Write Like A Mother

Over the weekend I posted this picture on Instagram.

writing desk

It was taken at 7am on Sunday of last week after being woken up at 5:45am by my kid and cat. They often do a tag team on me in the morning, and after years of attempting to fall back asleep, only to rise grumpily an hour or less later, I decided to just get up and write.

I’ve been doing it for over a week now and it’s been kind of life changing. I don’t set an alarm (because I don’t need to, thank you kid and cat) and some days I “oversleep,” which means I get up a little past 6am, but regardless of the time, I stumble out of bed, grab some coffee, and head to my office. My daughter knows not to enter until 7am (thank you Netflix) and when she does I greet her with a smile.

But this post isn’t about advocating early rising, though don’t knock it till you try it.

This post is about being seen.

Getting back to my Instagram photo, I wrote a brief caption describing my new routine and even threw in a hashtag, #writinglikeamother – a big departure for me since hashtags usually stress me out. I have a hard enough time coming up with catchy titles for my short stories and essays.

Shortly after posting, I received a comment from a writer and teacher I admire, Jena Schwartz, co-founder of The Inky Path (where I’m currently enrolled in an incredible 14-day writing prompt course). She responded with, “Love love love love love.”

I stopped where I was in my kitchen and just felt such warmth, and this phrase popped in my head: I’m not alone.

Writing is such a solitary act, well, most of the time, and it’s easy to feel invisible, unseen. Sending out my photo was a way of connecting, of reaching out. The comments I received on Instagram and Facebook made me feel less alone. This is why I do this: blogging, social media, and posting pictures of my desk for crying out loud.

But let’s be real here – there’s a fine line between seeking support and falling into the black hole of Facebook. I know (ahem) from personal experience. The key for me has been finding balance and knowing my triggers.

It’s pretty obvious when I’ve spent too much time online. I start getting twitchy and anxious. Suddenly, people’s announcements about essays and publishing deals make me feel edgy and competitive. That’s when I step away and remind myself about the wisdom I gleaned from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, which is: there is enough for all of us

I believe in that, wholeheartedly, and yet I find myself whispering those words out loud every few days. I’m currently working on a book length project, and there is no immediate recognition or acknowledgment in that, and if I’m completely honest, there may never be. I can’t know or control what will happen to my work, but I know I must do it regardless.

So, my question is, will you do it with me? Will you write like a mother? You don’t even have to be a literal mother, just a writer or an artist with other obligations that pile up in the summer months. Let’s face it, we all have other obligations, it’s called LIFE.

kids summer

My life, my summer.

I already know my summer solo time is going to be minimal, and I’m okay with that, but I want to make the most of the time I can squeeze out. Like mornings. Maybe for you it’s after work, or late at night.

If you’re not too hashtag averse (like I was), consider taking a picture of your workspace before, during, or after you put in some time and tag it #writinglikeamother and I will send whatever support I can (hearts, likes, kind words) your way.

There’s no competition here. This isn’t one of those write-every-day challenges (which for me is a set up for failure) and there’s no need to log in word counts or even describe what you’re working on (unless you want to).

If you want to follow me on blah blah social media, the links are on the right sidebar, or send me a note with your info and I’ll follow you, writingatthetable@gmail.com.

How about we hold each other up when we need holding. Let’s be witnesses for the work we’re doing, even when no one else is looking. Let’s be seen together.

Dana xoxo


I’m so pleased to be part of Writing Bubble’s wonderful link-up. Come by, take a look, and perhaps join in!








39 thoughts on “Write Like A Mother

  1. Oh, that Elizabeth Gilbert knows how to give some good advice! I’m new to blogging and find it EXTREMELY difficult to balance the social media aspect with my writing. Love your hashtag idea!


  2. Absolutely adore this, Dana. I will have to juggle writing with summer responsibilities and so when I can, I will certainly participate. Love #writinglikeamother! xo


    • Thank you Rudri! Summer is a tough juggle for family and writing time, but combining my new AM habit with your poignant reminders to savor the every day, I think it will unfold the way it should.


  3. So much truth here. I too find it extremely hard to find the right balance between using social media and blogging to feel not alone and being obsessed with it. So glad I’m reading this post of yours, that means my time on social media wasn’t spent in vain today 🙂 Love the hashtag and will definitely participate this summer, as i’m in the same boat!


    • Thank you so much for reading and chiming in, Tanya! Oh, the balance sure is hard. Sometimes I find myself almost in a trance as I scan FB and no clue how time has flown by. That’s why I never log on in the AM before I write, otherwise I’m sunk. So glad to have met you via Jena’s group and looking forward to reading more of your words.


  4. I am so glad you wrote this; there’s such truth and beauty in your words. That connection you seek is the very one I seek, we seek. I remember an exchange that I had with the amazing Jena during one of her writing groups. She wrote (and I paraphrase) ‘we all want to be witnessed’. These beautiful and true words like a salve on the balm of this solitary writer’s heart.


