Writing books is not an easy task. Ask any author who is single, or has the space to just write for hours on end without interruption, it is a tough slog. What happens if you throw work and family into the mix, and then add being a single parent. How would you get any writing done? Recently I put the question to a few authors about balancing writing and family life. I received an insightful, real and honest look into balancing writing and family life as a single parent from Robert Vescio.
Who is Robert Vescio?
Robert started writing children’s stories about eight years ago but he says that he has always enjoyed writing, even way back in high school. After leaving school he worked in the publishing industry for over 12 years and for eight of those years he was a Photo Editor working on several photographic Magazines.
However, it wasn’t until he left full-time work in 2007, to become a stay-at-home dad, that he began to take writing more seriously. Now he had a great excuse to spend hours in the children’s section of bookstores. As he loved reading books, it made it easy to dive into the world of picture book writing. Robert also says that having his own children helped as well. All he had to do ‘was to observe them and the ideas started rolling in.’
- What is your writing routine as a children’s author?
I don’t have a writing routine as such. As a single parent, the best time for me to write is very late at night or in the mornings when my children are asleep. It’s tranquil and I’m left to my own devices with no disruptions. Writing demands thinking time, planning, editing and rewriting.
- How do you fit this around family?
As a single parent, writing presents specific challenges i.e. work, distractions and chores have to be factored in. It’s really hard to juggle writing and family at the same time. It’s not easy to keep on track with a writing project when you have children who constantly want your attention all the time. But I’m finding that as my children grow older, this is certainly not the case – it’s getting easier. My children are able to manage their time and work independently i.e. homework and assignments. Now, I’m able to write while my children are doing their homework. This doesn’t allow a lot of time to write but it does cut hours off staying up late when I should really be sleeping.
- Are you ever been made to feel guilty about spending your time writing?
I do feel guilty about spending my time writing BUT I’m never made to feel guilty about it. I love this about my children. They are so understanding and supportive of my writing. I know I’m not doing anything wrong. And it helps to improve my family life as well. If I spend a lot of my time writing, I’ll review my workload and commit to spending more time with my children later. My guilt is slowly easing and it’s now replaced with a pride. I’m able to show my children that if you work really hard at something, not only will you become good at it but look what you can achieve. I’m living proof. They’ve seen that it’s possible, and so a great lesson has been learned. I don’t want to live in an endless cycle of guilt. This will only affect both my writing and my family life.
- What are your thoughts on balancing writing and family?
There has to be a balance between writing and family. My children always come first but it’s okay for me to enjoy writing. The more I enjoy writing, the more my passion will ooze and stand out. And the more my passion stands out, the more my children will learn and grow with me. If you love writing, you’ll find a way to balance the two.
Robert Vescio is a published children’s author. His picture books include, Jack and Mia (Wombat Books), Barnaby and the Lost Treasure of Bunnyville (Big Sky Publishing), Marlo Can Fly (Wombat Books) listed on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge for 2015, No Matter Who We’re With (IP Kidz). He has more picture books due out in 2016 and 2017. Many of Robert’s short stories have been published in anthologies such as Packed Lunch, Short and Twisted, Charms Vol 1 and The School Magazine NSW. He has also won awards for his children’s writing. Robert enjoys visiting schools. His aim is to enthuse and inspire children to read and write and leave them bursting with imaginative ideas. For more information visit: www.robertvescio.com or Robert Vescio on Facebook
If you would like to see the original article, you can see it on my website: meganhigginson.weebly.com/blog