Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guest Blog by Karen Bergreen

I am often asked how I balance writing novels, with performing stand up comedy while raising two kids and try to keep a marriage pleasant. I wish I could say that I am a natural multi-tasker or that I follow a self-help guru or even that I have the self-discipline of Lance Armstrong..

But I can’t.

I wish I were the person who could say something like:“every morning I wake up at 5:15, and after a beautiful session of breastfeeding the twins, baking a bread, and putting the family finances in order I commit to five hours of solitary novel writing. I don’t get up. I even bought myself a pamper.”

But I can’t.

I wish I were the person who said I had to be a novelist before I learned to read.

But I can’t

In reality, I am a casual Type B+ person who needs creativity in her life. Don’t get me wrong. Writing a novel or two is serious work, but the gravitas attached to the process can be overwhelming. Raising two children is relentless work. And believe it or not, success as a stand comic requires rigor, discipline and a lot of time.

So guess, what I do? I do what I can. I don’t set myself up for being another Tina Fey, Jonathan Franzen or the Duggars. Instead, I just say that I’m going to do some comedy and some writing when I have breaks from parenting. Not the best comedy. Not the best writing. And don’t tell my kids, but I bet I’m not a perfect parent. But I do the best I can do. In fact, I used to envy perfectionists. Now I see them as people who don’t get to experience as many things as they possibly could.

So I don’t set my sights to high. Instead of saying today is the day I write my novel, I say, “today is the day I work on the Bloomingdales shoplifting scene or the eccentric dietary habits of Mona the mean boss.”

It’s less big that way. I don’t always write at a desk—or even a table. I don’t always use the computer. In fact my novels are a patchwork of scenes scribbled on the subway, in comedy clubs or waiting to pick my son up from kindergarten. Every so often I string the patchwork together and I surprise myself with a chunk of, dare I say, a novel.

Please visit me on Facebook or my website:

My book is called Following Polly.

On Paperback to be released in bookstores in early August.

I want to thank Karen Bergreen for taking the time to share a little of herself with my readers and me. I love that you put parenting first and let the other stuff happen when it can, that is the only way to do all that and remain semi-sane. lol