Ever wanted to be a fiction writer but you’ve got the kids and the mom life? Jill can offer some inspiration. She’s writing a novel and she has 2 young kids.
A brief history: Jill and I are gym-quaintances. We trade “the kids are sick this week, my body aches, I think the instructor is trying to kill us” and other mommy war stories. We got to talking about style, which lead to lunch, which lead to conversation about how she’s a fiction writer and currently writing a novel. Which then led to conversation about the style battles she’s having with her 8 year old daughter.
Coincidently, we chatted at a restaurant that’s also a book store. How apt right?!
ON BEING A WRITER
You’re writing a fiction novel? Cool! What’s that like?
Well I’ve been writing if for awhile now but it’s been a start and stop process with young kids. I started when my youngest daughter was 2, and now she’s 7. Now I’m focused on getting it done. I write everyday, even if what I write might not end up in the final copy.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes. I used to write stories when I was little and hide them under the bed. I thought about it all the time.
So do your characters talk to you?
I think about them; who they are, and what they would do in situations. If I’m having trouble writing it’s because I don’t know the characters well enough.
Have you written a book before?
Yes, but I think it wasn’t quite right.
How often do you write?
Everyday. Even if it’s not perfect, and even if it doesn’t get into the final draft, I know something will come of it.
When did you start the book?
I started when my daughter was 2 and now it’s 5 years later. I wanted time with the kids but now I’m focused on finishing.
What if you finish it and people don’t like it?
It would be hard. But I’m not thinking about that. I’m focused on finishing. I need to get moving with my career. I have to follow my dream and make it come true.
Are you writing the book because you always dreamt about doing it?
It’s more like I have to. I just want to write. And if I could make some money doing it that would be awesome.
And you’re also a writing tutor?
Yes, I tutor kids aged 4 to adults. I help a lot of high schoolers preparing their college essays.
So what’s your advice for getting 7 year olds to write their book reports?
Have them brain storm and write down their ideas as a first draft. Then have them organize the ideas together as their second (and since they’re so young) final draft.
What’s your style?
I like to be in style but add my own twists. I like patterns on patterns, and pops of color.
Did you always know you had your own style?
Yes, I think so. My mom says when I was 8 I used to wear my hair to the side as my “style”, and I made my own conscious style choices.
ON RAISING DAUGHTERS
Do your daughters have their own style already?
Yes! The older one and I recently got into a fight because she wanted to wear a handbag that’s for an adult. And she’s only 8.
What did she say?
She said, “You won’t let me be who I am.” I cried in the bathroom. It was a lot to hear from your little girl. But then I pulled myself together and we ended up compromising.
How did you compromise?
We compromised with a smaller purse that still looks like a big girl purse.
I try not to obsess about looks but it’s hard. I still have to get dressed and I’ve got my curly hair…
Ah yes! Is your daughter’s hair curly too?
Yes, but of course she wants it to be straight!
You have to tell her it’s all about the products.
I know. And I do. I use Ouidad products and I apply the products for her. But you know, at this age you want what the other girls have.
Yep. I wish we could show them how awesome curls are from a young age.
Yes, but I think she has to go through her own getting to know herself process too.
I try to tell them (she has 2 daughters) that it’s fun to dress up but it’s not who we are inside. When someone tells them they’re pretty, I’ll add, “and you’re strong, and smart, and brave.”
I used to tell them, “Your heart looks beautiful today”. I’ll have to start doing that again.
I love that! I’ll use that too!