Writer Dads: A new column for VQR!

I’m excited to announce that starting on November 13th, I’ll be writing a monthly column for Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR) entitled “Writer Dads,” an online series of interviews with professional writers who are also fathers, discussing how they balance the two, what the real challenges are, and how it affects both their writing and parenting.

Back in the Spring, VQR published an article by Becky Tuch entitled “The Choice and Challenge of Being a Writer-Parent” that raised an interesting premise but wasn’t terribly representative as few of the writers quoted directly were actually parents, and only one was a male, inadvertently reinforcing cultural stereotypes around writing as a career and the challenges of “life with babies.”

As a married father of two who has long struggled with finding the right balance that allows for enough time to write, I was disappointed by the absence of voices that resembled my own experience, and was inspired to do something about it. And so, “Writer Dads” was conceived and, finally, born.

First up is Tobias Buckell, a married father of twin girls who is also the bestselling author of the “Xenowealth Trilogy,” among others. On deck are Saladin Ahmed and Ro Cuzon, with others to be announced in the coming months.

“I never cease to be shocked at the number of people who tell me they don’t have time to follow their dreams, and then can recount in detail their favorite shows and the hours they’ve spent leveling characters up. I love games and TV, but I’ll be honest, it’s the first to get sacrificed on the schedule” – Tobias Buckell

“I grew up working-class, so gauzy romanticisms regarding art vs. money never flew with me. But I was also used to getting by on very little. Imposing that bohemian austerity on someone else – on children – is a different matter. So writing as earning is a much bigger thing to me now. And that in turn affects process in a thousand ways.” – Saladin Ahmed

“Since Oona was born, I’ve adhered to a strict schedule in order to balance all of these things. Being a stay-at-home dad (or a house-husband, as my wife calls it, because I also cook and clean), I quickly realized that the only way to secure uninterrupted time for writing was to wake up before my daughter did. So I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m. Monday to Friday. But as soon as my daughter is awake, I switch from writer to Dad.”Ro Cuzon

A special thanks to my friend and former colleague Jane Friedman (VQR‘s Web Editor) for accepting the pitch for this series. Interviews have always been one of my favorite things to do, and being able to offer a look at the writing life from a unique angle under VQR‘s illustrious banner is an honor.

PS: Also this week, I’ll be participating in an online conference for writers entitled Get Read: Marketing Strategies for Writers.The two-day program features an impressive lineup of speakers, and my session, on 11/13 @ 2:30pm ET, will focus on the balancing act:

Timesuck? You’re. Doing. It. Wrong.
There are myriad ways to connect with readers nowadays, both directly and indirectly, but you can’t do it all, nor should you try. Whether you’re a novelist or journalist, poet or pundit, striking the right balance is critical to implementing and sustaining an effective marketing strategy. From websites to social media to live events, Guy will focus on the value of owned channels, offline/analog engagement, and how to make sure you’re not wasting your time.

If you’re interested, sign up to attend and save $20 with my promo code: “guy”

2 thoughts on “Writer Dads: A new column for VQR!

  1. Hi Guy,

    Great! So glad my piece has opened up discussion about this rich topic.

    The article I wrote was meant to focus on writers struggling with the decision of whether or not to have kids, and so that was why I interviewed people who didn’t yet have children. But I think in hindsight that wasn’t exactly clear in the way I set up the piece. And I think it’s wonderful that you’re taking this discussion further and broadening the conversation.

    Kudos to you for being a writer, family man, and putting your voice out there.

    1. Hi, Becky! I think your intent was served by the article, but the setup didn’t quite make it as clear as your followups in the comments and our conversation on Twitter when it first published. But it did spark an interesting discussion in several quarters, and finally gave me an angle for some focused writing, so THANK YOU for that. 🙂

      Thanks also for the shout-out in your newsletter. I subscribed to it after reading your VQR article and have been enjoying it ever since.

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