Saturday, December 12, 2009

Guest Post: Babies Make Their Own Creative Madness from Amber Stockton

Hi! My name is Amber Stockton. Most know me as Tiff, but my middle name is Amber. Many here have followed Margaret’s story and the exciting news in July when she became a mother for the first time. I can relate to that, as I joined the motherhood ranks in April of this year. My beautiful little daughter has been occupying the majority of my time, thoughts and sanity. J Now, I’m supposed to come up with a post about writing with a baby? If attempting to do that doesn’t cause immediate madness, I don’t know what will!

My daughter was born weighing 7lbs and 9oz. and measuring 20in. long. Just 8 months later, she’s nearing 17lbs. and 27 inches long. So, she’s growing like a weed! With that growth comes the need for nourishment, stimulation and lots of attention. Needless to say that doesn’t give me a lot of time for writing. But somehow, I manage.

Besides, before I know it, she’ll be entertaining herself and this precious bonding time will be gone. I need to make the most of it now.

However, books don’t write themselves, and deadlines don’t wait. In fact, just one month after my daughter was born, I had a book due. It was bad enough attempting to write while I was counting down the days to due date. Who can put two coherent thoughts together with a newborn in the house? When you’re doing good if you remember to eat and take a shower?

That’s how I felt back in April into May. I owe a lot to my editor, who was able to get me a much-needed extension. At least I had a smidgeon of my sanity returned. Still, my creativity was all but shot, and the frustration of the ideas not flowing like they once did kept me blocked for days and even weeks on end.

What finally broke the dam?

It was the realization that my daughter would be in my life for many years to come. Life as I knew it would never be the same again. I had to adjust to a new definition of “normal.” I’d heard it said many times by others, but it wasn’t until a fellow author and friend told me she’d written several books with a newborn and eventually two toddlers in the house, when I realized I could do it too. I just needed to prioritize and focus.

And most importantly, I needed to admit that I couldn’t do it alone. I needed help. I also had to be willing to accept the help when it was offered. Pride is often called a “foolish man’s burden.” That’s so true. We aren’t designed to do it “alone.” We’re created to help each other and to work together. Teamwork accomplishes far more than someone attempting to do it alone.

So, I called upon family and my husband, and even a few friends, to spare me for even just an hour or two at a time while I wrote. Eventually, my daughter and I settled into a workable routine where neither one of us felt we were being neglected. Now, I can happily say—although I still have moments of madness when the creativity is clogged—I have managed to be creative in spite of the madness of life. Isn’t that the daily challenge we all face?

Have I fully succeeded? Not by a long shot. But each day gets easier, and with each new challenge, the level of madness decreases.

Today, Margaret is kind enough to feature all 6 of my books that have been released. Proof that it IS possible to write with a baby in the house. In fact, Patterns and Progress just came out this week!

My first series will be repackaged into a collection entitled Liberty’s Promise and release in March 2010. More sales without any additional work on my end. Considering the demands on my time, this sounds like a great deal to me! J The current Michigan series will release around the end of 2010 or early 2011. I’m not sure yet. But you can stay up to date via the books page of my web site (

At the moment, I don’t have any further contracts beyond this 6th book (unless you count the two books that will repackage each 3-book set), but I do have three or four other books circulating with my editor and other publishers. We’ll see if anything happens with any of them. For now, I’m fine with adjusting to this new life as a work-at-home-mom, balancing the many demands and finding time to readjust to the schedule and patterns that are now a part of my everyday routine.

It’s great to still be able to find time to connect with my readers and receive invitations to be featured on my friends’ web sites or blogs. So, thank you, Margaret, for having me here today, and thank you to my readers for keeping me in business. J I wouldn’t be an author without you!

3 comments and creative thoughts:

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Hey MJ, thanks so much for hosting me here today to wrap up my 2-week blog tour. I'm honored to contribute to your "creative madness" theme and to share a space on a blog with a fellow newbie mom. :)

Looking forward to hearing news of your little blossom as she grows.

TeamOSM said...

What a great post! Being a mommy is hard work, and I salute you for being a mommy AND an author simultaneously! What a fantastic accomplishment. Thank you to MJ for having this great guest post!

CherryBlossomMJ said...

I love guest posts, bringing new personality forward is just so much fun! Thanks for coming by!!

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