On motherhood and writing

So….it’s been a while. Much has happened. In short, motherhood is decimating, on so many levels, especially with a spirited toddler.  Please don’t tell me, “Wait til she becomes a teenager!” I will strangle you with my mind.

My pre-motherhood writing practice: Daily, disciplined, at my desk, mug of tea, nature sounds playing in the background.

Current writing practice: WHAT PRACTICE!? WHAT DESK?

Haha. I kid you. I do have a desk. I’m just not there as much as I’d like to be. Right now, I take what I get. Much like a starving person and scraps of food. Motherhood has shown me how much of an introvert I really am, and how much writing helps me surface for much-needed air.

I loved these articles:

  1. Freelancing with a Family: How to Balance Your Work and Your Kids
  2. Yes, It Is Possible to Write a Novel With Small Children Hanging On You
  3. Making Time to Write When You Have Young Children: Mission Impossible?

This post really resonates with me: After Page One: Claiming Space. So beautiful and so real. There is no perfect writing room for me, either – but I make do what with I have.

My daughter spurs my creativity, as much as I need to work around her. I write this as my toddler woke up from sleep. My husband brought her down to have breakfast. She’s in a good mood this morning, so that buys me approximately 10-20 minutes, before she starts calling for me once my husband leaves for work. Go, Raidah, go!

If you’re a writing parent, especially a writing mum, I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you find time and energy to write? What helps? What doesn’t help? How do you balance forgiving yourself for not writing as much as you’d like, alongside celebrating your small victories?

Some blog ideas I’m playing with, as I resurrect my blog from the abyss of mothering a toddler:

  • Book review on N.K. Jemisin’s incredible Broken Earth trilogy.
  • Book review on Zen Cho’s Sorcerer To the Crown.
  • Reflections on reading my poetry at my sister’s chapbook launch.
  • I finally submitted my poetry manuscript to the wonderful Ethos Books!

I’m open to suggestions. Leave a comment and share your thoughts 🙂

Why write?

“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”

— Anaïs Nin

I’ve lived an interesting life spanning many continents. My childhood, adolescence and adulthood each had their raptures and ruptures, and the threads that kept me together were faith and fiction. I remember being 12, new to Australia and the labyrinth of highschool. I had my own minotaurs, and no Ariadne to guide my way. My sanctuary, however, was the school library, where I was safe in the cocoon of Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic. There, I lived vicariously through Daine, who was more afraid than I was, yet she grew through her trials and, of course, saved the day. Now that was a good book – it gave me respite from reality! Most of all, I could relate to Daine, and hoped for her courage in the face of adversity.

As an adult, writing gives me a healthy outlet for the drama of daily life; my “Are You Married Yet?” article spawned a lively debate. I’m very grateful for the outpouring of support, and as for those who disagreed…well, there’s always two sides to a fence 🙂 Writing that piece was fun and therapeutic, and personally, I find writing opinion pieces much, much easier than fiction.

Finding Jamilah, on the other hand, took months of concentrated effort. I made a point of writing every day. When I procrastinated, my mental “You should be writing!” would finally reach melting point, and tip me over to writing something. It could be a word, it could be a sentence, sometimes two…but that first step of opening up my word document was the hardest thing. Akin to pulling a tooth out. Minus anaesthetic.  Once that was done, then usually, the story flowed. Usually.

When it didn’t flow, I would try another day, and another day, and another day, and slowly, my story came together. Supportive friends and family made all the difference during my writing slumps! Friends and family are a tremendous blessing, particularly when it’s late, you’re tired and wondering why you started writing this story to begin with. They remind you that your story is a a story worth reading, so get on with the writing! So if you’re writing your own book – keep going. Don’t stop. Have a supportive group of friends and family around you who 1) encourage you 2) hold you accountable when you get lazy and start chilling out at Writer’s Block!