Justifying Pleasure and Non-Tangible Work: Not Everything is About Productivity

So much of being a writer is about gathering ideas and letting them percolate…something we can’t do if we are constantly busy. This post resonated with me strongly at the moment, perhaps because I am reading a lot more novels and making space for being rather than doing – but still battling the internal dialogue that finds this ‘unproductive’. Then, I realise my life is for enjoying as well as producing.



Others are quick to let you know what they find acceptable when it comes to how you  spend your day.

You earned money doing it?Perfectly valid use of time.

You made something useful?That will work.

You did physical labor?Ok, we can accept that.

You were helping others?Ding,you are worthy.

The most important thing is you were productive. Time spent should involve a lot of action and end results. If you spent all day reading, talking with others, listening to music, thinking or just living idly, then you are inefficient, lazy, suspicious and should aim to do better tomorrow.

Reading, writing and connecting with others are activities that are hard to measure and quantify, therefore hard to justify.

A friend of mine has a habit of asking if I was productive on days I spend writing. I kind of despise that question. It makes me feel woman thinking and writingpressured to…

View original post 633 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Showing vs. Telling

Love the quotes in this post…and showing not telling is something I’ve had to grapple with, as one (ouch) poetry rejection letter made clear.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wild Motherhood, Self Publishing, and Other Questions

Inspiration & Support for Creative & Soulful Mothers

Hello again, and happy (belated) new year. The past six weeks have been a productive and exciting time for me. I had a refreshing break over Christmas and New Year, with a lot of singing, 5 Rhythms dancing and relaxing with friends. This fuelled me to go over the finish line with my ‘Wild Motherhood’ book, which I’ve been working on since 2012, and to complete my Wild Motherhood website set up – which launched in early January. It’s full of insights, tips and resources for creative- and spiritually-minded mothers – check it out here. Recent blog topics have included being an introverted mother, creative tips for busy mothers (and busy people in general!), and sources of support for mothers. I’ve also been facilitating a Wild Motherhood Facebook group since early January, which has some exciting interaction and bouncing of ideas.  On the copywriting front, I recently did some re-writing and collaborative web copy creation with photographer Annabelle Nicoll, which was a rewarding process and inspired me to work with more artists in future.

Now, the next step is the book – and where to take it from here. I’ve tried a small women’s publisher which seemed a good fit – as the director has herself written on the topic of mothers’ creativity – but unfortunately although I got some very good feedback, what she felt to be the ‘academic’ tone of my writing wasn’t a good fit for them. I had considered whether to re-work the tone as I was coming to the end of the book, but it seemed like an enormous undertaking and a bit unrealistic. This leads me to some big questions about who my audience is, and where my book fits into the publishing market. In the meantime, there is of course the self-publishing option, which is so much easier these days. I’m researching the Createspace and Lulu.com options at the moment, and also mulling over whether to re-work my book so that it fits more squarely into a ‘self help for mothers’ framework rather than a blend of memoir/qualitative research/tips as it currently stands.

Sometimes it feels as if I spend a lot of time supporting other people’s creative processes and encouraging them to give themselves permission to play with their writing – only to find I leave that out of my own world. Lately it feels like it’s time to take my own medicine! Having completed a non-fiction piece of work (although the ‘completeness’ is now in question!), I have felt the space opening up to my creative writing again. A couple of weeks ago I attended a monthly creative writing group at the Brighton Buddhist Centre with Danielle Kerris, and it felt great to give my writing that space. We explored the theme of ‘castaway’, and a writing exercise on ‘Desert Island Discs’ had me re-connecting with some vivid times and places. I am also doing more ‘free writing’ exercises and linking with the poetry world again. A new poem, ‘Through a Glass Darkly’, was shortlisted in a competition and will appear in an anthology called ‘Home is Where the Heart is’ in May.

I have a few writing workshops and groups  coming up in the next few months, specifically for mothers, and am looking forward to venturing out from behind my computer and interacting with people in exciting ways about the power of the written word. I am currently working on a free E-book of creative tips for mothers, loosely adapted from my Wild Motherhood book, for subscribers to my Wild Motherhood site. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the role of the internet in my work, specifically social media, and the pro’s and cons of that. It sometimes seems as if I spend a lot more time on social media than actually writing. One solution seems to be to go somewhere ‘offline’, like the library, and work solidly on a project, which I’ve been doing today – and made a lot of progress. Any other tips welcome 🙂

Posted in Brighton writing workshops, copywriting, creative writing, creativity and motherhood, motherhood writing, poetry, writing workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Privacy vs. Internet Communication

I think about these issues a lot. The online age presents so many amazing opportunities – to connect, to reflect deeply, to share ideas – but it also ushers in a lot of dilemmas about privacy and how much to share of who you are (and where).

