Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Blog by Liz Sheffield: Rediscovering Writing through Motherhood

Adding to my Moms Who Write series, today I welcome Liz Sheffield as my guest blogger. Liz and I met during last year's Blogathon and have supported each other's blogging and Twitter efforts ever since. Liz lives with her husband and two young sons (age 8 and 4) near Seattle. She recently left her 11-year career in training and development to focus on raising her sons and developing her freelance writing business. Fittingly, her blog is called Motherlogue.

Annette: What prompted you to pursue writing even though you are the mother of two sons? Did you always write or did you become a writer while already being a mom?

Liz: I’ve always been a writer, but I took a hiatus for about ten years. It was the birth of my older son that thankfully brought me back to writing eight years ago. After he was born, I was searching for ways to express my thoughts about motherhood. The light bulb came on: I could write about it! I’m so grateful that the experience of motherhood brought me back into the world of writing.

Annette: Do you still hold a corporate job? How do you reconcile that with writing and parenting? (I worked a corporate consulting job until 4 years ago so this question is particularly interesting to me because people always thought I must have lots of energy to be pulling it all off, and that’s not something I would have ever said about myself.)

Liz: I left my corporate job in June. After 11 years it was a huge decision, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I am now able to focus on raising our sons and on my freelance writing. Like you, Annette, people were always amazed by how much I was getting done while working full-time, mothering and writing part-time. Now that I’ve taken the full-time work off my plate, I’m also amazed. How was I doing it all? The answer is simple: I wasn’t sleeping much.

Does parenting influence your writing? Did your day job?

Parenting definitely influences my writing. Most of my published articles and essays are on the topic of parenting. My day job definitely gave me writing skills that I continue to use in writing and editing training materials for business clients, but I never wrote about my day job or saw that it influenced my writing. I had a colleague who worked as a temp for various companies. She had an anonymous blog where she wrote about various experiences and situations, but I was never comfortable letting my corporate and writing worlds overlap.

Do you actually use the time your kids are in school to write? Or do chores get in the way?

This is something I’m very focused about for the fall – staying true to my writing/work time, given that I’ll be working out of my home. I will have 15 hours each week when both of my sons will be in school – one is in pre-school and the other is in elementary school. It’s my goal to use those hours for my writing work, which includes the writing as well marketing to new business writing clients. This summer has shown me that it’s challenging to focus on writing while my boys are at home, so I know I need to make the most of the kid-free time I’ll have in the fall. (Google calendar is my friend – that’s where I schedule my writing time as well as track the schedule for our family.)

Do you have a particular writing routine?

I write a lot at night, after my sons have gone to sleep. I’m prone to getting distracted by various projects, so I recently started using a kitchen timer. I set it for 30 minutes and work on a specific project for that duration. Then I set it for another 30 minutes and work on the same project, or I start something new. This has helped me stay focused and reduced my time on social networking sites.

Do you have a particular place where you write?

I write in our home office at my desk next to the window. (On occasion my desk is also the home for various LEGO figures, stray spelling quizzes and carefully sketched drawings of Pokemon.) If I can’t focus or if I need some quiet space, I take my laptop to the local library.


  1. Great interview. I've heard a lot of writers say they use kitchen timers. I'm the opposite extreme. You have to pull me away from my WIP. LOL

    1. Thanks for reading, Kelly! I hadn't thought of using the timer until recently and was shocked by how much it helped me.

  2. Liz - excellent decision. You made a great decision that you will cherish as you move forward with your passion! Cheers!

  3. Love the interview. Annette, so lovely to see Liz featured on your blog, since I think so much of both you ladies.

    I get what you mean about little sleep, Liz. And I need to be better about using Google Calendar and scheduling my writing/kids at school time. I find I start multitasking, but not accomplishing much otherwise.

    1. Multitasking is awful, isn't it? It's so difficult to stop...even though I know I get more done if I'm focused on one thing at a time. And, likewise, I'm so glad to know you and Annette through the Blogathon -- you were both great people to meet through the experience.

  4. Great interview! It's helpful to know that other moms have a hard time writing in summer with kids at home (I certainly do!) and also that other moms have Pokemon invading their lives. :)

  5. Stephanie, I couldn't agree more -- knowing that it's not just me helps a ton in terms of summer schedules and the constant "battle" about Pokemon :)! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Annette, this is my first time to your website and I love it. It's both beautiful and inspirational. Thanks for profiling one of my favorite writing buddies. Go, Liz!

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