HELP!!!! How do #authors with kids EVER write ANYTHING?

HELP!!!! How do #authors with kids EVER write ANYTHING?

This week I have written exactly two things and this is one of them, the other was a post for my “mommy blog”. The third book in the Sophie Morgan series is currently an outline, a detailed one, but an outline nonetheless. Since I had my baby three and a half months ago I’ve added around two pages of actual text to it – by that I mean words which mean things, that include hard thought and craft, rather than “Sophie goes here and picks up a thing and then wotshername comes in and says this… must think of name for wotshername… but she should definitely be a brunette….”.  I have ideas for books and short stories coming out of my proverbial ears but no time. No time I tell you! My “to be read”sleeping-32750_1280 list is growing at a rate that I should be ashamed of. I open my kindle in bed and within seconds I’ve dozed off until the sound of the little one wakes me for his feed.
I have really good intentions. People say “sleep when baby sleeps” but I think “write when baby sleeps.” Yet for all my good intentions it doesn’t happen. What happens instead is baby clothes get laundered, online shopping gets done, I shower and if I’m very lucky I get to have a drink that’s hot. Now and again I’ll log in and check my social media to keep thing ticking over.  I’ve a book launch and  virtual Facebook parties and all sorts to promote or do things for. When I get up at 1am to do a night feed, I check my emails from my publisher and check in on the marketing plan for the republication of the first two “Sophie Morgan” books. There is no time for creative thinking. I feels relentless. Impossible. Looking at what I’ve written so far, I suspect that my brain has largely stopped working. I’m an extra from the Walking Dead, dialing in my writing so I can say I’ve done something but I suspect I’m beginning to know how to spell. I’m enjoying my time with my amazing baby boy. We have lots of fun and play and have met some wonderful mums and do lots of activities. At two months old he even started swimming. I wouldn’t swap it for ANYTHING. But at the same time I find myself chastising myself for watching that 40 minute TV show as I should be writing (albeit I watch in it numerous 5-10 minute chunks, often the same chunk multiple times).
Thankfully I’ve pushed back my ridiculously short, self imposed deadline for a draft to be with my editor. I thought I’d manage to at least write a couple of pages a day – that’s realistic I thought. Is it heck! What am I doing wrong? The way I look at it, there are simply too few hours in the day and I’m barely doing the basics of things not directly baby related eg. cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene (okay the last one was a joke but you get my drift).
So my question is how do you do it? How do you manage to fit in writing with a new baby? I’m lucky that I’m on maternity leave at the moment from the “day job” but when I go back I have no idea how I’ll fit it in at all! Now I know you guys have done it, or at least some of you have. What’s the secret? I know there must be one.

Helen Treharne

I’m Helen Treharne, fiction author an creator of The Sophie Morgan Vampire Series. I live in South Wales with my husband, young son and rescue cat.
My books are available at all major digital retailers with soft back copies also available from Amazon, Createspace and other stores.
When I’m not writing fiction, I blog at, sharing my experiences of being a busy parent jugging working, writing, and more. Follow me there for my personal insights.


  1. January 23, 2016 / 1:23 pm

    I have two daughters and I struggle. I am an early morning and evening writer. I also have a demanding full time job which doesn’t help. Sounds like you are doing a great job!

  2. January 23, 2016 / 1:26 pm

    I am trying to. I am usually a mid morning writer which is smack in the middle of playtime. I need to train myself to write in the evening I think, when it’s bedtime and between feeds. Yet when evening comes the lure of a hot drink and slipping into some clean nght clothes is pretty overwhelming. With two girls, you’ve motivated me a bit – it can be done!

  3. January 23, 2016 / 2:24 pm

    I think you are doing a lot for someone with an infant! Give yourself a break! When he gets a bit bigger, and you are back to work, I suggest super early morning writing. I get up at 4:30 and block out 30 minutes a day. It isn’t much, but it adds up. Good luck to you. Enjoy!

    • January 23, 2016 / 3:08 pm

      Thanks. I suppose like many new parents whatever you do feels insufficient. I like your idea of the early start and I may try that. Even 30 minutes would be great as when focused I can usually pack quite a lot in. We’re trying to mater the art of the afternoon nap at the moment so hopefully that should give me some time in the afternoon – if I can be disciplined and use that only as writing time that is. I am looking forward to my next project which will be a collection of short stories with ancillary characters from my series. It will be good to have some smaller chunks to do which are self contained and will seem less overwhelming!

      • January 23, 2016 / 3:14 pm

        I just finished reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It reminded me of why I write…not for the end result, but because I love it, and it feeds my soul! It really inspired me, and gave me some sorely needed perspective. I had been looking at writing as something I “should” be doing, and hanging all my future success on the hopes that it would be my golden ticket one day. I forgot that it was the most wonderful gift I had ever been given, no matter what ever came of it. So now I am writing like a maniac again. In 30 minute chunks, anyway. Lol.

  4. January 23, 2016 / 3:22 pm

    I was thinking the same thing recently, about how to find time to write and market my books, with a young family at home. I sometimes feel like i’m running around in circles. You have just had a baby though, so you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself!
    I often write notes while waiting to collect my children from school or after school clubs. Even a few scribbled ideas for a new story while your son is asleep could be a book idea at a later date, when you’re less exhausted!

