By Sharon Miller Cindrich
Play groups. When my kids were little, our weeks revolved around these glorious, once-a-week get-togethers at a friend’s house for a donut, some play time and a little socialization. And it wasn’t just for the kids. In fact, most of the time, it was for my own sanity.
Writing, like parenting, can be frustrating, confusing and extremely isolating. And going it alone is never easy. Playgroups, like writing groups, can be a great resource for confidence boosting, problem solving and overall support. Whether you’re stuck at home with a nasty deadline or a child with a nasty case of croup, looking forward to connecting with fellow comrades can get you through the tough times and make you a better parent and writer.
Can you find both a writing group and a playgroup in one? All of your parent friends may not be writers and vice versa. However, finding even just one other writer mama (or papa) to connect with on everything from deadlines to diapers, writing schedules to feeding schedules and word-counts to time-outs can not only boost your attitude and your energy level, but also help you establish your network, increase your productivity and keep you focused.
Where can you find this other crazy individual or individuals, folding laundry with one hand and typing on the laptop with another? They are out there, trust me, and they need you, so don’t be shy. Try these ideas to get connected with another writer mama or papa.
Spread the word
Make an announcement at the places you hang with other parents–playgroups, church groups, carpools and school hallways. It may be hard to spot a writer who is also parenting a gaggle of kids, but don’t assume you’re the only one.
Check out the library
Many writers like to read, so check out places like your local bookstore or library where many writing parents can indulge their interests and keep their kids occupied as well. Ask about established writing groups, and scope out members that might be mommies or daddies, too.
This is one of my personal favorites. It doesn’t require you to even leave your house. Find a fellow writer mama or papa online like at sites like http://www.thewritermama.com, where you can (soon) click “WM Unite” and connect with comrades and expand your writer mama community. Plan on a once a week IM session or iChat with a fellow writer mama to check in and exchange ideas and resources.
Take a class together
Why not take a class with another writer mama with the intention of continuing on after the class is over? This is a terrific way to launch a writer’s group. Chose a writer-mama-only group or open your writer’s group up to non-moms according to the number of participants you’d like to have. If you need more “mompower” you can always pick up the slack online.
Sharon Miller Cindrich is a freelance writer whose work has been published nationally in magazines and newspapers around the country including The Chicago Tribune, Parents Magazine, and The Writer. She is a Contributing Editor at FamilyFun Magazine and writes a bimonthly humor column for West Suburban Living Magazine in the Chicago Suburbs. She is a regular contributor to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Lifestyle section and Metroparent Magazine. Her book E-Parenting: Keeping Up with Your Tech-Savvy Kids is due out from Random House at the end of the year. Read more about Sharon at http://www.pluggedinparent.com/.