Writer, with fetus: Shane Jones

Shane Jones, author of Light Boxes, The Failure Six, and Daniel Fights a Hurricane.

He and his wife are expecting their first child in the fall.

What is your writing schedule like now, and how do you anticipate it will change when the baby is born?

My writing schedule is…well, there is no schedule. I work a 9-5 job, so if I have a project going I’ll try to find pockets to write – either before work or after. Right now I don’t have a project, which is great in some ways, and terrible in others. I go a little crazy with guilt if I’m not working on something, but lately my thoughts are consumed with baby. I think those writing pockets start to close more and more as the birth approaches. I can feel it. It’s amazing and terrifying. I have no plans to have a writing schedule after the baby is born because I don’t know what to expect. I imagine the first year will be incredibly difficult to find writing time. I’m going to just wait and see what happens.

Have you and your wife talked about making sure you each get time for your work/creative pursuits after the baby is born? What’s the plan?

I laughed when I read this question. I’m sorry. But I can’t imagine my pregnant wife’s reaction if I brought up the topic of “my creative pursuits after the baby is born.” I don’t think my writing is going to be a real priority after the baby is here. But I do realize it’s important for both of us to have our own time and be individuals, not just parents. I want to keep writing. I think if I’m happy with creating more stuff on the page, that will translate into me being a more aware and attentive father. Does that make sense? Like, if I’m not writing at all, I’ll be thinking about writing. And that’s not good. I’ll be holding this little baby boy and thinking about how to take a pyramid and melt it. I don’t want that. I think once the baby is here, a routine of chaos will be in place and I’ll feel my way around the routine of chaos and see where the pockets are to jump into and write a few sentences, pages.

Has your writing been affected by impending fatherhood? How about your reading preferences?

My writing has been affected in one major way and that’s thinking “is what I’m writing really that important now?” I realize this probably sounds really dramatic, but I don’t know how any writer as a parent can’t think this. The idea that I’ll be raising a child juxtaposed against how to write a graph about a horse collapsing in on itself and disappearing through a portal (just a random example, but something I’d probably write) seems kind of insane. I think it’s a general “what the hell am I doing?” while writing now. I’m struggling with it. My thought process is changing. As far as reading, I’m leaning more towards non-fiction. Some baby stuff online. Did you know they sell something called a “Peepee teepee?”

Do you look at your published work differently now, knowing your son will read it one day?

I have a nightmare vision that my son will grow into a varsity football player bro and find my books. In the nightmare vision he shoves me down a staircase and calls me “balloon man” while tossing my first novel, Light Boxes, on my crumpled body. That’s a worst case scenario that I don’t think will happen. I really hope that doesn’t happen. I’m not going to push my son to read my books. It will just be a simple “this is something your father does” and if he’s interested he’ll read them. If not, that’s fine too. I just don’t want to get pushed down the stairs. That’s really my main goal as a father to a son – not to get pushed down the stairs.

Are you terrified? Admit it. You’re terrified. It’s okay to be terrified. What scares you most about this whole baby-on-the-way thing?

It’s a really weird mix of excitement and terror. So yes, I’m scared. I’m scared to be responsible for a baby. But I’m excited and confident and my mind and heart are fully into it. I also have a lot of support from my wife and friends and family. I don’t feel alone in this. And this is something I want to do. I think a lot of the fear comes from what I call “worried layers.” That is, you start thinking about the birth, and what about the car seat, and what about food for the baby, and what about where the baby is going to go to school and WHAT ABOUT COLLEGE!? and it can feel really overwhelming. So, I think it’s important to stay simple in the fear. I want the baby to be healthy and loved and taken care of. I want the birth to go well without any complications. But so much of this is out of my, and our, control, right? That’s somehow both comforting and scary. I just try and lean into the excitement aspect of having a baby. I mean, I get to show my son what the sky looks like. How exciting is that?

You can ask one question of those writers with kids who’ve gone before you. What do you want to know?

Should I get a Diaper Genie? I have a friend who said it was a must. Another said it’s silly and not to get it. Many people feel very strongly about Diaper Genie.

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5 comments on “Writer, with fetus: Shane Jones
  1. Michelle Dimon says:

    Good luck! I think your combination of excitement, terror and expecting the unexpected will serve you well. Expecting the first year to be hard in ways that you can’t predict now is, in my opinion, the best approach. It’s the people who expect everything to always be like a Hallmark ad that have trouble. That said, having a realistic plan for how you (and your wife) will make personal time is a good idea, even if you have to revise the plan many times along the way.
    Oh, and I have a Diaper Genie and I like it.

  2. Cindy says:

    Get the Diaper Genie.

    I love what a realist you are — that it’s probably not appropriate right now to be scheduling time for creative pursuits after the baby’s born. But you’re right: It’s ultimately going to do your family good that you’re able to have an outlet.

    LOVED “Light Boxes,” BTW. I was reading it on a plane (after Cari suggested it on this blog), and was mad when we landed before I’d finished.

    Congratulations on your growing family!

  3. admin says:

    Skip the Diaper Genie and get more washcloths. You will never have enough washcloths.

  4. juliette says:

    get someone to buy you a diaper genie (hello Baby Shower) AND get more wash cloths.

  5. Leslie says:

    Use cloth diapers and forget the Diaper Genie.

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Writer, With Kids