Sidewalk Face

I am enmeshed in an ongoing mental dilemma regarding communication on the Internet.  Is it okay for me to write a blog, post stuff on Facebook, comment on stuff on Facebook, share photos of my kid, let people see my art, etc. or should I maintain my privacy and by extension maintain control over unintended consequences?

Obviously, as you are reading this, I’ve made a decision to write, however, I still hotly contest that decision in my head everyday and with every post.


When I wrote anything in the past, it was almost only for an audience of one.  I would write a letter or an email to “X”.  I didn’t have to analyze very hard what was appropriate and inappropriate for “X” to know.  I could filter almost unconsciously.  Facebook has been a real conundrum in that when I go there to write, I am potentially addressing 100s of people.  I…

View original post 926 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Social Media is a Waste of Time for Writers—Hmmm, Think Again

I find social media exciting as a writer – to instantly be able to connect with a whole community of other writers and readers in such an instant is very rewarding for me. Although it can take up a bit too much time – especially when I’m at the final edit stage of a book and not in the creative throes of it. I know it’s not every writer’s cup of tea though – which this blog addresses very well.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 10.59.37 AM

We’ve been talking a lot about social media lately and I am always grateful for your comments and thoughts. This kind of feedback not only helps me improve my blog, but my also books, because I get a glimpse of your worries, weaknesses, fears, loves, and strengths.

As a teacher/mentor/expert, it’s my job to address those fears and put you at ease or reinforce when you’re headed the right direction and give you tools and tips to take what you’re doing to another level.

There’ve been some comments that have piqued my attention lately. Namely this notion to give up on social media completely to write more books (out of vexation for the medium and the task).


Social Media is a TOTAL Waste of Time

Write more books instead of tweeting or blogging. Social media is a giant time-suck better spent writing great books.

I don’t know how to…

View original post 2,020 more words

Posted in creative writing, freelance writing, networking, writing tips | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Winter Re-Fueling: Projects Old & New

red tent

For me, winter has often been an extremely creative time, as outward activities slow down and there is more time spent indoors. I have ideas coming thick and fast. This year, as the beautiful Indian summer we were gifted with dropped down into winter proper, and festivals and camps – of which there was a gorgeous abundance this year – wound down back into ‘normal life’, I found myself at the cusp of a new phase in my long-term Wild Motherhood project. I’d just completed a copywriting assignment for Ripe and Ready, writing 40 articles on a variety of mind-body topics from cacao ceremonies to qi gong to floatation tanks. I loved this project and it was so rewarding to be working with others (even if only virtually!) and writing about things that interest me (as opposed to, say, epilators or engagement rings which have been previous web copy assignments!) – but it did keep me from doing much work on my own book and website, though I kept plugging away gradually in the background.

The Wild Motherhood website is nearly good to go now, so will be launching it in the new year and it will have its own blog for which I’ve got over 20 topics already, from Introversion and the Wild Mother, to Cycles of Creativity, to How to Deal with your Body not Keeping up with your Mind. With the help of some wonderful feedback – if a little brutal at times and hard-to-hear, but hey, that’s what’s needed – from another writer mother, I worked through the third draft of my Wild Motherhood book. It’s gone through some fundamental changes and I’ve become clearer on what it’s all about. I now face, of course, the fourth edit, since it’s still not ready and I’m a bit of a perfectionist – but I can live with that and feel this one will go a lot quicker.

I’m still thinking about whether to go through the whole trying-to-get-it-published journey, which can take years – or to put it into the world much much sooner in the form of an independently published E-book. I’m pulled towards the latter – being a bit impatient by nature and also aware that my ‘tribe’ has some way to go to be built to the extent that an agent and publisher would be willing to take me on. I would like to have the book out there and interacting with the world – and to build on that with future books. As a writer it can be a lonely process plugging away at something for years (as I have with this project) and not being able to bounce that creativity off others. I feel ready for that now – and yes, it’s scary. Putting some of my innermost thoughts and some controversial ideas about motherhood out into the wider sphere feels pretty frightening indeed.

But creating a small (hopefully expanding) ‘Wild Motherhood’ group on Facebook where creative and spiritual mothers can come to re-fuel, moan, inspire and support each other has helped me to take a small step to bridge that chasm. I’ve also run a few Mothers Writing and discussion groups for Mothers Uncovered in Brighton, which has been inspiring both in terms of my book and also – by listening to mothers of mostly babies – remembering how limited my creative expression was earlier in my son’s life – and how much more it’s been able to expand now that he’s older. Also on the creative front, I’ve started writing poetry again, thanks to re-connecting with Natalie Goldberg‘s words of wisdom and getting back into a regular free writing practice after a long time doing only ‘productive’ writing like articles. I’m working on a poem about Lewes for a Lewes-themed poetry competition, and have written a couple of other new ones, one of which – being a female-themed poem – I will trial at the Brighton Red Tent community performance fundraising event this weekend. I will also read an old favourite, ‘Meeting at Samhain’, about women at a sweat lodge.

