I am so excited to introduce our first guest blogger, Krista Brock, the author of Kristabrockauthor.com She does an extraordinary job in her blogging space, where she talks about parenting, education and children’s books that help them to be more creative.
I highly suggest you to read her blog, if you want your kid to be a book-worm. She gives so many practical tips and ideas in her blog for imparting reading habit in kids.
I thought it will be perfect to interview her so that we all can get to know about her, her blog and her upcoming book, The Nighttime Adventures of Calvin and Ollie. She has discussed some of wonderful children’s books in her guest post (which will be published in a few days) and I can’t wait to share it with you all.
Now over to her interview :
Mommy Me : Tell us about your writing journey and your wonderful blog.
Krista Brock : My kindergarten teacher praised my writing abilities and encouraged me to enter a writing contest. I won. That really stuck with me. I continued to enjoy writing all through school, and in elementary school, I really enjoyed the chances to draw pictures to go with the stories I wrote.
My writing journey has been pretty linear. I always enjoyed it and pretty much always knew it’s what I wanted to do. I studied journalism in college and have written and edited for several magazines and online publications throughout my career. More recently, I decided to create a children’s book and have launched my own blog.
On my blog I explore topics in parenting, education, and reading with a strong emphasis on creativity. I share ideas about how parents can foster creativity and a love of reading in their children.
Mommy Me : What is that one motivational factor that drives you to write for children?
Krista Brock : I think I’ve always appreciated children’s unbridled imaginations and creativity. When you write for children, the options are endless. Also, I suppose I just really enjoyed those early writing and drawing assignments elementary school, and maybe I wanted to relive that.
Mommy Me : How do you juggle your mom duties, blogging and a book writing? What’s your schedule like? Can you give some tips for moms to multi-task?
Krista Brock : My mom duties come first. Before having kids I was managing editor of a magazine. I loved the work, but the schedule could be a little unpredictable. There were some late nights at the office, and it took real dedication. Even though I enjoyed it, I left before having kids to start freelancing. I knew I wanted to be able to put my children first, which isn’t always easy with a full-time job and deadlines. With freelancing, I can say no. (Of course, once I commit to a project, I can’t and won’t back out, but at least I have some control over my work load.)
These days my schedule works pretty well. We moved to Barcelona almost two years ago, and I like the school schedule here. My kids are in school from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a two-hour lunch break at 1 p.m. In the mornings, I write and run errands. Then I get to spend a little time with my kids for lunch. Then in the afternoons, I either work more or study Spanish.
When it comes to multi-tasking and juggling work and career goals with family and kids, I think we all want some easy answer or magic formula. The thing is, it’s hard. We’re all drawn to those headlines that say, five ways to multi-task, or 10 ways to be productive as a mom. Multi-tasking is largely a myth. I might make notes or brainstorm something while my kids are playing, but the honest truth is, when you’re working you’re not spending time with your kids, and when you’re spending time with your kids, you’re not working. You have to find a balance that is sustainable for you—at least in the short-term. Kids schedules and needs change all the time, so their demands on your time will fluctuate.
Those early baby/toddler years were exhausting. I would squeeze in writing and work calls while my kids were napping, crossing my fingers they’d nap long enough for me to finish a task or call. Then I’d work again after they went to bed at night. I was tired, but I didn’t want to give up my work or time with my kids.
My advice to other moms is to prioritize, and say no when you need to. I always hated saying no to a client or a project, but sometimes it’s just not realistic. It’s so easy to overcommit. Think about how you’ll look back on this moment in the future, and spend your time doing the things you won’t regret later. Lastly, when you’re trying to take care of kids and pursue a career or creative endeavors, let the house get messy, and order take-out sometimes.
Mommy Me : You have worked as a writer and an editor for a number of magazines for many years. When did you realize you want to become a children’s book author and why?
Krista Brock : I’ve wanted to write and illustrate a children’s book for years. I’ve always enjoyed writing and art, and I have degrees in art and journalism, so it’s a good fit. My mother has always encouraged me to pursue writing and illustrating for children too. It’s something I’ve thought about for a long time, and I am finally doing it.
Mommy Me : Tell us about your first book, which is ready for its release. How excited are you? How long did it take for you to complete it and how was your experience writing it?
Krista Brock : I am very excited about the release of my first children’s book. It’s been a long time coming. Like I said, I’ve thought about writing and illustrating a children’s book for many years.
The Nighttime Adventures of Calvin and Ollie is a story about a young boy who doesn’t want to go to sleep. His stuffed owl comes to life, and the two of them go on an adventure in the night forest. The book has a bit of a twist, which is that it is not fully illustrated. Children get to draw out the characters themselves as they imagine them.
As a mother, I experience the passage of time through my children’s lives, so I’ll say I started working on this book when my son was two-and-a-half. He just turned five. It was a slow-moving project. I wrote the story, sent it to a friend or two, and then there was a lapse before I started the illustrations. Then we moved from the United States to Spain, which was a project in itself (massive amounts of paperwork, selling our cars, packing, getting adjusted to living somewhere entirely new). There were starts and stops along the way, but I am very excited that the is complete and ready for release!
Mommy Me : What’s your advice for parents who want to inculcate reading habit in children?
Krista Brock : Children will read if they think it’s fun, so help them have fun with it. Start enjoying books with them when they are young. Find books that interest them and books that make them laugh. Read to them regularly. Bedtime is the obvious choice, but any time is fine. For a little while when my kids were toddlers, I also read to them at lunch because it was a time of day when they were sitting still.
When your child learns to read, don’t stop reading with him or her. Continue reading aloud to your big kids before bed, and talk about what you’re reading together. Research has shown that children’s interest in pleasure reading declines from nearly 100 percent in kindergarten to just 54 percent by fourth grade. It is also during these years that many parents tend to drop off the routine of reading aloud with their kids. Keep the ritual going. Keep reading fun.
Lastly, if you want reading to be a habit for your kids, you need to have a reading habit too. I once read that you should let your children see you read to encourage them to read. I don’t really sit around reading novels in front of my children, but I do have books on my nightstand. My children have noticed, and we’ve talked about them.
I hope you all enjoyed this little chat with Krista Brock. I am so glad and thankful that she decided to write a guest post for Mommy Me. I wish Krista the best for her writing journey.
I am currently inviting guest posts for my blog. If you are interested in a collab, read here.