Kat Gardiner on Writing
In Conversation with Courtney Balestier on the WMFA Podcast
Writing can be lonely work; WMFA counters that with conversation. It’s a show about creativity and craft, where writer and host Courtney Balestier talks shop with some of today’s best writers and examines the issues we face when we do creative work. The mission of WMFA is to explore why we writers do what we do, so that we can do it with more intention, and how we do what we do, so that we can do it better.
This week on WMFA, we revisit our conversation with Kat Gardiner, author of Little Wonder, as she discusses microfiction, writing and motherhood, and why failure is never failure.
From the episode:
Courtney Balestier: Let’s talk a little bit about writing and motherhood, because I know this is something that a listener emailed and mentioned wanting to talk about… how to balance that and how to keep your creative energy up. And I know that microfiction is a really ingenious way for you to have gotten in. But especially now that you’re getting back to the novel, how are you balancing that with motherhood?
Kat Gardiner: I mean, I think the most important thing is to remember that you can do it and to give yourself permission to give yourself time to do it. There is no time in the day to do anything, but you can carve out that time if it’s important to you. You need to carve out the time. You need to do it for your child, which is something that is a mantra that you have to tell yourself. You need to do it for the relationship that you’re in with your partner who’s raising the child. If you have a relationship with a partner while you’re raising the child, you owe it to all of the people in your family and in your life to pursue your creativity, because not only are you leading by example every day, but it’s for mental health.
It’s hard. You have to do, you know… the dishes might get sacrificed. Your house might be a little bit dirtier, your clothes might not be organized. But that is not as important as your mental health. It’s not as important as your creativity and your creative life. I think that especially in early stages of motherhood, you need to be nice to yourself as far as self-critiquing goes, because you’re learning how to do something. Mothering, there is no guidebook. You’re doing the best you can and your mental energies are focused on that in a way that in the past was distraction-free from your creative life. And I think that ultimately it adds depth because you are learning a different life path that you hadn’t been exposed to before.
But I think the big thing is just not giving up and remembering that time passes and there will be a point where you’re not overwhelmed by motherhood. … And I think that the movement towards the said goal is more important than the arrival there.
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Born in Oklahoma, raised in the Pacific Northwest, and currently based in Detroit, Kat Gardiner carries a restlessness through her writing that’s been honed by a lifelong search for roots. Gardiner studied creative writing at Bennington College in Vermont, and later with Tom Spanbauer in Portland, Oregon.