Friday, September 6, 2013

Writing is Like Motherhood

by Mare Ball

The two things I'm most crazy about in life are: 

1.  Being a mom
2.  Writing
3.  Chocolate

OK, three things.

But, in the grand scheme of life, motherhood and writing really define me.  I knew from the time I was about eight I wanted to be a mom.  I discovered in junior high school I loved to write.  (I also discovered I did not have the legs for mini-skirts.)

My three children are now young adults, but I still squeeze them whenever I can and pray for them every day, that they will be constantly aware of how much God loves them and know that His plans for them will be more fulfilling than any harebrained ideas of their own.

My firstborn and me

I pray for my writing too - that my harebrained ideas will be filtered out so God can run the show there as well.  Writing is like mothering, in that I'm directing characters that sometimes have minds of their own. 

Motherhood and writing are both huge investments.  Long hours, sleepless nights, mistakes and do-overs.  Shaping character.  Big hopes and dreams.  Praying I get it right.

If I haven't talked to/seen my kids in a while, I get restless.  I just need to touch base, see if all is well.  Same thing with writing.  I have to transfer words to paper (or monitor) regularly, or I get cranky.  Life can spin so fast, sometimes I feel invisible.  Writing inserts a dowel into the bike spokes and halts everything.  It creates space in my head to think and reflect and imagine.

I remember feeding my children at three a.m. and feeling the same way.  Only the moon was up with me as I gently rocked my babies.  For half an hour, the world stopped, and I could think and remember and pray.   

Motherhood and writing have another thing in common: rejection.  We've all heard "I hate you!" from a wailing toddler.  Rejection letters feel the same way, even though they're on fancy letterhead.  The cut is deep, and we might just want to give up.  I don't know what I'm doing! I've thought more than once.  On both writing and motherhood.

Motherhood and writing are the same in my heart.  They are passionate, often tedious, rewarding, soul-searching endeavors.  They can make me cry and rejoice in the same day.

My desire for them is also the same:  I want the end product to honor God.


  1. I like this comparison. I don't know how many times I've heard authors say their characters feel like children to them.

  2. Exactly! Thanks for dropping a word. :-)

  3. Beautiful! Both are special callings given to us from God, and He will always help us with them if we let Him. :-)

  4. I love your sign-off, Mare, that you want both to honor God. I just read a YA novel that won all sorts of awards and acclaim, and I was shocked by graphic scenes and language that would offend me in far more adult novels. To find out that it's making its way into high school curriculum freaked me the heck out. (And I love the "Catcher in the Rye"s of the world). I prayed right then that the Lord would bless the efforts of those trying to write clean, uplifting novels so that the youth of this generation can have good alternatives to the "literary" rubbish out there. Here's praying for us all. :)

  5. Wonderfully written, Mare. And I think we say the same prayers. :)

  6. Katy, I agree with you that it's shocking what is being supported as honorable writing these days. As a society, we are on the slippery slope, getting used to more and more crass material. It wears us down bit by bit. We have to be vigilant and always weigh the world's efforts by what God sets as the standard. HIS standards don't change. Thanks for your thoughts.



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