Lost in Suburbia


A syndicated humor blog for any mom who is trying to hold onto just a little bit of her former, cool, pre-mom self. Tracy Is the author of the book, "Rebel without a Minivan," and the upcoming book, "Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir."

Tracy is a winner of Top 25 Book Author Moms - 2012

What tips would you give a mom who wants to write a book?

Nowadays, with so many books being published as ebooks alone, it makes a lot of sense to consider self-publishing as a viable option for getting your book out there. With a shrinking publishing industry and so much competition from the Internet, it is harder than ever to get your book published through traditional means. I have done it both ways... I self-publshed my first book and got a traditional publisher for my second one. I have to admit, as my own publisher, I was a pain in the neck and would have fired myself early on if not for the fact that there was no one else to replace me with. That said, it was nice to have complete creative control and get a higher royalty rate through self-publishing. On the flip side, I got lots of great input from a number of people at the traditional publishing company who definitely helped me improve the quality of my second book AND they got it into bookstores, which is something that is much more difficult, if not impossible to do with a self-published book.
The best thing to do to decide which route to take is to look at your reason for writing a book (is it for you, some friends and your Aunt Shirley or do you want the whole world to see it?), how important is it to you to have creative control, and what is your platform, or rather, who is going to buy the book. Unless you can show a large, built in audience and a way to market your book, it will be hard to get a traditional publisher to take you on, even if you write the world's greatest proposal and send along a gift basket of chocolate truffles with it.

How do you balance writing and motherhood?

In addition to being a newspaper columnist and a blogger and an author, I am a full time mom who needs time to make sure I get my family's whites their brightest white. With so much to do, I really have to be deliberate about balancing work and motherhood. For me, this means having specific times to wear my different hats. When the kids are home, my time is theirs. I am completely focused on them, except of course, when I am doing the aforementioned laundry or hiding in the bathroom because my daughter needs help with geometry and I can't even add without using my fingers.
To the extent that I can, I try to keep my writing and writing-related work (marketing, billing, etc.) to those hours when the kids are at school. Occasionally some of my work might bleed over into my time with the kids (and by work, I mean wasting time on Facebook and Twitter) but when that happens, I ply the kids with candy and then I can usually juggle both work and motherhood at the same time fairly effectively.

Where do you find writing inspiration?

I write about my life in the burbs'... the kids, the dog, my husband, other people who annoy me, and things I do that annoy other people. Inspiration is quite literally all around me. This is not to say I never have writer's block. There are definitely days where I stare at the computer screen and think, "I got nuthin'." When that happens, I know it's time to walk away from the laptop and do something. Even a simple trip to the grocery store can usually give me fodder for a blog. Or a trip to the bathroom. It's actually pretty amazing how many blogs you can get out of discovering the roll of toilet paper is empty again. Or the toilet seat was left up. Not that either of those things ever happen in my house.
Finding topics other than motherhood to write about is even more important now that my kids are older and they have decided they no longer want their lives publicized for all to read. Of course, they have been saying that since they are seven and I have continued to write about them because I believe it is my right, as a mother and a writer, to embarrass them in print. They are going to hate me now that they are teenagers, anyway, so I might as well give them something worthwhile to complain about.