Friday, July 3, 2009

Meet Guest Blogger Elizabeth Meuller

Our guest bloggers are so amazing I just can't help wanting you all to see their posts as soon as possible! Keep the posts coming. Don't be shy! And we would love repeats too, just cuz you've already been a guest blogger doesn't mean we don't want you again!!

My name is Elizabeth Mueller. I am a mother of four kids ages 13, 10, 7 and 4 (every one of their birthdays is in the fall, so I thought I could get away with rounding off their ages)!
I have been writing for as long as I can remember along with my drawings that have inspired me as a child. I love to write anything with a romantic element woven throughout the plot. I have written six books that are cowering in my hard drive, some of them have successfully gone through the fingers of my alpha readers. I took a creative writing course in High School where we published a class magazine containing my art and poetry. National Poets Society published two of my poems and I have placed second in the Peach Days Writing Contest in 2008. I created a blog that feels a little bare—I haven’t been able to get into the groove of blog writing since it’s my very first one!

Where to begin?
Ever since my eldest child was two years of age, I created something wonderful. Quiet Time. For one hour, my kids spend quality alone time. They get to read, write, draw, play dolls, whatever they want as long as it doesn’t come with a screen). I am the exception to that rule since I am the mommy. I get on my laptop and write write write for that hour without interruption. My kids honor it to the letter and I am forever grateful for it.

Do you know how hard it is to stop a train from charging? That is how I feel a lot of the time when I am creating a story and the timer calls my precious quiet time to an end. But when it rings, most of the time I can force myself to stop as we all emerge from the bedrooms. Feeling refreshed!

After that, I can’t help but think about the plot I have just woven. The characters that are tapping their feet, waiting to come alive again when I crack open my computer after the kids are tucked away that night. I stay up until about 11:30pm —especially during the school nights. On the days that my four year old is in preschool, for those few precious moments, I write rather than clean! (So good to do that when there are no little voices calling out for help.)

There are times when I feel really torn. Mother or Writer? Which and when? Even when my kids are playing happily in the backyard for hours and hours and hours, I still feel guilty for cracking open my laptop. I always feel guilty when I do that. Even if they don’t need me because they are having way too much fun, I still think: I should be there with them. I should spend time with them right now. I should stop and smell the flowers with them. They are this age for a fleeting moment . . .

My obsessiveness over my writing got so bad one day that I cried into my husband’s shoulder one night. “How can I balance myself so that I don’t feel so guilty all the time? All I can do is think about my writing. I feel guilty even when the kids don’t need me, how should I do it?”

In my patriarchal blessing it urges me to seek the Lord’s work first and I will be rewarded. This is true for everyone as it says in the scriptures. I have been inspired on how to create opportunities for my writing. I found that investing in a laptop with our child tax credit opened up many avenues for me. I take it with me on long and short drives, visits to relatives who find me boring, to the park. I read somewhere that an author had her husband cart her around the grocery store so she could get some writing done. I tried that once—it was fun! (I was too engrossed in my writing to notice any stares).

Another thing that helps with my writing is praying and reading my scriptures before I write. I will not open my laptop until I’ve read my scriptures. I won’t write until the lesson is prepared for my Sunbeam class on my prep day. I won’t write until everyone is safely tucked away. I won’t write until I know I have done the things that are required of me. I am blessed with the discipline to keep my insatiable writing appetite at bay while the kids are up and about.

For the most part.

It can still a struggle, but I know that I can do it with the Lord’s help!
~Elizabeth Mueller

"Home should be the center of one's earthly experience,
where love and mutual respect are appropriately blended."
Elder L. Tom Perry


  1. Welcome Elizabeth! We are so glad you guest blogged with us!

    Sometimes I feel like our blog is like an AA meeting for writers.
    "Hello, My name is Nikki and I've been writing for a year and a half" This is the part where you all say..."Hello Nikki!"

    It truly is cathartic to know that other people are going through the same problems as us. The same mommy guilt, the same crazy balancing act, the same crazy voices in our heads. Thanks for making me feel normal...well sort of! (writers aren't generally normal to begin with I guess!!)

  2. Elizabeth, what a wonderful post. I'm so glad you came to visit today. I've had very similar problems trying to balance my writing and my family life. Sometimes I know I choose writing over spending quality time with my son just because the muse is screaming at me. I've tried to recognize when my son's needs are screaming louder, even if he isn't. Like you said, it is hard to balance.

    Great post. I hope you visit again soon.

  3. How to stop a train from charging...and the tug of war between being a mama & a writer. Ahhh, yes. You are disciplined to get the "to do's" done before writing. I often cheat and sneak writing a bit while the kids are brushing their teeth, etc.

    Glad to meet you, Elizabeth. I'm off to visit your blog now.

  4. What a great post! It is so hard to balance writing and children. Especially when they are small. It's so nice to meet you, and I look forward to hearing from you again!:)

  5. When I find the right balance, living and writing will be in perfect synergy. Writing will give me the energy to face life, and life will inspire me to write. I think if I had four to six hours to write every day, that would do it - ha ha! Maybe when the last child goes off to college.

    Thanks, Elizabeth, for reminding me to read my scriptures and pray before writing each day. I remember I used to do that last fall and it got me through some scary wrestling with feeling inadequate as a writer. Now I'm doing it again and things are going better already.

  6. LOL! You rode in a cart with your laptop? I'm so jealous!!! LOL! And join the club we all go crazy trying to balance writing and our families. It's a fun compromise though--the give and take of reality versus fiction! LOL! I think you've definitely found the secret --do your chores first BEFORE you play.

    Great post. Jenni

  7. Thank you so much for all the responses--wow, I feel so special! (I'm definately coming back for more.)
    It's good to hear that there are writers out there that are very much like me. If only we could all get together in person and share our mania, imagine the havoc we'd reek!

    Muahahaha! >:D

  8. Nice to meet you Elizabeth and thanks for sharing your story. I always nod my head in agreement when I read stories like yours. Sometimes it's hard to balance mother and writer, but I agree that when we get our priorities straight that we are blessed. Now, get those manuscripts out of hiding and let the world see them. :)

  9. Thank you Elizabeth for a great post. I will chime in on the same chord as many of the comments and say: It is comforting to know that I am not alone in my challenges and wishes to be the best mother and the best writer I can be.



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