Notes on my fourth novel, Mom’s Night Out

I don’t usually post personal things, but it’s coming on the first anniversary of my mom’s death and I’m feeling sentimental.

I’ve been stuck in my next novel for about a week, trying to find my way through. Today, while driving my Daughter Clementine home from soccer practice, she asked me how I was doing. I don’t typically talk about my work with my kids, but this time, I told her that I was stuck and worried, because I know the sequel to Good Neighbors needs to be as good or better for my career to gain traction, but I can’t find the thing about it that I love anymore. And if you don’t love a thing and enjoy doing it, the finished product is never as good as it should be. She asked me about the plot, and I told her the distilled version, realizing right then, the problem in the book. I needed to cut out everything extraneous and shoot straight. In two minutes, my daughter had helped me solve my problem.

I told her this, and she suggested that I share more about my work in the future. That she likes my plots and likes hearing about them. I told her that I’ve avoided talking about my work with her and with her little sister. Because I spend so much of my life writing with my door closed, I have been worried that if I also talk about my writing, they’ll think it’s more important to me than they are. It is not. She told me that it’s my life. It’s me, and I should be sharing that.

I cannot express how touching this was.

When I first got pregnant, my parents were concerned that I’d give up writing. I’ve been known, if you’ve ever met me, to grouse about motherhood and its demands; the unfairness of this patriarchal system. In truth, having kids did set me back, career-wise. But it also changed me and made me a better person. It made me a much better writer.

I don’t know what I’d be without these girls. I just adore them.

2 thoughts on “Notes on my fourth novel, Mom’s Night Out”

  1. Good neighbors was amazing! How you can write. It is haunting me; I can’t get it out of my head. Can’t wait for your next book.

    What a talent!

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