Category: motherhood and creativity


Creative Soulful Motherhood

Hi ūüôā If you’ve landed here and would like to check out what I’m up to these days, head over to my latest creation:¬†Wild Motherhood, a portal for creative, soulful mothers with free resources, sliding scale coaching services, and a new blog! I’m writing about subjects like being an introverted mother, the wildness inside us all, and the messy imperfection of life as a single mother creative. There’s also more information on there about my writing workshops for mothers, including Wild Motherhood workshops which combine yoga, writing and sharing circles. You can find excerpts from my upcoming book, ‘Wild Motherhood: Keeping the Creative and Soul Fires Burning‘ and join the Wild Motherhood Tribe. As a taster of the book, I am giving away a free E-book, ‘Creative Fuel for Wild Mothers’, which you can get your hands on over here.

If you want to know more about my published writing and copywriting/content creation services, check out my main writer website. 

Hope to see you there!

Creative tips for mothers

Free E-book for Creative Mothers

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(Jon Steel).

I’m having one of those smooth flowing days that seems to often come after dancing the 5 Rhythms¬†movement meditation practice- and I was lucky enough to make it two classes this week, Saturday in London and Wednesday in Brighton. Somehow surrendering into each rhythm of the dance and following my own changing moments lays a pathway for going deeper into my creative work and also for relating to others in a fresh way.

Funnily enough the effects seem to have nothing to do with how much fun my dance was – at both classes I struggled with self consciousness, inertia, crippling self-judgment, and many other shades in between (interspersed by moments of beautiful connection with both self and other). I guess it’s just about being with all those different states and not running from them, and feeling the river that runs underneath them all. After two years of doing the 5 Rhythms practice regularly I can feel like a complete beginner on the dancefloor all over again, just as when I show up to the blank page, or to a day of mothering, I can feel totally clueless. I start over, and from somewhere the impulses come, and as the facilitator on the inquiry group I’m in says, ‘I happen’, it just happens, life happens.

In my continued effort to get my work more ‘out there’ as a way of motivating and encouraging myself, and feeling part of a community of writers, I’ve had some pleasing results in the past couple of weeks. My flash fiction piece, ‘The Idea of An Aeroplane’ appeared in Flash Flood Journal, a¬†flash-fiction journal created by writers and edited by a team of volunteer editors on behalf of National Flash-Fiction Day 2012. A¬†75 word version of this piece has appeared on ‘Paragraph Planet’¬†on¬†May 27th, where the challenge is to make an impact with exactly 75 words.¬†I am also working on a guest blog proposal for the American natural parenting¬†Mothering Magazine, as a follow on from my article on ‘Wild Motherhood’ in¬†Wild Sister Magazine¬†(April issue). Watch this space!

Writing in an unlined moleskine notebook for the first time is bringing out some lively pieces I look forward to developing, which I think would have struggled to break out of my usual traditional lined notebook. The suddenly sunny weather has meant more longhand writing rather than being hunched over a laptop. I am still laboriously reading through my novel and just itching to write some scenes when I am familiar with the plot again; I’m also 2/3 of the way through a children’s story and nearly finished editing 18 poems for submission to the Mslexia poetry pamphlet competition. I am delving deeper into the subject matter of spirituality, creativity and motherhood for my future non-fiction book by compiling a list of possible interviewees – there are so many juicy women to interview! – and looking at other books and blog posts on the subject. I came across this one, which condenses a lot of wisdom in one place.

I particularly loved this quote from Gangaji, from her question and answer session printed in ‘You Are That’:¬†What is inherently free is who you are. Who you are does not¬†become¬†free. It¬†is¬†free. In recognizing this, there is the natural ability to¬†respond. Before that,¬†responsibility¬†is a concept of duty or of something to be shouldered. It may be tempered with love and care, but it is also something to be born. Therefore, your child becomes an objectification, a separation between you and that which you really are. (emphasis added).This is a deadly joke! You are this very child. Recognize this and you are not searching around for personal freedom. Then nothing can be an intrusion.’

This has certainly been my experience lately. As I have been exploring the work of Byron Katie to investigate thoughts that cause me pain and suffering and finding the truth underlying them, I have been astonished at the changes in my experience of parenting Jude. It is literally like having a narrow beam of light being expanded into the sun. When I look at him I feel I am seeing him properly sometimes for the first time, without the barriers created by needing to control him so that my own desires can be met, and the separation melts away to make space for a new way of enjoying being with him. Where every moment I can be led into greater joy and playfulness. So, much material for my book, coming from real life experience!

Inspirational input wise, I’m into short fiction at the moment. Maybe it’s the short attention span and reading time afforded by motherhood, but I find it much easier to pick up something I can finish reading in half an hour. I’m currently on ‘Don’t Know a Good Thing‘, a collection of stories by women writers edited by Kate Pullinger which is just mouth- and eye-wateringly good. Not a single story in it so far that doesn’t move me, confront me, or make me want to put pen to paper. Any good novel recommendations welcome though – I need something to grab me from early on!

