Friday Speak Out!: How to Change My Life, Guest Post by Brittnay Buckner

Friday, January 13, 2012
How to Change My Life

by Brittnay Buckner

My maternity leave is over. My biggest writing lesson is so basic that it makes me go duh! when I think about it. It is simply the realization that my writing dream of instant stardom is not going to happen overnight. Lately I’ve been contemplating the fame and fortune not happening at all.

Writing is a long, long road. And while I am glad to be finally walking down this road, (instead of pretending I have other professional goals), with only a manuscript in process, I'm only at the beginning. And being a working mother means that my writing space and time has dramatically decreased. On a good day, ten minutes a day sitting in my car between work and daycare is my new reality. (The good news is that it works!)

When I began my maternity leave, I had crazy expectations--that I'd finish my manuscript, get an agent, get a book advance, and never have to return to a job I don't love. None of that happened, not with a little baby in my arms. Duh! I’ll chalk that up to being a rookie mother and writer then.

The good news is that I am not disappointed or frustrated in myself now. I am glad to have gotten all those nonsense expectations out of the way, so I can get down to the business of learning to write well. Having those merciless expectations left me vulnerable to too much compromise in my writing. You know, writing what I think others want to read so that I could never have to work in a cube again as opposed to what's in my head and heart.

Now without the pressure of changing my life in a short time span, I can just focus on changing my life, little by little, day by day.

* * *
Brittnay Buckner is the author of “Singular Beast: A Conversation with Jamaica Kincaid” published in the journal Callaloo in 2008. She recently launched a blog for writer-mamas called "New Mama Wannabe Writer Worker Bee Wife" at She is currently working on a novel. She lives in Washington DC with her husband and seven month-old daughter Zora.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Sioux Roslawski said...

Brittnay--First of all, gorgeous girl. Is she named after a famous writer I know and love?

Second, welcome to the world of motherhood. Your time will rarely be "your own" but it sounds like you've already gotten creative with carving out some time, here and there.

Certainly, the downside of being a parent (less time, less sleep) is outweighed by the richness a child brings to your life. Congratulations. (And this was a great post. Lots of us need to come to the realizations you've come to...)

Asra Nomani said...

Great, honest post! The road of writing is a long road, but don't ever leave it--You'll get fame and fortune, and most importantly you'll express your voice!

Holly Rutchik said...

Congrats on the baby girl - and getting all of those things out of the way. I loved how you said that and I think that part of the writing journey takes some so long, so that is a HUGE step you've taken with your time at home!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Success won't be instant, but you figured that out yourself. Work in writing while beautiful Zora is tiny. That way it will be a habit when she's mobile. And if she grows up seeing you work so hard at something you love, she'll be willing and able to do the same. Now cuddle that darling baby and read her a good book!

Unknown said...

Brittnay, such a great post! Took me back to the days of first child and thoughts of being a writer. No e-connections 25 years ago, it was difficult to connect and to pursue those writing interests.
Best with your goals and your beautiful child!

Valerie Hartman said...

Great post! The best ideas are usually simple and start with realistic goals.

Well said!

Margo Dill said...

There are so many of us moms trying to find time to write (and energy sometimes!) AND do everything else we have to do to keep our family surviving. You said it all very well here. :)

Good luck to you! You have the right attitude and that is half the battle.

LuAnn Schindler said...

Sometimes, we have to realize that the success we envision - a book contract and financial gain, an article in the New York Times - may never happen. But if we're writing because it's our calling, that in itself is success.

And as a momma of three 20-somethings, I vividly remember trying to catch a moment to write. It'll come....and things will work out. :) Good luck with that new little one!

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