Creative Mothers Series – The Squirmy Popple

Welcome to Creative Mothers – a fortnightly series of guest blogs for people to reflect on the impact of parenthood on their experience of personal creativity. If you would like to take part with your thoughts, please take a look at the Creative Mothers page and do get in touch.

Today we meet Katie from The Squirmy Popple – when I read her blog posts I can’t help but think ‘has she done this writing lark before?’. Well, actually yes, she has…

In this post Katie shares with us how she has changed the way she writes (and what she writes) in order to keep her creativity alight as she transitioned from life pre-parenthood to life as a parent. 

 

Before I became a parent, I used to write stories.

They were odd stories, usually. I wrote about children disappearing into an evil Santa’s grotto, a couple whose relationship was destroyed by sex robots and a corpse coming to life during an autopsy to swear at the morticians. They were often funny(ish) and involved a lot of dialogue, since I was interested in developing characters but not so much in developing plots.

Amazingly, sometimes these stories won prizes. Not big prizes, mind you – a £25 cheque, a trip to Bournemouth, a weekend in the Lake District – but it was enough to get me thinking that maybe I was onto something with this whole weird story thing.

My inability to stick to a plot meant that most of my stories were short. However, I did participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for two years, where the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I threw myself into NaNo with no outlines or plans, and ended up with two sprawling novels that made no f***ing sense whatsoever. I decided that long-form writing wasn’t for me. I like being able to create something that can be fully formed within a few days, or even a few hours.

I haven’t written a single short story in the 11 months since having my daughter. I find parenting to be so intense and all-consuming that I can’t imagine devoting any mental energy to a character’s imaginary issues when I have so many real-life issues to focus on. Will my baby nap today? Why is she throwing all of her fruits and vegetables on the floor? How can I get her to stop putting the laptop power cord in her mouth?

This is where blogging comes in, I suppose. It allows me to be creative while still focusing on the only thing that I can really pay attention to right now – the squirmy little baby who has filled my life to the brim. Plus, by writing about my parenting adventures and struggles, I can start to make sense of them. Sometimes seeing the words on the screen helps me realise that I’m not making such a mess of this whole motherhood thing after all.

Blogging is also great for me because I never have to write more than around 1,000 words at a time. People are lazy on the internet. They like to read pieces they can scan in a few minutes, with lots of line breaks and short sentences. It’s the perfect art form for someone with very little patience and a poor attention span.

Sleepless nights and dirty nappies may sound like dull writing subjects compared to sex robots and swearing corpses, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Days out that involve nothing but walking back and forth in front of a shopping centre and waving at dogs? Watching videos of frogs singing in Spanish? Going almost a year without a full night’s sleep?

You couldn’t make it up.

Kite reading to a very little Popple

 

You can find Katie blogging at The Squimy Popple. She is also on Twitter @squirmypopple.

Pleeeease, if you do one thing now (once you’ve followed Katie on Twitter and read her blog!) please read the short story about the corpse that comes to life that is linked in Katie’s post above. It’s absurd, dark and elegantly written…well worth a few moments of your time. You can also find it here.

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10 thoughts on “Creative Mothers Series – The Squirmy Popple

  1. Love this – Katie you are such a natural writer. I also just read your story it’s so good. I think it makes a lot of sense that you don’t have the time to write short stories now. And I am with you about how the blog fits in – writing about children just works and definitely helps us figure things out and feel less alone in this motherhood business. Lovely post my dear xx

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  2. What a wonderful series and I love that blogging is meeting your creative needs-I feel the same about the outlet for me too and I’m sure as your baby grows up you can return to your other stories-which I’d love to read btw! Fab post x

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  3. I love this. I too feel like blogging is filling the creative hole since I got writers block with writing my book and now I have not looked back. You whole thoughts and life change once you have a baby- i identify with the change of tack once you have that love for another being. Will look at your blog and have a good read! #fortheloveofBLOG x Lou at http://www.peppermintcove.com

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  4. I love this and a fab series. I have been writing for YEARS but never quite bought into what I was writing (although one story I still want to go back to to edit as I’m v fond of it). And then my daughter came along and boom – she became my muse! My inspiration for this whole raft of poetry and for, of course, Baby Anon (disclaimer: She is NOT Baby Anon as BA is fictional but she inspired me. I came up with the idea for BA when I was 7 days overdue…my bubs arrived the next day). It’s great that you have found blogging gives you that creative outlet. I don’t know if you feel like me but I find it stressful NOT to write x #fortheloveofBLOG

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  5. What another brilliant series you have here Lucy, just like I love finding out about other blogger’s, this allows the reader to find out a little more about a blogger. I never realised that Katie Popple was also a writer, when reading her blog posts you can see that she has a natural talent for it, especially signing up for ultra-writing (50,000 words in one month – wow!). I think that blogging is the perfect hobby for those wishing to write, and one that can easily fit around babies/children. Thanks so much for joining us this week at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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    1. Oh I complete agree – blogging keeps the creativity flowing and the writing in practise. Yes I know the biggie writing challenge fills me with dread!! I couldn’t do it. I’m glad you like the series, I really enjoy finding out about other people and giving people a space to share their reflections on creativity in all its guises. Thank you for hosting #fortheloveofBLOG x

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  6. You can totally tell Katie is great at writing, it always flows so well and it just makes sense! I’m still learning about writing, I find it hard. I struggle to get 500 words!! I’m still procrastinating my creative mother post!! One day when it’s least convenient I’ll email it to you… Probably when you’re giving birth!! #fortheloveofblog

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  7. I love reading this series, it’s so inspiring to hear about all the creative mothers trying to balance everything! Blogging is perfect for those moments where we don’t have much of an attention span, but want to write something. I look forward to checking out Katie’s blog. #fortheloveofBLOG

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