Redefining “all in.” {Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing}

If you’ve poked around the blog a bit, you’ll know that I became a first time mom in January. Though I’ve found much joy in this new role, I’ve struggled to find a balance between my need/love of writing and the demands of motherhood and marriage.  

As I considered picking the brains and hearts of all the wonderful momma writers I know, I realized I wasn’t the only person who would benefit from their advice and insight. I’m super excited to announce the Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing series. 

Every Tuesday this Fall, a talented mom and writer/blogger will be answering a few of my questions about balancing motherhood and writing. I want this series to be an avenue for women to share and encourage other women with their own wisdom and experience.

To give you a preview of what this series is all about, I answered my own questions! I hope you enjoy the series and make sure to check back next week for the first guest post.

Motherhood and Writing Emily

Why do you write/blog?

Writing helps me to connect with myself and blogging helps me to connect with others. It’s the way I process my day to day life and my relationship with God.

Though the majority of my writing stays hidden in the pages of copious journals, I choose to write publicly on my blog because of what Jean Fleming describes as an act of stewardship.

Revelations are graces from God not to be received lightly. For me, that means setting down on paper thoughts that might evaporate if left floating in the air. The ideas I explore, pray over, and chew on form a body of truth-in-process for me. I catch glimmers, fully intending to watch over them like a hen over her hatch. I return to these forming ideas, asking the Lord to correct, enlarge, and refine them.

Jean Fleming in Pursue the Intentional Life

Jean writes books to “honor revelation that [she] might preserve and return to it.” I write blogs posts to do the same. (Which is not to say that all my blog post are full of deep revelation…)

How long have you been writing/blogging?

I have a box full of journals in the garage with thoughts ranging from ten-year-old Emily to married Emily. I’ve been blogging since September 2012.

How has your current season of life impacted your writing/blogging?

We welcomed our first child in January this year (2014) and he has absolutely impacted my writing/blogging, as well as everything else in my life. Like with all new seasons of life, motherhood has required a shift in priorities. Writing and blogging have fallen down a few notches on my priority totem pole. I’ve struggled and pushed against that reality because writing is cathartic, creative, and fun for me. But, I’ve learned through experience that the more I force writing and blogging to happen, the less fruitful and joy-filled it is.

When I do something, I want to be all in. This season is teaching me to be gentle with myself – with my expectations, with my goals, and with my schedule. I can’t be “all-in” with blogging the way I think all-in should look. I’m having to redefine what all-in looks like for me in this season.

How has this season of life changed your writing habits?

In the last seven months, I have wondered so many times how I didn’t have posts going up on my blog every day before James arrived. Back then, writing was my only (unpaid) occupation and I was able to spend innumerable hours crafting posts.

This season has drastically cut the amount of time I have for non-mothering pursuits.  Writing is a long process for me, done best in large chunks of solitude. Those are few and far between right now and when they do come along, I’m always torn between writing and doing something practical, like cleaning the dried up pea puree crusted onto the dinning room floor.

Sleep has been better for my mental health than writing, so I’ve yet to develop the habit of rising earlier than James for a block of uninterrupted writing time.  That means my drafts folder is exploding and there’s a squadron of ideas floating around in my head that I will probably forget before they ever make it into a draft.

I try not to be on the computer when James is awake during the day, so the majority of my writing happens during naptime. If I really need/want to finish something that I’ve started that day, I will use some evening moments when Tim is home to complete a post. Tim blogs too, so we sometimes have blogging dates after James goes to bed.

What is your writing/blogging battle cry?

My blog was originally called Primitive Roads: navigating life’s unpaved paths. You can read the longer version, but basically I was inspired to start a blog during a major transition in our life and wanted a place to document the things that help me through the more rustic moments of life’s ever changing seasons.

Though I shifted to personal branding recently, the heart behind Primitive Roads still applies. I’m passionate about pursuing an intentional life in every season, recognizing that God is sovereign in every season. I want my writing to encourage others to embrace whatever season of life they’re in, both the macro and the micro seasons.

How does faith, writing, and motherhood intersect in your daily life?

When I get frustrated and bummed out that my ebook isn’t finished, that a post didn’t get written, or that my blog design is outdated, I have to return to the reality of what I know God has called me to in this season. The Lord has given me a precious son to love and care for, and everything else has to fit in around my faith and my family.

When I succeed in keeping my priorities straight, my choices are dictated by what would make me the best imitator of Christ and best wife/mom. Sometimes that looks like picking up the house, taking a nap, reading a book, or going for a walk instead of writing.

When I do choose to write, I want my words to be a source of encouragement, hope, and love.

4 thoughts on “Redefining “all in.” {Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing}

  1. Yeah, I’m finally getting a chance to get caught up on this series! I LOVE it. Now, to figure out how to get you in my feedly so I never miss another post…

    1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it – and I’m so glad you’re one of the perspectives!! Feedly wasn’t pulling my RSS feed for about a month because of a redirect issue, but it’s fixed now…

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