Creative Mothers Project

In January 2016 I launched the Creative Mothers series on occupation: (m)other. It was a platform for people to share their thoughts about the impact of motherhood on personal creativity. I loved receiving the responses, so varied and thoughtful in their reflections.

I knew when I started the collection that I wanted to do more with the idea, take it somewhere…that vague and comfortable potential empty space of ‘somewhere’. However I paused the online series while I was pregnant with my second child; the pause growing into a two-year absence as the demands of young children took over everything else. But I didn’t let go of the core ideas of the series. Instead they swirled and developed, straining to grow faster than my time or energy could accommodate.

Over the past few months it has become clear to me that the time to define the somewhere of this is nearing and a project needs building. Continue reading

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Just Write

I think I’ve got writer’s block…although that sounds a bit pretentious and like I consider myself a writer, which is actually more accurately starting to get to the nub of the problem because I don’t. Consider myself a writer that is. Really I think I’m having a more all-encompassing creative crisis. Because obviously that sounds far less pretentious…

I’ve lost the motivation to publish anything on my blog (and yes I get the irony of that feeling and this post). I’m frustrated with all the sharing. There’s so much sharing – twitter, facebook, instagram, linkies. Everyone is sharing everything and it’s all just too noisy. I have also recently completely shrugged off the cloak of blog anonymity that I have carefully worn for almost three years and so now I find myself frustrated by writing TO share. Everything I write now needs to be written with various potential readers in mind. It’s trapping and I wistfully gaze back to my days of writing into a void.

I’m frustrated with how I write. The way everything I write at the moment sounds the same. Variation is not my friend. My short sentences, lists, subclauses…ellipsis. Slightly cringey form, like the teenage me trying too hard to move people.

But that’s the other thing about my writing. It may well be articulate, I do believe I can express an idea eloquently, sometimes entertain and even make the odd odd person laugh BUT I don’t move people. Not profoundly. I write just for fun and, mostly, just for me. I write about the everyday, I write about silly things…I have never invited my readers to suspend their disbelief and accompany me on a real yarn of a story.

Because anyway what stories have I got inside me? I’m just not sure if I’ve got any. On the odd occasion ideas might float up like bubbles, and, like bubbles, they pop as I try to catch them. The rest stay sealed; vacuum-wrapped in the deep freeze of my untroubled and bland middle-class soul.

How depressing.

But the good news is that becoming a mother changed that for a time. It gave me a glimpse of deep creativity. The utter implosion of ‘life as you once knew it’, the befriending of a new identity and the primitive horticultural mindset required to respond to new life collided in me. From it I felt a profound need to create and words were my tools.

But then the sparks of the collision died down and soon they became buried in school reports, stay and plays, doctors appointments, and many more of life’s practical banalities. And that identity – a timeless, creative and fierce maternal power – became tainted by society’s belittling of care and the whisper that feminist power is not feminist enough, or powerful enough, if it’s used to look after your own children.

I’m scared to completely lose sight of that creative being though – the writer that could be. So I thought I’d start taking my writing a bit more seriously, stop writing ‘just for fun’; maybe make a go of being that writer. I’m currently studying for a diploma at the London School of Journalism. I’m enjoying it – I’m learning a new way of writing and I dare say it will be useful. But the new way of writing I’m learning is formulaic. I’m learning a set of rules and applying them to a bundle of words – no more than 30 per sentence and not too hyperbolic, mind. The thrill I get from completing an assignment is akin to the satisfaction of finishing a jigsaw puzzle rather than any great creative epiphany.

Maybe I’ll find creativity at work – I’m ready to start working again and I work in the arts sector, so maybe… Two joys of working in the arts is that you are surrounded by like-minded wonderfully creative people and you are relatively close to artistic happenings. But actually working in the arts in a project management sense can be incredibly uncreative. It’s an administrative job where you are not the maker, the artist. Normally someone much more talented, or occasionally just  someone more confident and determined, is that.

So what now? How do I get past this writers block, this creative crisis!? What is the actual point of this meandering navel-gazing blog post?