Jude is starting ‘preparation for school’ mornings at his new school tomorrow morning. It’s hard to take in he is at this stage already. Two more months of nursery and then long summer days! I’m looking forward to our adventures, and in particular circle camping, dancing on the land and celebrating the summer solstice at Midsummer Camp in two weeks time. Bye for now, and enjoy the sunshine :). Thanks for reading!

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As Brighton comes alive with its annual Arts Festival, I feel pleasantly isolated from all the activity up at the top of Muesli Mountain – the affectionate name for Hanover, the hilly area with its many coloured houses where I live. I’m enjoying a hiatus from mothering for 4 days, and though missing my son already it is so delicious to be able to follow my own curves of movement through space and time. To sit typing all day under a duvet, have only three dishes to wash up instead of about twenty, and to go dancing and see friends whenever I like. When I have childfree time my tendency can be to swallow all my creative time in social interaction, to make up for the snatched and interrupted conversations that are a feature of life with a small child. But I have managed this time to carve out some proper writing time, and plan to stick to it!

My ally in this is a simple new lists/time management method I’ve come up with. Nothing revolutionary, but I’ll share it anyway in case it helps. I’ve discovered that I need my goals for the week to be incredibly specific, or only vagueness and procrastination tend to result. For example, I used to have a goal of, say, five hours of writing a week. When regularly nothing more than one or two hours of writing occurred, I tried being more specific: ‘Working on short stories, poems and non fiction project for 5 total hours’. Nah. No difference. So now, I’ve literally broken it down to this degree: 1/2 an hour editing a poem for a booklet competition. 2 hours re-reading my novel with a view to finishing it. 45 minutes on a pitch to a magazine (oops, yet to get to that one!).

And so far, it’s working. I’m doing it for all areas of my life, too. In neat columns on a piece of paper on my wall, where I can cross things off. Instead of ‘clean flat’, it’s the nitty gritty of ‘hoover hallways’, etc. What this new list system has illuminated is the sheer amount of life admin and Breastfeeding Counsellor related admin tasks I have to do each week. And how these tasks tend to dominate and take over, leaving little breathing room for my writing. So again, I’m becoming strict about my time by designating particular days to each task – I will not book anything on a Monday unless absolutely unavoidable, as that will be my writing day. I will leave Thursdays mostly free too, with space for an artist’s date (which will be going to the Royal Pavilion Museum & Gallery today). Three weeks of this system and I am feeling pleased with the result. I’ve submitted flash fiction pieces to two websites, come up with a few new freelance article ideas and summaries, written up some interview questions for a non-fiction project, and done a lot of de-cluttering and filing which frees up space in my head and my physical surroundings. I’ve also got a new weekly yoga client starting next week. Most satisfying!

I’m also trying out a variation on a method a friend told me about, to deal with procrastination. I note down every action I take within a block of time that I’ve designated to work of some kind. That way I can see how many times I’ve gone onto Facebook and done other non-work-related tasks, and having to write it down makes me more accountable and more likely to skip it. I also like this quote from The Organic Sister, an inspirational and empowering life coach, as a way of dealing with avoidance tactics: ‘Is this feeding my soul? Feeding my greater vision and purpose in this world? Is this feeding the souls of others?’

Last time I told you about applying for a place on the Creative Writing MA at Westdean College. Well, I am pleased to tell you (although if you are one of my loyal readers you probably already know!) that I have been given a place on the course, and am to start, part time, in October. I am so excited about having 17 hours a week to devote to my creative writing. I know that the structure and input from talented writers will do so much for my knowledge about this craft, and I will finally be giving the necessary space for what I believe is one of my main purposes in life. In the meantime, my research for grants to fund my studies continues!

Here is a poem I wrote a while ago, which emerged from a writing exercise with my good friend and writing buddy Lou Ice. We like to meet at Marwood”s in the Laines, a great atmospheric coffee shop with comfy couches and interesting roof views at the top, and write for two hours. Lately I’ve been writing poems on the theme of Brighton, my home for 8 years, and in this one I gave some attention to a species of Brightonian that is often despised but which fascinates me – Seagulls.

Seagulls

above the city,

the steeples pitching light

against the cerulean sky,

the sky that makes me feel

like a balloon ready to burst,

that gathers

our summer memories and

lets them loose,

above the city,

the seagulls preen and call,

their steely eyes

capturing it all as they sit

on the roof of the flats above

Hardy’s Original Sweet Shop

in the Laines –

I see one seagull spread his wings, then

re-settle back on the roof,

thinking better of it.

His mate is nestled nearby,

head tucked under a wing,

possibly asleep.

Their secret life is conducted above us all.

The sky is their habitat,

while ours is the grey street,

looking down at our feet.

They see the piping

reaching from top to bottom of the

building with its curlicue brickwork

like the gingerbread house

in Hansel and Gretel,

the makeshift curtain

only half covering the window.

The gull’s mate

is asleep now,

the other still turns his head

like a weather vane,

perhaps observing the mildewed wall face

and the un-used red chimney tops,

the shops that used to be fishermen’s cottages,

and they don’t mind the grey,

because they have the blue,

the white passing clouds

and the sun so close they could dare it.