Nail that Writing Project (and the door to Mom’s home office)

Ack! I missed an entire week of posting. Why? Because I took a mini-break with my husband in the foothills of the Berkshires. It was bliss. But I’ve been remiss. So today, I am atoning for my absence by bringing you some writing wit and wisdom from author, columnist, marketing executive and mother of three boys (and a dog), Jennifer Karin.

In addition to her just-completed novel, “Asunder,” Jennifer’s books include “Letters to a Girl,” “The Bear who Loves Halloween” and “The Dreamstarter Books” 1 & 2. “Dreamstarter” won the 2009 Book of the Year Award from “Creative Child” magazine.  

Jennifer penned the weekly humor column, “Zen Mother,” which won the National Humor Writers of the Month award by the Erma  Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.

Follow Jennifer’s writing blog.  Oh, and full blogger’s disclosure here:  As well as balancing her paid work, family and creative writing, Jennifer is a wonderful friend (that’s only ‘cos she lets me have long and deep conversations with her oh-so-cute dog).

Interview with Author Jennifer Karin 

1. Jennifer, I know you were a child prodigy, but when did you start writing (approx)?

 Well, I was not a writer as a child. Rather, I had a paintbrush in one hand, and held my cat in the other, and I only occasionally painted the cat . . . (Could you wait a minute, Aine? I need to close my office door) . . . I was a late bloomer when it came to creative writing, and I am self-taught, and, therefore, continue my education every day. I didn’t start any creative writing projects until I turned forty. But, my academic background and my career in public relations were based on strong analytical writing and journalism, so I’ve been writing intensively since I was fifteen.

 2. As a busy marketing professional and Mum to two boys and a dog, do you write in the mornings, evenings, lunchtime or on weekends?   

Three boys! (Hold on, I just want to nail a 2×4 across the door.) Work comes first, always, no matter how loud my characters are shouting at me. That leaves very little time for creative writing, so I’ve learned to write anywhere, especially in my head. When I have a free moment . . . (Excuse, me, Aine. “HEY! MOMMY’S WORKING HERE!!”) I quickly write down everything I was daydreaming about, while the boys wrap the dog in toilet paper.

 3. Jennifer, as someone who mostly does your paid work from home, how do you separate your paid work from your creative work?    

I’m very lucky to have an office in my home. It’s my sanctuary . . . (Hate to stop the interview again, Aine. I need to slide the bureau in front of my door.) . . . It allows me to complete my contracted work in a timely and professional manner. And that’s what my paying clients expect from me: professionalism. (“NO, YOU CAN’T COME IN, HENCE THE EXPLOSIVES I PLANTED UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS!”) Anyway, when it comes to creative writing, a change of scenery is a big help. Away from the house. Away. Away. Away.

 4. Universally, do you believe that being a parent makes you a better writer? How?  

I’m sorry? What? Oh, distraction. Well, many readers say my humor column represents my best writing, and that comes from the depths of exhaustion, motherhood, aging, and all the other distractions of real life, so I’d have to say the more snowballs life throws at me, the better the writer I am. Parenting is more of an avalanche, but the climb out is priceless. 

 5. What is/was the happiest moment of your entire writing life?

 Wow, that’s a heavy question, Aine! Let me get my box of tissues. I’d have to say, (sniff, sniff) — and this is really quite emotional for me — my happiest moment was when I killed off my husband for the first time in my Zen Mother column. But the second time was quite lovely as well.


About Aine Greaney

I'm an Irish writer living in greater Boston. I've published four books--two novels, a small collection of short stories and a how-to writing book, "Writer with a Day Job" (Writers Digest Books). I've also published lots of short stories, essays and feature articles. My latest project, "What Brought You Here" is a non-fiction narrative about being an expatriate in America. Find me on Twitter @ainegreaney. Or at my author web page, As well as creative writing, I am the communications director for a healthcare non-profit. I also lead creative writing workshops at various libraries, schools and arts programs. At my workshops, I've been inspired by lots of wonderful writers--most of whom work a day job!
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5 Responses to Nail that Writing Project (and the door to Mom’s home office)

  1. TJ Alexian says:

    She’s hysterical. Thanks for sharing the interview, Aine. I’m definitely going to check out Jennifer’s blog.

  2. Brenda McDonald says:

    I don’t have children, but with six sisters and a brother, nieces and nephews, and eldery parents and elderly in-laws, I have plenty of snowballs thrown my way! Thanks for the inspiration, and the laughs. Aine, your book Writer With A Day Job inspires me.

    • Aine Greaney says:

      Thanks for your feedback on Jennifer’s post. She is very funny and “nails” the writing experience so well. Glad you’re enjoying the book. You’re a perfect, daily example of that writer with a day job!

  3. Karin Joyce says:

    Loved the humorous interview. Truly in Erma Bombeck style. No wonder Jennifer was awarded a writers’ humor award with Erma’s name in the title.

    Karin (that’s my first name)

    • Aine Greaney says:

      Thanks, Karin, for visiting and joining us here at WriterwithaDayJob. Jennifer is a wonderful writer, and a wonderful human being. Her fiction is also very vivid and immediate. Welcome to you. I hope that we can all inspire each other here–or at least give each other a daily giggle.

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