Saturday, June 21, 2008

Have a Molehill to Move?

We have a super special guest today! I met her through and she's one of the most upbeat and inspirational writers I know. When I was looking for writing mothers to interview, Jen Jen Singer of was one of the first Mamas (Or Mommas) that I thought of... I've been struggling with motivation lately but after reading Jen's story, I feel like my mountain might actually be a molehill.

1) Introverts 'recharge' by spending time alone, extroverts 'recharge' by spending time with others. Which are you and how does it affect your writing?

I’ve always said I’m enough like my mother that I can talk to anyone, anywhere, yet enough like my father that I don’t want to. I can pour on the charm for a TV segment or a book-signing, but the next day, I have to hide in my office and write. I do need to get out, though, if for no other reason than to get blog fodder, but also because I like to be with people. But I also like being alone now and then. And with one kid playing “Smoke on the Water” on the keyboard outside my office right now while two others discuss the finer points of the Lego Indiana Jones game, now would be great.

2) What writing-related duties exhaust you?

Book publicity exhausts me. On the one hand, I love talking on the radio and doing interviews. On the other hand, I find that, around book launch time anyway, it takes up so much time that I don’t get to write as much as I’d like to (or need to.) I didn’t write a word in my book that’s due September 1st for five whole weeks while I was doing publicity for “You’re a Good Mom.” That’s fine – better that than no one cares about your book, right? And I do love a good publicity “get,” like when I appeared on Sally Jessy Raphael’s radio program twice. But it can get tiring.

3) What writing-related duties energize you?

I love when I get lost in writing a blog or a page in a book. I lose track of time, and I don’t think about anything else but what I’m writing. Well, also Scrabulous -- I swear I have writing ADD. But when I’m in the writing zone, it jazzes me like tennis can, only without all that sweating.

4) How do you motivate yourself each day to get your butt in the chair and keep writing?

Deadlines are very motivating, as are checks. But honestly, I just love writing. When I’m stuck with writing something (and it’s someone else’s move in Scrabulous), I go to the gym or anywhere but my office. I often come back with something to write about, which, in turn, keeps my butt in my office chair.

5) What specific challenges have you faced and how did you motivate yourself through them?

Last June, I had four chapters left to write in “You’re a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren’t So Bad Either)” when I found out I had cancer. Still, I managed to finish writing the book, beating my extended deadline by a week. I discovered throughout chemotherapy and radiation that writing anchors me and gives me hope. Plus, it’s cheaper than therapy. Besides, the steroids my oncologist prescribed made for a lot of sleepless nights, so I figured I might as well write while I was up at 3 a.m., because it was better for my psyche than trolling cancer support chat rooms and crying. I have found that once you’ve written on the oncology floor at the hospital, writing seems easier. I have a September 1st deadline and 41,000 more words to go on my next book, the second in a series of MommaSaid branded parenting guides due out in 2009 from HCI. And yet, it doesn’t phase me. My next PET scan, however, does. I’ve been in remission since January, but I’ll have quarterly PET scans this year to make sure my lymphoma doesn’t return. If it does, I’ll pack up my laptop for the hospital.
If you are as motivated by Jen's story as I am, you can check out more from her at

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