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We who are about to breed: Amy Halloran.

August 22, 2011 \pm\31 12:00 pm

[In which WWAATD asks writers and other artist types about life as breeders/parents/kid-keepers.]

Name: Amy Halloran

1. What are your kids’ names, ages? 

Two boys, Francis who is 13, and Felix who is 8.

2. How do you balance your time between parenting and writing?

I defend my writing time and always have.  Whether I achieve balance, well, I’m not the one to ask!

3. What is the best piece of advice about being a parent and a writer?

Write about things that matter to you in your new role.  I got gigs to research co-sleeping when I wanted to understand the options, or, really, defend my choice.  I wrote essays about everything weird and wild that happened to me — like nursing — that I wanted to try to understand.  If you write novels, think about short stories or flash fiction — stuff you can squeeze out in a nap.  Most important, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have the time, energy and focus to work the way you used to.  As one parent said to me, just keep your pencils sharp.  Hone your powers of observation and hum words into your iPod while driving.  Eventually, you’ll get back to the desk.

4. How has your writing changed since becoming a parent?

I have been seduced by kid lit.  Re-reading the books that I loved as a kid made me write first picture books, and now longer things for kids.

Also, my focus has increased.  No other demand on me was ever so great.  Nothing ever made such time constraints.  So my creativity responded and I showed up for work with far less need to procrastinate. Now that the kids are older, of course, I can dilly dally again. Sometimes.

5. Tell us something we don’t know about you and being a writer-slash-parent.
My husband is phenomenally supportive of me and my work.  Having a cheerleader who can edit and cook is super helpful.  That he understands I’m not abandoning him when I dive into my writing is key.  I don’t know how people who don’t have artist type mates make it work.
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