Children grow up fast and miss parents when they are gone. Spouses get lonely and miss the companionship of their mate. Yet, sometimes writers have to get out to promote and sell their work. Over a period of months I met many of them. They each shared how they balance book touring and staying in the loop with family members.
Baruti Kafele is an educator and author of education books and material. I met him during an education summit in Austin, where he was keynote speaker and a panelist. His book, Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and In Life sold out during the event. He stated that he is a husband of 25 years and a father of two. He gave his tips for managing a family while touring. His straightforward strategy follows below:
- Balance your time on the road.
- Maximize your time with your family when at home
- Communicate regularly with your family when you are on the road.
I caught up with Erdreich at Austin’s Book Woman store in April. She was promoting her book, Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement. She told the audience that she is the mother of an almost 7 month old daughter. “We’ve been lucky,” she explained. She shared how she makes things work.
- Calls upon the grandparents on both sides to help out.
- Allows friends and other family members to pinch-hit.
- Calls home regularly, but doesn’t talk to the baby. As Erdreich explained it, the baby hasn’t figured out how she can hear her mommy but not see her, so this causes her to be confused.
- Skype one day before returning home. This includes letting her daughter see her.
Brett is an author/illustrator of long standing. She is the author of titles such as The Mitten and Gingerbread Baby. Her solution for balancing her marriage and writing travel demands was super simple. She mentioned that her children are all mature adults. Still, she shared the simple solution she uses to make things work.
- “My husband travels with me on the tour bus.” On www.janbrett.com it indicates that her husband, Joe Hearne, is a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
I met Stewart at An Evening of Poetry event in Austin, where she was a featured poet and panelist. She had an amazing presence, and was very engaging as she shared her poems. I interviewed her after the event, and she shared that she is very close to her mother. When I checked out her website (ebpoet.com), I discovered that she has more than just the featured poetry book promoted during the event (Love Letters to Balled Fists). Her site also indicates that she does workshops as well as book tours and speaking engagements. She had some dynamic tips on how to stay connected to loved ones while she’s away.
- Text messages. “My mother and I might just text some lyrics from a song that makes us think about each other or a moment we’ve shared.”
- Phone calls.
- Keeping pictures of everyone who is dear to her so she can look at them daily.
The Last Word
Sometimes writers make their living by traveling to promote their work. The family they love and support can be kept near and dear in various ways. There is something that fits every lifestyle and scenario. The smart writer will have a menu of strategies, and find what works for them. If they are even wiser, they will tweak and adjust when necessary. After all, the one’s who love them will want them to have good success, but will not want to lose the valuable relationship as a result.