  5. January 23, 2016 / 3:40 pm

    It’s funny you should say that. I strongly suspect the notes function on my phone and a good old fashioned notepad in my nappy bag will become my best friends. I’ve some ideas scribbled down and in time I know I can make some things of these. Occasionally stopping for a coffee when out between baby groups etc has been great for scribbling down a few notes. I’ve the third book in my series to finish (thanks to taking random notes as and when during my pregnancy ,when baby brain made any long period of concentration impossible, has meant I at least have the main story mapped out). I’ve now got some ideas for a collection of short stories which will act as a fourth. They need work and some were jotted down at 4am in the morning so don’t really make much sense, but at least they’re things to revisit. It’s lovely to get all these ideas and tips from people. It fills me with hope buy more importantly is a great reality check. I lean towards unrealistic expectations!

    • January 23, 2016 / 6:06 pm

      You’re doing pretty well already with three books and outlines for short stories! I’m at a similar stage with three books completed and a children’s book layout underway. I still feel like I should be writing in my sleep. I forgot to say I have reblogged on You’re not the only one with ‘baby brain’ and my children are over the age of 10!

      • January 23, 2016 / 6:10 pm

        Thanks for the reblog Lizzie. I suspect I will have baby brain until it transitions seamlessly into senility. I can barely string a sentence together most days ☺️

  6. January 23, 2016 / 5:23 pm

    Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    I should count myself lucky that I’m in the ‘can’t happen’ category so far as having my own kids go… However, with an ailing mum/great grandma, I’m now the ‘de facto’ Head of the Clan material and I guess things are going to get bumpy now with the 2nd generation at prime ‘sprogging up’ age! Will be bending all your ears very soon I suspect!

  7. January 23, 2016 / 5:40 pm

    Reblogged this on The GUNDERSTONE review and commented:
    I have four kids, I commute to NYC for work five hours a day, (2.5 hours each way – door to door), I am involved civically in my hometown (I serve on the Wallingford Town Council), and I am blessed with 36 hours in each day.
    My deadlines slip too 🙂
    Set goals for yourself in anything you do, but blow them for the important things… like sitting in a chair with your kids and “wasting time”.

    • January 23, 2016 / 5:46 pm

      I love “wasting time” with my little one and largely why things slip. This time is so precious. I love to write and it is of course lovely to have another income stream, but the “Little Dude” will always be my priority. You’re very lucky to have 36 hours a day! I strongly suspect that someone is changing the clocks in our house as the time is going inexplicably fast lol! I think I will have to say goodbye to housework in favour of baby and writing and even give conversation with my husband a look in 😀

      • January 23, 2016 / 5:51 pm

        I think I have a wife somewhere… someone made me something to eat last night and my daughter is only 10 and adept at bologna sandwiches so far.

        • January 23, 2016 / 5:54 pm

          You’re doing something right if she’s still bringing you food! Occasionally cups of tea appear. Husband knows that my only chance of drinking it hot is if it comes in a Thermos beaker now. At least I scaled back on my volunteering and charity work when I was pregnant. Heaven knows how you fit that in too. You must be some sort of bionic man!

          • January 23, 2016 / 6:57 pm

            Captain America 😉

  8. January 23, 2016 / 6:15 pm

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    For me, it’s always been after they’ve fine to bed or when I can fit time in. It’s not easy, but you can do it.

    • January 23, 2016 / 6:19 pm

      I am hopeful that now little one is getting into more of a routine those naps and sleep time will be my saviour! It will certainly be easier than when he was waking every two hours. I have such a new level respect for people who are parents and combine any sort of work, especially those based at home or self employed who must find it extremely hard to be pulled away. I feel very reassured by everyone’s comments and particularly that writing time can be achieved with a little determination and flexibility and not some sort of rigid timetable.

  9. January 23, 2016 / 7:48 pm

    Hi Helen. I remember those days. Now my kids are 5 and 7. Lucky for me, both my babies slept like logs. My little one would be out from 8:30 to 6 in the morning starting around 8 weeks old. My son always woke up earlier, like around 5:30. What I did was write until about 11 or so, maybe later. I would do some work on my lunch breaks too. Now, I wake up at 4 am. I write for an hour every morning then I get ready for the day. It’s hard. Especially when you have ideas swimming in your brain and you can’t do anything about it. Eventually you will get a moment though. Hang in there. Erika

    • January 23, 2016 / 8:18 pm

      Thanks Erika. I agree that staying up and also getting up early is the key. Baby often goes back to sleep after this first feed and I could probably get an hour in then. He’s starting to sleep through the night more now so I am definitely less exhausted in the morning. Note to self: take laptop to bed for early morning activity!

  10. January 27, 2016 / 5:08 pm

    I don’t even have a child and I’m struggling to balance work vs writing, so I have no advice to give!
    I guess my only thought is you could perhaps give up one of your blogs so that you can spend that time writing fiction instead? I had considered setting up a separate cooking blog to focus on food/recipes, but any time I start a new initiative it tends to suck away at the little free time I have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Checkbox GDPR is required


I agree