title I suggest slowing down. It’s all a bit of a conundrum.

The faster we put out books, the sooner our name is known, the more book sales we’re likely to have, the more money we bring in… kind of. As an Indie author, we read these words just about everywhere we look. Then beneath, in miniscule words, we see, “Make sure your work is quality.”

What? It’s like telling us to go sprint ten miles, but be sure to breathe slowly. It doesn’t work that way.

Any parent, not just stay-at-home types like Terri and I, have certain responsibilities. When your child has a blowout, you can’t tell them to hold on because your muse is on overdrive. When your daughter comes home from school with a broken heart and tears streaming down her face, you can’t say, “Just a few more tweets, honey. Then I’ll console you.”

Parenting demands your attention when IT decides.

Two HUGE Reasons to Slow Things Down 

Writing and parenting!

Slow down a moment. Close your laptop, or switch off your monitor. Hold your daughter as she needs to be held. Get that diaper changed before the blowout remnants end up on the carpet (not a pretty sight).

Quality comes about when you take your time, both in writing and parenting. If you rush through that hug, or through the diaper change, this will only slow you down in the long run. Your daughter won’t understand why her feelings weren’t important enough to take you away from work. If you have children, I don’t even need to explain the possible repercussions of rushing through a diaper change.

When you rush, you make mistakes. Again, both in writing and parenting. I’ll admit there are few things in life more exciting than pressing that “publish” button on Amazon, putting your other kind of baby out there for the world to see. Waiting a month, going over the manuscript twelve more times, tweaking the cover, receiving input from readers, it all makes a difference.

When your book hits those virtual shelves, you want it to look like a shiny, new convertible with a big engine. Not the rusty, blue hatchback from the eighties with a sagging headlight.

Think about it honestly for a moment. Will putting your book out a month early really make that big of a difference in sales? Or would adding the multiple layers of polish increase sales more?

Slow Down

Take your time! Amazon isn’t going anywhere. Your children are though. Even when you’re busy, remember to spend that extra five minutes building Lego castles or creating monsters with crayon. It won’t hurt your book sales and it just may improve your life enough to allow your creativity to flow onto the computer screen like a fine painting.

Yes, writing is a business, and sales are important, but which way works better in the long run? Igniting sales by putting out a massive number of books in a short period of time? Or taking your time, living your life, loving your family, and creating a quality product that will bring a higher percentage of readers back later?

It’s your life, so live it the way you choose, but I know which choice I’ll make. Speaking of which, I have to go. My little guy says it’s time to play catch.

Thanks again Terri!

Kirkus MacGowan wrote his first book at age eight about traveling to Mars to find the cure for cancer. He put his writing dreams on hold for twenty-five years and focused his energies on playing baseball. He moved on when he found playing softball with his friends more enjoyable than his pipe dream.

Since then, he graduated with a B.S. in Psychology, married a woman too good to be true, and moved back to his hometown. He gave up an amazing career waiting tables and now stays at home with his two crazy children. He spends his time writing thrillers and fantasy, playing softball with friends, enjoying the occasional computer game, and wrestling with his kids.


Books by Kirkus MacGowan

 The Fall of Billy Hitchings    Check out my review HERE.



Wrath (Formerly Known as 6th Deadly Sin) - Work in Progress

Cover Design by, Copyright 2012


Stalk Kurkus:

So whatcha think? Agree? Disagree? Personally, I needed this little 'chide'.
*slinks sleepishly away*


  1. You're right about spending time with our kids. I can't even finish one book a year right now, but my son is still here and growing. I love how he's still willing to hold my hand in public and be cuddly at home even though he's getting to be a big kid (2nd grade).

  2. Thank you so much for allowing me to guest post on your blog Terri!

    You're so lucky, Jaleh! My son still likes to hold hands as well, though I'm losing a bit of the cuddliness (is that a word?). I'll take a gooey hand and a cuddle over a book sale any day of the week. :)

    1. My pleasure as always, Kirkus!

      Thanks for a great post.

  3. GREAT post.

    "The faster we put out books, the sooner our name is known, the more book sales we’re likely to have, the more money we bring in… kind of. As an Indie author, we read these words just about everywhere we look. Then beneath, in miniscule words, we see, “Make sure your work is quality.”

    What? It’s like telling us to go sprint ten miles, but be sure to breathe slowly. It doesn’t work that way."

    I relate to that. I feel bad because I KNOW I can't be interrupted when I write, so I ONLY write after the kids are in bed. That means I don't finish books as fast as I "should". But kids need to come first.

  4. I also agree with all that's been said here, as a stay at home parent/author, it's finding a balance that works for youngest is still very tiny and I can ONLY write when she sleeps. The afternoon nap is when I get most of my quality work done as during the evening I have older children needing my undivided attention and of course making time for my partner. I've gotten into the habit of taking baby for a walk during the afternoon and just as she falls asleep I arrive at my local Costa and there I can sit uninterrupted for a couple of hours as I find if I do this at home even as she's napping I can always find a job that needs doing and thus am distracted.
    I've managed to work on two books concurrently this year, both of which I hope to have completed and published by the end of the year, but then who knows, the afternoon nap is gradually becoming a thing of the past..and the kids come first.

    1. Kids first. My mantra. :)
      Thanks for swingin' by!