Article by Rebecca Reid, Author of ‘The Coop’
Being a mother is a full time job. We all know that the second it happens to us, and I mean that quite literally, from the moment your baby joins the outside world, you are fully employed in a life long career of caring. I certainly realised it when I gave birth to my eldest daughter half way through my final year at university. Who would have known that that year would have brought about so many changes in not just me, but my life.
Writing had been a passion of mine since I fell ill at just fourteen and was removed from school. It vented the social life in my head, a not so realistic one I might add. When my health recovered the writing hit the back burner for a few years while I muddled my way through. Even my first two and a half years of studying English at university seem a blur of writing to formula and rule rather than anything that evoked passion. Then came the change. I returned to university leaving my 6mth old behind, to find they had designed a module in creative writing. At last, I cried. My final submission was the seed of what has become the ‘Thickets Wood Trilogy’.
When university was finally over I took a few months off to enjoy being a mummy without any pending submission dates or late night cramming sessions. It was just our little family. Then I got the nag. Sounds strange I know, the nag, but that’s what I call it and that’s what it is. It isn’t a voice, or a steam train plot line; it is simply a thought that I can’t quite grasp nagging away in the back of my mind. I recognise it now as my cue to begin working on a manuscript, but back then, I just felt I had to write.
Arrangements had to be made; I had to work. Being a working mother is never easy but being a working mother from home I found particularly hard. Not simply because, in my case, your child is just next door with Granny but because the laundry pile is looming in the corner, the ingredient for dinner are in the fridge, then there’s the beds to change. I had to learn to switch off and disconnect and I had to learn fast or this book was going nowhere.
I set myself a working week of three mornings, 9am-1pm. Long enough to get something done but not so long that I felt I was missing out on mummy-hood (or expecting too much from Granny day care). It took a week or so to adjust but with determination I stuck with it and it worked. Within six months my first novel ‘The Coop’ was written. Then came pregnancy number two. I sat down, heavily hormonal, cramming chocolate into my mouth and looked at what I had achieved and what I still had to do. It didn’t take much to see I had seven months maximum before I would need to stop and focus on the ever-growing bump. Seven months, one more novel, there were no ifs or buts – it was going to happen.
‘Thickets Wood’ was completed before baby number two joined the Reid household. This time I decided I was taking six months off before even contemplating writing book 3. As many of you know, the jump from one baby to two; is massive. At least they weren’t both in nappies; that joyous experience was kept for my third time around the reproductive fairground.
I made it to four months when I was guided toward an agent that I felt had to see my work. The contract was signed and boom, the night shift started again, only this time in the form of editing. Granny day care kicked in within a month and I was back at it, this time with pre-school runs and a baby. Pregnancy number three came within the next five months when book 3, ‘Cherry and Ivan’ was less than half way through. Now this was a tough one. Never before had I had such an awful pregnancy. Constant sickness, migraines, exhaustion, but it wasn’t going to beat me. I knew if I stopped mid way through a plot, there would be no getting it back; I had to complete it, even if it killed me, and I did.
The littlest Reid is now only nine months old and my debut novel ‘The Coop’ has just been launched on Amazon. Yes, books 2 and 3 are both in need of a good edit, night shift no doubt but I can feel it, the nag, it’s been there for a while now so something tells me Granny’s going to be getting a knock at the door shortly.
‘The Coop’ by Rebecca Reid is available to download on Amazon. A psychological thriller about the destruction of innocence.
Follow me on Facebook – rebeccareid.thicketswood
Twitter – @thicketswood
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