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We who are about to breed: Steve Lowe.

August 23, 2011 \am\31 8:00 am

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

Name: Steve Lowe

1. What are your kids’ names, ages? 

My wife Michele and I have two sons – 13-year-old Alex and 12-year-old Isaac – and a 16-year-old foster daughter [name withheld due to pesky privacy laws] who we will soon become legal guardians of (it’s not exactly an adoption, but as close to it as you can get).

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

Well, this might seem like a political non-answer, but parenting is a 24-hour sort of thing. It’s more a matter of sneaking in wedges of time to write. Throw “balance” right out the window, dude. And I won’t bullshit you, it’s hard to find much time at all. It’s exponentially harder the younger the child(ren). The older my kids get, the easier it is to find pockets of time to barricade myself in a quiet part of the house and try to get some work done, but with a newborn? You better get used to writing a couple hundred words during naptime if you want to write at all. The other option is to find a job that allows for time during the workday to get some writing done. I know this guy, I won’t name names (it’s me), but he has such a job that makes it possible for him to occasionally steal an hour here or there to write if the mood so strikes him (it’s me).

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

The best advice I can give is (if you’re married/in a relationship) to talk to your spouse/partner about finding time for you to work. Negotiate it. Don’t be the suffering artist asshole who can “only write when I’m INSPIRED!” Don’t be that person. That person is not an adult. Work out a time, and then do your best to make it count – be prepared to make that time count. Know what you’re going to work on before you get that slice of quiet work time, so you don’t sit there wasting it staring at a blank computer screen or notebook page. And if you’re truly not inspired to write when the time comes, then go play with your kid instead. Your wife will think you’re a fucking hero, and it might just get you laid that week. (MIGHT…)

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

The biggest thing that has changed is that I’m becoming more professional about it, I think. Like I mentioned above, I avoid situations where I feel like the tortured artist, full of angst and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments because the words… just… won’t… come… I try to prepare for a writing session. I take notes here and there and try to organize them. I have begun to use outlines. (Note – this is more for longer works than for short story writing, etc.) That way, when I do set aside a specific time for writing, I can actually get some work done. It was an adjustment at first, but it really has helped me.

5. Tell us something we don’t know about you and being a writer-slash-parent.

I don’t think I would have become a writer without first becoming a parent. I was finally inspired to get off my ass and work for something. It took that sudden flood of responsibility, the knowledge that I was now tasked with guiding new, helpless little humans toward respectable adulthood (read: anything but mass murderers) to make me realize that I had to get my own shit together first. Whether I’ve accomplished that is debatable, but that’s a different interview. Or to put it another way, my children are directly responsible for the creation of a book that includes, among other things, multiple boner jokes, talking sheep and the sage wisdom of Terry Bradshaw. Nice going, assholes. (I can call them assholes because they’re over the age of 10. You can legally do that once they get past 10. It’s state law in Indiana.)

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