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.

Still Writing

Still writing – as in ‘I’m still writing’ or the ‘writing is still’? Completely stopped more like…this has been less of a blog break and more of a blog abandonment.

And on that note – Hello!

Um. Well, this is awkward.

Hello!! Is anyone out there!!? Helloooo!!!

Ah well.

So this was supposed to be my ‘out of office’ post. I think it has taken so long to write that it is fast turning into my ‘I’m a little bit back’ post.

I would love to say that I’m back from a series of immensely exciting adventures that have taken the place of blogging but I’d be lying.

Mother and son sat on hill looking out to shoreline/cliffs and sea. Orangey soil and hills. Mother in black and boy in blue.
Travelling the world! Or the Isle of Wight anyway…

Instead I was too tired to write in the evenings and too tired to get up early in the mornings to write. I then got out of the habit and, shock horror, I didn’t mind and I didn’t miss my blog. I enjoyed the break from it all and being out of the game (which I wasn’t very good at anyway) of social media is particularly refreshing.

But then I really did mind and really did miss it and so it’s time to restart the habit. I’m a little rusty so you’ll have to bear with me.

What I missed most was putting words down somewhere solid. Consistently over the year I’ve been reminded of one of my Creative Mothers contributors, Claire from Art and Soul. In her piece she gives tips for finding time to write…she reminds us that you can ‘write’ anywhere; that writing in your head still counts as writing. I love that idea, I’m sure most people who have a penchant for the written word find themselves writing constantly – I compose my absolute best pieces in the car, in the shower and before I go to sleep at night (the last one being slightly annoying).

So yes I’m still writing. I’m just now hoping to put more of it down on the virtual paper we call blogs. And I think that using over 350 words to simply say ‘hello, I’m back’ is an interesting start – but it’s ok ,the next post I’ve got coming is AMAZING. I wrote it when I was washing my hair this morning…

 

Holidays and Highlights

‘The seaside makes me happy Mummy’

‘Me too lovebug…’

Little boy sat on the beach playing

I know I’m a sporadic blog-poster at the best of times so you probably won’t really notice the difference, but I’m going on a blogging and an actual holiday. I really feel as though I’ve been winding down at the moment ready to take a little break…refocusing and refreshing my mind.

Before I go (although I’m not going completely, just changing the tempo) I thought I’d indulge in a few reflections. I’ve had a lovely joyous time blogging this year. It has continued in its own unique way to give me an expressive outlet, the little bit of creation I am in control of…it has also provided me with some tangible highlights: Continue reading

Creative Mothers Series – Single Mum Speaks

Welcome to the thirteenth issue in the Creative Mothers Series –  a guest series for people to share their thoughts and experiences of the impact of parenthood on their creativity.

This will be the last post in the series for a few months, but I look forward to sharing more in the Autumn. Please do get in touch using the details on my contact page if you would like to take part with your thoughts. And you can find more information about the series including the other twelve posts here

Now onto today’s post, and I’m delighted to welcome Min from Single Mum Speaks. Her blog has long been a favourite of mine – her honesty, wry humour and eloquence makes each post a compelling read. 

In this piece Min shares with us the place creativity has always had in her life and the significance of that creativity for her now. These are thoughts that really resonate with me, as I’m sure they will with lots of people…

 

Continue reading

Creative Mothers Series – ScandiMummy

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 I welcome Nadia from ScandiMummy to the Creative Mothers series. Her blog has got to be one of the most stylish little pockets of the Internet I’ve had the pleasure of being invited into.

Here Nadia shares her history in the creative industries and how she has channelled that creativity now – along with some inspirations and challenges that I’m sure a lot of us can relate to.

It’s a wonderful read that for me hits the nail on the head with my experiences in creative industries – namely the, more often than not, lack of creative control and the incompatibility of large parts of the industry with parenthood. Not that it’s all bad but maybe in lots of ways blogging is better…!? 

Continue reading

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. 

 

Continue reading

What Does Blogging Success Look Like To You?

For those of you who read my blog regularly or who are bloggers yourselves you’ll know that it’s awards season at the moment in the bloggy world (think less floor-length gowns and red carpets and more badges and uncomfortable vote pleas). I was lucky enough to be shortlisted in the Readers’ Choice category in the BritMums BiBs Awards (Brilliance in Blogging).

The next step was to attempt to become a finalist – when ten became five. Unsurprisingly I tripped up on this step (much like I do daily on stray bits of washing that populate our stairs) and didn’t make the final five in my category of fabulous bloggers. Continue reading

Creative Mothers Series – Babies, Biscuits and Booze

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.

This week I’m delighted to welcome Ellen from Babies, Biscuits and Booze. One of my favourite new bloggers on the blogging block, I think Ellen has a beautiful way with words – balancing real humour and thoughtfulness in her ponderings on parenthood. 

Today Ellen shares the place writing has occupied in her life over the years – from private diaries, and personal letters to a public blog. I find her enjoyment and positivity for what writing and creating can bring to an individual infectious…. 

Continue reading

Filing Cabinet of Friends

I love my real-life filing cabinet. I know, exciting stuff. Admittedly I’m a bit rubbish at getting round to actually filling the cabinet – the post piles up on the pile marked ‘filing’ (there is no pile marked ‘filing’, it’s just a pile) and I’ll have an admin binge and then do nothing until the next time I can’t see my son over the unsteady mountain of paper on the kitchen table.

IF I opened my lovely filing cabinet to a little party of friends waving flags and drinking bubbly or tea, depending on the time of day, I imagine I’d clear my table more often. Until any miniature friends volunteer for that job though I’m left with just a filing cabinet. Continue reading