  5. I loved this!! I only lurk on instagram, never post, but this *almost* makes me want to be part of the fun. I just got some stuff done after the kids’ bedtime, but the truth is, it’s only b/c I have a presentation to give and if I don’t prepare my talk, I will look like a doofus… It is so hard when there is no accountability. Which is why I am extra impressed that you’re beginning this journey. It is so hard for me to delay gratification. I have so much respect for what you’re doing!!! Here’s to a productive and fun and sunshine and swimming pool and popsicle (allergen-free of course!) summer:)


    • Ha, I love that you’re a lurker, Pam, but I’d really love to see a glimpse of your writing life! I also work best when I have a deadline or a reason, but as this summer rapidly approaches, and my goals and dreams seem to be multiplying, I realize I’m going to have to step up a bit if I want to accomplish even a small percentage of what I’d like. Here’s to a summer of swimming and writing and basking and popsicle eating – allergen free, of course, ha!!


  6. I need to stop reading people’s blog posts and get some writing done so I can join in with your #writelikeamother! Love this idea. You’re right, community is really good for inspiration and support.


    • Oh, believe me, I know. I feel like there is never enough time to catch up on reading all the blogs I love, and also making sure to honor my own writing. Glad to have you on board to write like a mother! Looking forward to reading your words 🙂


  7. I’ve been thinking a lot about this very thing; how the work we do is often invisible and unacknowledged. Not only as writers but as mothers, too. It’s so nice to be seen, isn’t it? My daily practice is flagging with the stress of the upcoming cross-country move, but I will join you when you can! xo


    • Writing can be so invisible, especially if we’re not publishing on a regular basis. I also love your addition of the invisibility of motherhood, which is actually a topic I’m writing about right now! Be gentle with yourself regarding your move and limited time, as a person who has moved quite a bit, I know how hard it can be. You will have more time when you’re newly settled.


  8. I’m always in awe of anyone who can drag themselves out of bed early and write! I’m far too lazy to sacrifice my bed for writing. I tend to do most of my writing in the afternoon and even then it’s a bit sporadic. I need to be more disciplined about it, far too lax lately and the poor old novel has suffered. I need a writing retreat, whether real of fake, to get me back on track.


    • Believe me, Johanne, I was in awe of those writers too, and still am since I don’t set my alarm for 5am! But mornings are the closest to a sure thing as I can get, especially this summer with the kids mostly at home. A writing retreat sounds divine! I hope you find one. Have you heard about this, http://www.artistresidencyinmotherhood.com, it’s like a DIY home retreat plan.


  9. Count me in too! This totally inspired me and I missing someone in my life who understands what I do and not say I’m just doing nothing that will come to nothing hence making it a waste of time! I’ll make sure to follow you so I can #writelikeamother #whatimwriting


  10. I love this! So much. Except the getting-up-early part. (Big Magic is awesome, IMO.) Love the thought of connection and holding each other up because, despite the “social” in social media, I often don’t feel it.

    Out of curiosity, why don’t you like hashtags? I used to say I wouldn’t use them (or emojis) but… 🌸🌼🌺 #sorrynotsorry 😜


    • Thanks Sarah! Yeah the getting up early part is still painful. But if I’m already awake I might as well be drinking coffee and writing 🙂 I think my hashtag aversion grew from other people’s overuse, but probably more from my inability to be as clever!

      Sent from my iPhone


      Liked by 1 person

  11. Best part of the day Dana when its just me and the cows and birds. The kids break the silence and I know its time to get moving. I have no idea how to use hash tags in instigram maybe one day I will google it, like I do everything. Have a great summer as I slap on a beanie and scarf here.


    • Well, Kath, I’m still going strong on the early mornings, and I LOVE them more than I ever thought possible. The birds, oh the birds, they are so chatty and beautiful. If you have Instagram, using a hashtag just means putting the hash mark (#) in front of a series of words, like this: #writinglikeamother And then all it does is enable anyone to search using that phrase. So if you put that hashtag in the comments section of your picture, it will come up when I search for it. It’s mostly for fun and solidarity 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I missed this last week as we were away, but I absolutely love it! I found myself nodding along at everything you say about social media – for me too it is an essential part of my existence as a writer in this sometimes solitary world, but all too often I let myself fall into the black hole… Having said that I love a good hashtag so will most definitely be joining in 😉 xx


    • Sophie, thank you so much! Your post was the tipping point for me (which I linked to in my previous post). I am so grateful to you, because you really clarified for me the fact that going back to sleep DID NOT actually make me feel better, in fact, I’d feel worse. It has been awesome. So great seeing you join in on the hashtag fun 🙂


  13. So, so late to this party (what’s that you were saying about solo time to do what you want? *laughing*) but yes, I so get this. I love getting up early (when I can) to write and have private creative time. It’s so valuable and early morning is such a good time for it. And yes, it helps so much to know that we’re all in it together. We were talking about this in my ladies FB group recently… (I admin a business group that seeks to support/help each other in our creative business endeavors.) …that although we all talk about failure being necessary, we don’t own and/or make those failures public. I think it’s related in that talking about the struggle to squeeze time out to write/paint/dance/make/whatever is a conversation that we’re just starting to have.


  14. Pingback: How I Overcame Writer Guilt & How You Can, Too - Wit & Travesty

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