Well actually I just wanted to write something/anything and this is what I know at this moment. And so perhaps that’s the point, or a point anyway. I need to remember to write, write about what I know and write frequently.

Who really cares if I’m not creative enough? If I’m bland? Who cares if my poems are crap and my blog posts boring? I feel grumpy and unproductive when I don’t write. I feel stagnant and frustrated when I don’t write.

So I will write. I will write past this block and I will write for me.

Creative Mothers Series – Beta Mummy

Welcome to the Creative Mothers series – 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.

Over the last couple of months, I have giggled, chortled and laughed out loud (as the kids say, do they still say that!?) at the Adventures of Beta Mummy. I am delighted to welcome said Beta Mummy to the Creative Mothers series today as she slightly nervously steps out from behind her doodles to stand next to them and share with us her personal story of creativity.   

If this series has taught me anything (and actually it has taught me a lot!) it’s that creativity is diverse and can arise from almost any situation to bring a mostly positive effect on our lives and on our exploration of identity.

Happy events can spur us, personal illness can inspire us, the need to break a daily routine can encourage us, unexpected challenges can redirect us, and heartbreak? Well it’s time to hand over to Beta Mummy for that one…
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Creative Mothers Series – Michelle Crosby

Welcome to the Creative Mothers series – 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 Michelle, who blogs at www.alittlehelpwouldbenice.blogspot.co.uk, shares her thoughts about the place creativity has in her life now. She tells a tale of creativity lived once, lost and rediscovered.  I think her story will resonate widely.

It doesn’t sound as though Michelle’s had the easiest ride, through life-changes and anxiety, yet her words are positively stirring! A call to arms for us to be proud of our identity but to recognise the need for that identity to be shaped by ourselves... Continue reading

Trapped But Happy – My Pregnancy Paradox

I don’t know how to start this post, I think I should probably start with a disclaimer and a plea.

Disclaimer: This in many ways a selfish post, I know that. I know there are people feeling dark things and going through horrible things, I am not one of those people. I am incredibly lucky to be pregnant. I wouldn’t want to wish it away and I know there are thousands of people who would give anything to be in my position. I am already a little bit in love with my next child, I hope with all my heart to meet them in September and I wish nothing but goodness, health and light for them…I think it’s fair to say that this post isn’t about them as a reality just them as a concept.

Plea: I’m not looking for judgement, I’m looking for advice – am I normal, is this normal? Will everything sort itself out!?

Right so no pressure my wise readers! And please bear all that in mind as I embark on what could be a confusing medley of hormonal emotions, we’ll see…
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Creative Mothers Series – Someone’s Mum

Welcome to the fifth edition in the Creative Mothers series! This is a space 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.

This week Danielle from Someone’s Mum shares a wonderfully celebratory post filled to bursting with lots of lovely examples of her creative endeavours.

This is also an eloquent presentation of the complicated emotions many new parents have when getting to grips with their identity post-children. It particularly resonates with me, as Danielle’s sentiments in the final few paragraphs mirror my thoughts about identity exactly…we just got there in different ways (sadly I didn’t win anything!).

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Creative Mothers Series – PND Recovery

Welcome to the third edition in the Creative Mothers Series. This is a space 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 get in touch!

I’m delighted this week to welcome Amy from PND Recovery. Amy’s blog is a place of beauty, full of thoughtful musings on life and on living with Post Natal Depression.

I’m sure Amy’s post here will resonate with many people, not just those who have been formally diagnosed with PND, but anyone who can understand depression and anxiety. Amy not only expresses how creativity can help with healing, she also offers a powerful reminder of the importance of recognising who we are after becoming a parent, and that we should take time for that person; our inner ‘me’. 
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Three Moments in Time

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Sunday marked the official end of the professional cricket season….HURRAH! Hang out the bunting and pass the trumpet. There was the usual shindig at the club – dinner, speeches, awards, speeches, bubbly, speeches. It was a really lovely evening actually, but the event itself will soon pass into the fug of the twelve previous ones in my memory. What will stay with me, however, is the context…my personal experience of attending it as a Mother and how it compares with the previous two also attended (sort of) as a Mother.
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