Friday 12 June 2015

Mummy needs to finish her book!

“So, Mum, when are you going to finish your next book?” My 13 year old asked me this question the other day.

I have been going through a bit of a dry patch lately. Life has been getting in the way of writing. I’ve read so many articles about making sure you protect your writing time, getting up early or staying up late, and any number of other tips for writers.

To be honest, right now I’ve been too tired to get up early or stay up late. My lunch hour has been spent supervising my younger son with his school work. After school time is spent ferrying kids to activities. I’m exhausted.

In order to get my next book finished, I’ve given my kids the following list of things they can do to help me. My kids are 11 and 13.
  • Make me a cup of tea when I ask for one, or when you think I might enjoy one
  • Remind me to take my laptop with me when I’m going to be waiting at after school activities
  • Don’t have the TV up too loud
  • Help with jobs around the house so I can’t use it as an excuse
  • When I ask for ideas, give me your best ones, you guys come up with better names than I do!
  • Keep encouraging me – it means a lot that you believe in me
  • Listen to me when I read you snippets and give me feedback
  • Remind me to stop and take a break so I don’t get too tired

My kids are my greatest fans, and also my greatest distraction! Any ideas for things I should add to this list? Am I the only one who does this?

Melissa Gijsbers lives in Melbourne and writes in between working as a bookkeeper and being the mother of two active boys. She is a blogger and author of flash fiction and children's books. Her first book, Swallow Me, NOW! was published in 2014.

Follow her writing journey at and


  1. Melissa - that's fantastic that your kids are your greatest fans and are willing to help you get the next book written. My kids are good at keeping quiet when I'm writing (most of the time) though my 9 years sometimes asked 'Are you published yet?' When I reply, 'I've a short story published in an anthology'. He responds with 'That's not a real book. You're not a real author yet.' I have to laugh - so maybe add to the list honest but diplomatic/constructive feedback :)

  2. A supportive family is vital to progress. Good luck as you press forward, Melissa.

  3. I am touched at your kids willingness to help you, Melissa. I can also sympathize with you being tired. Mothering is a full time job, but with them both backing you up, you have a winning team. Go get stuck into your writing!

  4. Hi Melissa, My kids are a similar to age to yours and I totally relate to your post. Taking the laptop with you when you're hanging around at your kid's activities is a great idea. I've spent many years writing in the car while my kids have their weekly one hour tennis lesson. The car park is quiet and surrounded by sporting fields - a perfect location for me. I used to blog comment and cruise social media on my iphone at an indoor pool while my kids had their swimming lessons. All those hours add up and make a difference. The trick is to look at the time of day, location, your fatigue levels in the time slot, and pick the writing-related activity that will give you the biggest productivity gain. I used to work a school hours day job before rushing off to swimming lessons, so it was never going to be a good creative time slot. Btw, my daughter loved Swallow Me, Now! and is also waiting on your next book release! No pressure :)

  5. Narelle your daughter isn't the only one waiting I am too! I like the ideas. I love your kids want to help also. Can they help with some of the tasks needed around home also so you don't have to do all the jobs. Even small ones like keeping an area clean or putting away washing, groceries etc. I know one of your sons can't do a lot of these tasks as he has health issues which I do understand. I also understand the fatigue you are mentioning. by 6pm I am almost ready to go to bed I am so tired. can you nano nap for 20 - 30 mins in the day to give you a little extra awake time? Did I mention I loved your book.

  6. I think your list is a great idea - it gets everyone invested in the result, and gives the kids the opportunity to be part of it.


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