Welcome to Writing at the Table! A blog about navigating the sticky (sometimes literally) terrain of mothering and writing.
Who I am and what I do
My name is Dana Schwartz and I’m a writer, reader, stay-at-home-mom, and gluten free baker (though not a candle stick maker).
I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, probably soon after I became a reader. My parents used to let me read at the dinner table, a gesture I took for granted throughout my childhood and into adulthood – until I met people whose parents insisted they leave their books behind during meals. I was shocked, appalled, and then ever so grateful.
My mom died years ago so I can’t confirm this, but I think it’s fair to say she was proud of my love of reading, my devotion to stories – and to her ability to provide me with them.
Nowadays, I don’t read much at the table, but I write there. Sometimes at our kitchen table, a slab of white and gray marble that my husband mounted on stainless steel legs, often littered with toys, my daughter’s drawings, crusted over cereal bowls, mugs of half-finished coffee. Other times I write in my office.
Recently, I bought an antique desk. Well, I’m calling it a desk, but there are no drawers. Dark honey hued wood boards atop a trestle. Only recently did I realize it’s not a desk at all. It’s… a table.
The Journey (or, how the heck I do this while chasing children)
I haven’t always been a writing mom. After I had my first baby, I stopped. Not so shocking, since having a kid is mind blowing and life altering, to say the least. But when the first year of insanity passed and the proverbial sky cleared, somewhat, I had a hard time starting back up.
I’d dip my toes in the waters of my old life and yank them out. I went longer stretches between writing. I sat on the shore of my life and watched my boat drift away. The further it went, the longer the swim to retrieve it.
I realize now I was scared of failing. So I quit, thinking it would hurt less.
But I was wrong. It was worse. Not writing made me brittle, angry, and short-fused. I became a miserable person, partner, and mother.
For a while I didn’t know how to fix myself, how to find happiness and peace amid the chaos and monotony of motherhood. I felt guilty for not enjoying the moment more. After my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease at age three, I started a blog called celiac kiddo. It helped to write about our struggle and our gluten free journey – it helped to write. But I still hadn’t returned to my fiction roots.
Then one day, soon after my second child turned one, I started a story that had long simmered inside me. And for the first time since becoming a mom, I didn’t stop. I set aside time, I hired a babysitter. I made writing a priority.
Writing is a commitment, whether you have a family or not. There are days when I feel too tired, too brain drained to open my computer. Some days I let my boat drift away. But I try not to let it get too far. Nowadays I write whenever I can, as often as I can.
It’s a struggle, and one I’d rather not do alone – which is why I started this blog. I’d like this to be a place for mother writers, writing mothers to find support, sustenance, commiseration, and humor. I’ll post about the craft of writing, books, life with kids, and recipes. Because I feed my dream and my family. Every day.
My commitment to you lovely people
I’ll be posting here biweekly. Okay, so here’s an interesting fact (or annoying, depending on your state of mind) about the word “biweekly” – turns out, it has TWO totally different meanings. It can mean twice a week, or every other week.
Which actually makes a whole lot of sense to my life. Some weeks I can post twice, no problem, while others are so crazed I’m lucky to sneak one in every other. To offer some continuity, the posts will go up on Wednesdays.
If it pleases you…
Follow my blog, subscribe to my email list, or just stay a while. Let me know what you think! I promise to get back to you as quickly as life allows.