Writer Mamas

Advice for moms who are--or want to be--writers.

By Marcela Landres
Published on LatinoLA: May 5, 2011

Writer Mamas

My favorite kind of person with whom to work are writer mamas. If a writer mama has only a half hour to do something, it'll get done right the first time--because she doesn't have time for do-overs.

More often than not, the same skill sets mamas use to run households will serve them well in launching and maintaining a writing career. If you're a writer mama, or aspire to be one, your reference shelf is incomplete until you own Christina Katz's Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids.

To learn more, read this month's Q&A with Christina below.


Christina Katz is the author of the forthcoming Writer's Digest book, The Writer's Workout, 366 Tips, Tasks & Techniques From Your Writing Career Coach. She also wrote Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids.

A slightly extroverted introvert and online social artist, Katz holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in English from Dartmouth College. A "gentle taskmaster" over the past decade to hundreds of writers, Christina's students go from unpublished to published, build professional writing career skills, increase their creative confidence, and succeed over time. Christina hosts the Northwest Author Series in Wilsonville, Oregon, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and far too many pets. For more information, visit http://christinakatz.com

Q: What are the top three mistakes Writer Mamas should avoid?

A: Writing success takes determination, focus, and consistency. So moms need to avoid wishful thinking, ditch distractions and make sure to complete projects instead of sabotaging themselves.

Q: Alternatively, what are the top three tips Writer Mamas should embrace?

A: If writing success takes determination, focus, and consistency, then take your determination and use it to get on a particular path. Focus your energy and attention on success in one particular thrust or genre, rather than trying to go in too many directions at once. And aim for to repeat everything that works. I don't think most aspiring writers realize how much of success is simply the repetition of professional habits that have worked.

Q: Who is your agent and how did you meet him/her? If you don't have an agent, how did you come to be published by Writer's Digest Books?

A: My agent is Rita Rosenkranz of Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency in New York. I signed on with Rita as my agent after interviewing several agents who were referred to me once I already had an offer from Writer's Digest on the table. It can happen this way occasionally, rather than in the usual order of getting an agent first and then a book deal offer. I've continued to work with Rita on all three of my Writer's Digest Books because she's been a great business partner and friend along the book-writing and publishing road.

Q: You teach super-practical classes such as Pitching Practice: Write Six Queries In Six Weeks. How has teaching influenced your writing?

A: Teaching is central to writing books on writing-related topics. Teaching allows me to test-drive material that often evolves into book content. And vice-versa--I often learn things in the book-writing process that become helpful to my teaching process. More than anything, teaching keeps my finger on the pulse of what it's like to be an enthusiastic learner, which makes me a better teacher and pushes me to improve the quality of my teachings

Q: Before you published your books, Writer Mama and Get Known Before The Book Deal, you had a thriving freelance writing career. How has becoming a book author affected your freelance writing career?

A: Writing books involves enormous, exhausting deadlines. So my book writing almost always decreases how much I can freelance in the short run. But writing a book always increases my capacity to write more, faster in the long run. Writing a book is like running a marathon. After a marathon, a 5K is really not as big of a deal as it once was. So the short-term loss always becomes a long-term gain, once the next book is in the can.

Q: Other than your indispensable guide, Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids, what other resources (books, magazines, e-zines, blogs, etc.) do you recommend for Writer Mamas?

A: I have a lot of resources listed in Writer Mama and on my site. But what I notice as a teacher and coach is that once a mom knows how to write and submit her work, she's probably better off not reading every resource under the sun. She's probably better off spending more time writing and submitting her own work until she's got the muscle memory down. And then, when she's ready to take what she's got to the next level, that's a good time to look for resources that build on skills she already has.

Q: What's next? What should my readers be on the lookout for from you?

A: I'm expanding my classes in the fall of 2011 to include micro-publishing and sane networking strategies that will work for busy moms. And in December 2011, Writer's Digest is publishing my third book, The Writer's Workout, 366 Tips, Tasks & Techniques From Your Writing Career Coach. I hope your readers will look for it when they, too, are ready to take the skills they already have to the next level.

Excerpted from Latinidad?« ?® 2003 by Marcela Landres

About Marcela Landres:
Marcela Landres is the author of the e-book How Editors Think. She is an Editorial Consultant who specializes in helping Latinos get published and was formerly an editor at Simon & Schuster.
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