Further in my Moms Who Write series, I am happy to welcome Tia Bach today, whom I consider one of my good blogging friends. We met during last year’s Blogathon and have kept in touch ever since. We even wrote each other actual handwritten letters during a letter writing challenge Tia did a few months ago, something I found particularly touching.

Tia is the award-winning co-author of Depression Cookies (written with her mother, Angela Silverthorne), an avid blogger at Depression Cookies and Mom in Love with Fiction and a freelance editor. She’s also mom to three girls ages 12, 10, and 7 and proud wife to Ed for 17 years, and here she shares how she manages to write:

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

Tia: My heart always knew, even when I wasn’t aware, that I wanted to write. Prior to having kids, I was a technical writer. I felt comfortable with journalism, but a little voice always tempted me to pursue creative writing.

When my first child was born, I was terrified. Suddenly my fear of creative writing was trumped by the fear of raising a child. An overwhelming desire to write a novel took over. I called my mom with an idea: to write a coming of age mother-daughter tale together. She said yes, and we never looked back.

How did you find time to finish one book manuscript while having little
ones at home?

My first novel, Depression Cookies, took ten years from idea to publication. In the first five years, I had three kids in three different locations: Chicago, San Diego, and Baltimore. Then, I moved to Colorado. For lack of a better answer, I wrote when I could. It became my escape and stress relief. Free therapy.

I needed to finish the book, to prove to myself that I could accomplish something just for me. As a mom, the world revolves around your children. I didn’t want to get lost in the spin cycle. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And my husband will tell you… I am quite stubborn and willful.

Plus, there’s an upside to writing with your mother. She’ll lovingly nag you to get her a chapter.

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

For my first novel, I never had all three in school. I did most of my writing in the early hours of the morning or late at night. The nice thing about three kids… they trained me to function on very little sleep. I also had to learn to look past dust bunnies and piles of laundry until they could no longer be ignored.

Writing keeps me sane and gives me sense of personal accomplishment. But, my muse is fickle and terrified of the chaos my children create. So I try to coax her out when the house is very quiet and still. Now, I write as soon as the last kid leaves for school and before anything else can distract me.

When she sent me this picture, Tia titled it “working mom.”

Do you have a particular writing routine?

No, but I’m working on it. I prefer writing in the morning, but it’s hard during the school year. My house starts buzzing around 6:30 a.m. during the week. But weekend mornings are my time.

Of course, now it’s summer. Did I mention my muse is terrified by my kids? This summer, I have a new trick. So far it’s working. I set a timer for 20 minutes and give my girls a writing prompt. They write (and draw) in their journals while I work on my novel. I am also back to setting my alarm for early morning writing time. Again, where there’s a will…

Do you have a particular place where you write?

Have laptop, will travel. I get bored with the same scenery, so I “set up office” all around my house. Drives my husband crazy. Sometimes it’s the kitchen table, sometimes
the chair in our bedroom, sometimes the dining room. Occasionally, I’ll go to
Starbucks. And when I’m feeling really edgy, I’ll set up in our home office. I’ve
even been known to grab a notebook and pen and find a quiet spot outdoors

For me, I’ve found writing begets writing. The hardest part is sitting down and focusing. I truly believe my kids benefit from a happy mom, and this mom is happiest when the words flow.