Meet Writer Mum Jo Linsdell

Jo Linsdell is the author and illustrator of the rhyming children’s picture book OUT AND ABOUT AT THE ZOO. Find out more about her at www.JoLinsdell.com

As most writers will tell you, finding the time to write is one of the big obstacles we face. If you’re a mum and a writer, this problem is even greater.

I’m a mum of two. My eldest is four-years-old and my youngest is 10 months. Needless to say, my days are pretty jam-packed. So when do I write? The short answer is when I can. Unfortunately for me, neither of them sleep very much, day or night. On the upside, both are usually very well-behaved and will play quite happily either together or individually. This tends to give me a good twenty to thirty minutes here and there to get some work done.

I’m a big list maker. At the weekend, I make a list of all the things I need to do during the week and mark them in order of importance. This makes it easy to know what needs to be done and saves me time.

During the morning, I try to get through as much of my to-do list as possible. My husband will often take the boys to the park for an hour to let me concentrate on the bigger jobs that need doing. You’d be amazed at how much you can get done in just a short amount of time with no distractions.

Part of being a writer is promoting your work. I’m a self confessed social media junky and so manage to get quite a lot of marketing done in just a few minutes. I try to program my blog posts and some Twitter updates in advance so I’m covered for the days when I can’t get on the computer. Now that Facebook has introduced scheduled posts, I sometimes program a few posts for my pages there too. An hour of programming gives me a solid online presence for weeks, meaning I just need to check in occasionally. It’s easy to find a five-minute break here and there to monitor action across the board. This also means my ‘work’ posts are all set and I can concentrate on the social, relationship-building side of things when I pop in.

I try to involve my eldest as much as possible with my work. I wrote my children’s picture book, Out and About at the Zoo, after taking him to the zoo for the first time. Having my target audience on hand throughout the creation process was definitely a plus. He was always an eager listener when I needed to read through the text and wasn’t shy about giving feedback either. As with most kids his age, he asks a lot of questions too, which actually really helped me as it made me think about the project from a different angle.

I got him to help me with the illustration part too. He loves drawing and so was excited at the idea of helping me create the animals for the book. We researched together to find pictures of the animals I needed, using our own photos from our trip to the zoo and pictures we found in books and on the Internet. Every illustration included in the book was given his seal of approval . . . and trust me, he was very demanding. If it didn’t look right to him, it was redrawn.

Another upside to involving him in the project was that he was fantastic at motivating me to work on it. He would often ask, “Mummy, did you finish that picture yet?” or “Is the book ready now?” It made everything all the more fun. This book definitely holds a very special place in my heart.

Being a writer mum isn’t easy but it doesn’t have to be that hard either.

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