Motherhood, The Writing Life, and Asking For The $$$

Several seemingly unrelated (potentially, to you) thoughts here that make perfect sense in my addled mind.

I just ordered The Elements of Style, which is de rigueur for any writer. Not only have I not read it (the horror!), but worse, I feel like a dunce for not knowing that the “White” of  Strunk and White is none other than E.B. White… one of my very favorite childhood authors. (Re-reading The Trumpet of the Swan recently with my 8 year old gave me the shivers from nostalgia.)

This year I told myself that in addition to other bloggy goals, I wanted to work on becoming a better writer. One of the reasons I focus on writing with my children’s homeschool is because I’m giving them the writing education I wished I had received. Which makes no sense, really. But who said mommy brains were logical?

I loved this blog post at Classical Quest about Harriet Beecher Stowe, who managed to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin while raising a passel of kids. I feel a kindred spirit in Stowe, who: had 7 kids and wrote early in the mornings so as to afford some domestic help so she could write more.

It’s also encouraging that, like so many mom writers, she had to write in bits and pieces. She wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin in forty installments. People keep telling me I should write a book, and I have already written several ebooks for the internet, but can’t seem to crank one out now.

And then I got the nicest email from Crystal Paine. Yeah, that Crystal Paine, a celebrity in the mommy – wait… no, in the blogging world, period.

She said I should write an ebook about “How To _ The _ _ On A _”. (You don’t think I’m going to tell you the title?! Then you might be able to hold me accountable!)

And she said I was an expert in that area.

And then I got excited for oh, about 24 hours and made a huge page of notes and began thinking of how much I’ve already written on that topic, meaning I could basically cut, paste and edit to create another marketable product.

And then The Resistance sets in. And I know all about The Resistance because I’ve read the book.

“I can’t write about that. I’m not really an expert. I’m not really doing that great in that area. I don’t have large blocks of time to write right now and it’s not gonna work and I’ve got mommybrain and I’m tired and blahblahblah…”

And this is where my chest goes all tight and it’s kinda hard to breathe.

And then I read 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron (wonderful tips by the way, already putting them to use) which led me to her blog where I watched this TED talk from Amanda Palmer.

Yeah, that Amanda Palmer (I don’t recommend Googling her name if you have kids in the room). And the video was awesome, it actually brought tears to my eyes, because I totally GET what she is saying about how artists (and a writer is an artist) have a hard time asking for the money.

Because at the bottom of all this writing anxiety is that.

Asking for the money has always been very difficult for me.

And at the bottom of the problem called “Can’t ask for the money” is the problem called “I’m not good enough.”

Even if Crystal Paine thinks I am.

(And I realized that when I was creating my information products and earning a full time income from my writing, it was when I was divorced and had kids to feed. It’s funny how fast your “stuff” dries up when you have that financial imperative.)

What are some of your thoughts on being a mom and a writer? Who inspires you, what challenges do you experience and how have you overcome those?

P.S. Many things inspired this post, in part this article on being a writer with a kid hangover

About Carrie

Happy wife, homeschooling mom of many, autodidact, best-selling Amazon author, blogger, head chef and barefoot walker. Residing just outside Atlanta, usually found reading a book while sipping a hot beverage.


  1. I loved every word of this.

    Yes, yes, yes to Amanda Palmer. When we were in Chicago recently–a city with actual street performers–I couldn’t stop thinking of her and her TED talk. (Also, cracking up at your google warning. Touché.)

    And yeah, I’m pretty sure you need to write that ebook. Even if you’ve cruelly withheld the title from us. :)

    When you finish The Elements of Style, grab yourself a copy of On Writing Well. (Unless you already have?) Those two books belong together.

  2. After giving it up after DS’ birth, I recently got back into writing novels early this year. I self-publish on Kindle, and I charge $2.99 for everything (and for several non-fiction pieces, as well). I don’t have a problem asking for $$$ for something I put a lot of time and energy into.

    On the other hand, I chose that price in direct rebellion toward the general Internet Marketing e-book pricing which IMO is usually a rip-off. $27 for 100 pages? $17 for 25 pages? I don’t think so! I better shut up, or I’ll really go off on it. ;)

  3. @Emily – and yet, perhaps we can learn something from those internet marketers :-) Mom bloggers in general are too eager to give away their time for a free product, or for a pittance. If someone will buy that $27 ebook, who’s to say the author shouldn’t charge it?

  4. @Anne – thanks for that recommendation. I will!

  5. People have always told me to write a book too, and I’ve written a few stories for children, but I’ve never gotten them published. My audience has only been my five kids, their friends and my former childcare kids. The problem with me wasn’t really finding the time, but that I wasn’t good enough, therefore I surely don’t ask for money with my writing. It’s funny I never had a problem setting a price for my former daycare business, or any service I provided, but I couldn’t open my mouth up about my art. Well anyways, great post and now I’ll check out this TED video.

  6. @Shelly Perhaps we can support each other then! I’m in the process of writing my first ebook for Kindle/the Amazon marketplace. I’m going to price my first one low, $2.99 and then brainstorm other topics. I know several people who are doing Kindle ebooks and I’m so inspired by their example.

    What’s the next step for you? :-)

    I felt very underconfident about it at first, but decided to just IGNORE those feelings and do it anyway.