• angiespoto

Writing in the Margins



Is it possible to work full time and be a parent and be a writer?


I’m doing it, and this is exactly how I like it.


When people hear I'm a writer, I'm often asked if it's my dream to write full time. The unsaid bit (maybe this is from me, maybe from them) is that I've not quite made it until writing is a full-time gig. But I got a taste of that life while I was doing my PhD in Creative Writing, and I realised the full-time writer’s life isn’t for me. I like my ‘day’ job and I like being a mom. Both give me joy and balance. My job gets me talking with other humans, the chance to flex my other ‘muscles’ -- to do things I’m good at besides writing. Being a mom takes me out of the constant grind of life, this need to be productive all the time -- there’s nothing more ‘unproductive’ than hanging out with a toddler, and that’s what’s so great about it.



Not being a full-time writer means I’m not dumping all my identity into my writing or my perceived success as a writer. It means I’m not relying on income from my writing to survive (good, because so far this year I’ve made exactly £0!). Writing is already hard enough without it being a source of income.


Let’s be honest though; I do wish I had a wee bit more time to write, but I make do with what I’ve got -- and I’ve learned to be happy with that. I write an hour a day, 6 days a week, sometimes sneaking in an extra hour or two on a Saturday. I get to write in a cafe twice a week, and this makes me so happy and so grateful. I’m a slow writer, but I’ve also never had much stamina. For me, writing one hour is about as productive as having three hours to write. Yeah, it’s hard to write after a long day of work and wrangling a toddler into his pjs, but it’s my dedicated hour, and I take it even if I’d rather be melting my brain on TikTok. It’s far more rewarding.


I’m writing all this because I think writers often fall into this trap of believing they don’t have enough time -- and if they don’t have enough time then they aren’t real writers. Writers carry a lot of baggage -- unrealistic ideas about what it means to be successful, self-inflicted guilt for not writing enough, public misconceptions about authors. We need to unload this weight that tells we aren’t real writers because we are also humans who have other jobs and interests and responsibilities.


Is it possible to work full time and be a parent and be a writer?


Yes, absolutely.






Angie Spoto is an American fiction writer and poet living in Edinburgh. In 2020, she completed a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. Her doctoral thesis was a fantasy novel, called The Grief Nurse, and a collection of essays on grief, madness and language. The Grief Nurse has been shortlisted for the First Novel Prize 2021 and The Bridge Awards Emerging Writer Award in 2020. Angie is represented by Robbie Guillory from Kate Nash Literary Agency.





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