- Victoria M. Patton
How Being A Parent Prepared Me For Being An Author
Updated: May 2
I've never really asked myself the question, who do I want to be? Or better yet, what do I want to do?
When I was in the military, I wanted to be a Forensic Chemist. Once I achieved that goal, life kind of threw a few curve balls, and five years after I was married, I was expecting my daughter.
At the time, my husband and I decided whoever made the most money would work, the other would stay at home. And just like that, I became a stay at home mom. Thirteen months after my daughter’s birth, my son was born. I had two babies under two…I considered throwing myself in front of a bus.
Don’t get it twisted. I love my kids. But I definitely never wanted to be a mother. To be honest, I don’t like kids. Those creepy little creatures like to touch you with icky fingers. They always want to kiss you with wet, gooey lips. Yuck. I remember my kids would waddle over and take a sip of my drink. I would cringe and shudder at what particles would be left floating across the surface.
Now, by this time, I had seen dead bodies, dismembered bodies, bodies dredged out of Lake Superior, soupy and dripping through the body basket. Yet, when my flesh and blood walked away from my cup, I threw up a little in my mouth.
I never wanted to be a parent, and yet here I am.
I know as a stay at home mother I contribute to this family with the many jobs I do. But sometimes my psyche plays tricks on me and makes me feel unimportant and unsuccessful in life.
Guess what? Being a writer/author does the same thing, LOL!
I never planned on being a writer, and yet here I am.
I know I’m a good writer. But for a long time, I had a few people try and convince me otherwise. The sad thing, I believed them for a hot minute.
But my desire to write was too powerful to quit and walk away from. So, I kept on writing and eventually became an indie author/publisher. Once I published my books, I began to get feedback from readers. Over time, something happened. I began to BELIEVE in my abilities as a writer.
It’s hard though. I’m not going to lie. There will always be someone who makes a comment that will have you questioning your abilities. But for every one of those, there are five comments that will encourage you. (All this kind of sounds like parenting.)
If you're an author, traditional or indie, you'll have to believe in yourself. Sometimes you'll be the only one who does. Even your own family may not support you and your decisions. You'll have to be your biggest fan.
Just like parenting, being an author has messed with my psyche. I've questioned why I continue to write and publish. When I average out my time spent on each book, from the first draft to published, I literally make .25 cents an hour. (Update: 2021 I'm making more than that...it finally paid off.)
Why do I do this? I ask myself. Usually, when I’m struggling with a story or plot line. Funny, I ask myself this same question when I’m struggling with trying to make my kids productive members of society. Which sometimes, I feel I'm failing miserably at that.
And then, what happens? My kids look at me and say, ‘thank you,’ or ‘I love you’ in PUBLIC, or ‘you’re a great mom’...refreshing my outlook and making me almost thankful I have kids.
The same thing happens with that one awesome review of your book. You'll reread it, bypassing the shitty review from a would-be hack book reviewer. You'll find yourself smiling as you read someone say, ‘this is my new favorite author, I can’t wait to read more.’
You'll sit at your computer and type with renewed invigoration until the next time you get a shitty review, or you can’t come up with a solution to your plot problem.
Again, I remind you, don’t give up. Take a step back. Remember why you started this journey in the first place. Whatever you do, don’t stop writing. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Be your own best cheerleader.
Now, if you have teens or kids of any age…keep the shovel handy.
If I can offer any assistance just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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