International Children’s Book Day is around the corner! While you’re settling in to read a book (or six) to a child in your life, remember this: The skills that make you a great writer can also make you a great parent! Share this list with the writers—and parents—you know!
Why Parents Make Great Writers (And Vice Versa)
1. We can go with the flow. Whether we’re adjusting day-trip plans on the fly, accommodating a child’s sudden illness, or getting a literary agent response that says “we’re going to go in a different direction”—we can roll with the punches.
2. We make the most of whatever sleep we can get. Parents are no strangers to 3:00 AM wake-up calls from a toddler who needs a hug after a nightmare; or from an idea that needs to be jotted down ASAP. So we wake up, do what needs to be done, and get back to counting sheep.
3. We get serious about research. Peanut allergies? Potential agents? We know the best way to tackle a problem is to learn everything there is to learn about it, then make a plan. And the best way to get agents, editors, and readers to take us seriously is to know our stuff.
4. We sweat the small stuff. A good parent pays attention to every detail, from finding a car seat with all the latest safety features to noting the list of ingredients in our child’s cereal. And that persnickety attitude makes us better proofreaders as we embrace our inner nerd.
5. We treasure curiosity and wonder. Whether it’s from the point of view of our preschooler or our readers, we love seeing the world through new eyes.
6. We’re exceedingly patient. With parenting and writing careers, patience is essential.
7. We understand that a rough patch is “just a phase.” Teething, potty training, and driving lessons can make you want to tear your hair out. So can getting your umpteenth rejection. We take comfort knowing that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
8. We know the value of five minutes. B.C. (Before Children) we were convinced that a person couldn’t get much done in only five spare minutes. A.D. (After Daddy-hood), we understand just how full a minute can be if you use it right. And for busy writers, the ability to effectively organize time is essential.
9. We relish a little nonsense now and then. Like Shakespeare, we know the value of a good laugh. What better way to deal with temper tantrums in public places or grumpy writer group critiques?
10. We follow our instincts and our hearts. Whether we’re dealing with our kids’ trouble-making friends or crafting a great ending for a piece we’re writing, we trust ourselves to handle it appropriately.
11. We persevere. Sometimes, we want to give up—but we don’t. Parenting or writing, we find a way to do things we previously thought were impossible. We keep going.
QUESTION: Add your voice to our comments section. What do you think is a trait that great writers and great parents have in common?