What are your creative rediscoveries or completions this winter so far? What is slowly germinating under the surface of what can appear a cold hard surface? Wishing you happy winter creative expressions, whatever form they take and however subtle and inward they are.

Image: Red Tent art by Valoru – www.themoonandthewomb.wordpress.com.

Posted in creative writing, creativity and motherhood, freelance writing, lewes, motherhood writing, poetry, writing workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Summer-autumn spell


Summer-autumn transitions are always a mix of flavours for me: I enjoy getting back into work routines and feel the return to the more internal writing-generating space…but I also feel the sadness of saying a temporary goodbye to campfires, green earth and sun, and the complete freedom of letting go of structure and embracing travel. Summer for me is always a time of relaxing my productivity and enjoying more ‘being’…somewhat enforced by the round-the-clock childcare aspects of school holidays, which I can surrender into and enjoy.

But being a person who thrives on getting stuff done and being creative, I was starting to chomp at the bit a little after 4 weeks of the holidays. I was being a little hard on myself for not attending to my Wild Motherhood Book for some weeks, having promised I’d get it out for feedback a couple of months ago. What little time I had child-free was spent mostly working on a freelance copywriting project, writing about mind-body practices. But today I have cracked the membrane, as a good friend says, and got my manuscript to a feedback-suitable state, emailing it to a friend who offered to give me feedback; sent off some poetry turned into lyrics, to a musician friend for possible melody matching; and sent my illustrator the suggested revisions for our children’s book collaboration. All stuff I was convinced would take hours and days and for which I felt far too exhausted the last few weeks, but really only required a little space as my son went off to his dad’s for the weekend and I for once had a weekend at home on my hands. Re-connecting with my dreams feels good! 

Posted in creative writing, creativity and motherhood, poetry | 2 Comments

Blog Tour: Writing Process

Louise Halvardsson, a poet and award-winning novelist I admire very much and with whom I used to work and perform in the Writing Sisters Collective, asked me to join a blog tour, answering a few questions about my writing, so here you go!
1) What am I working on?
I’m on the third draft of my book, ‘Wild Motherhood: Keeping the Creative and Spirit Fires Burning’, an exploration of – well, motherhood, creativity and spirituality, and the dilemmas, difficulties and triumphs of combining the three. A ‘back burner’ project is editing a poetry collection to submit to some pamphlet publishers – a combination of old and newer poems. I’m also working with an illustrator to bring my children’s book, ‘The Lonely Oak’, to life as an e-book. And I also have a novel that I occasionally have time to work on, following the lives of four women who meet at a yoga retreat in their early twenties and follow very different paths.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
In terms of my motherhood book, I believe I’m the first to tackle creativity and spirituality in relation to motherhood, in one book, and to weave together personal experience – in the form of diary extracts and memoir-type writing – with qualitative research in the area. It’s a little scary, exposing  but always exciting.

3) Why do I write what I do?
I write non-fiction about motherhood because being a mother is such a huge part of my life and has been for six years. To not write and explore my experience and that of other mothers just wouldn’t make sense. At first I found myself writing a book of short stories about motherhood, but then I realised the real juice for me was in exploring women’s real life stories and in returning a little to my academic roots in research and gender/sociology. The experience of mothers is still neglected as a serious subject of study and I felt a strong desire to validate and honour the struggles of creative and spiritual mothers, who so often are just expected to ‘get on with it’. As for my children’s book, that was birthed years ago when I was at university, and has followed a winding path since then through many drafts – it essentially weaves together two loves of mine: magic and nature. And my poetry – well I write far less of it these days, being immersed more in non-fiction, but when I do it’s because a compelling scene, narrative or feeling pulls me to the page.
4) How does your writing process work?
For novels and poems, I write first in a notebook, then type up as I go along. I love this because I can write anywhere. With my non-fiction, I go straight onto the computer but I am always entering in realisations and ideas when out and about on my smartphone. I brainstorm a lot – on characters, on ideas/themes – and do a lot of background research. I write when I’m inspired and also when I’m not. It takes me ages to finish stuff.
The next writer of the blog tour will hopefully be novelist Victoria Bantock.
Posted in creative writing, creativity and motherhood, motherhood writing, Uncategorized, writing tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Supportive Writing Workshops for Mothers in Need

ImageOver the last few months I’ve continued to run my monthly Mothers’ Writing Workshops, now called ‘Your Story Matters’, in Lewes. I’m very excited to share my latest project, which is aimed at bringing this valuable work to mothers who are dealing with mental health and socio-economic challenges, through charities in Brighton & Hove. These charities are not in a position to fund the project, so I am asking for support from the wider community for the funding. Here’s the direct link to the fund-raising page: http://www.gofundme.com/79av2s. I’d be hugely grateful for any contributions!

These workshops give mothers the opportunity to:
• (re)Discover their creative voices – often lost underneath the demands of day-to-day mothering. We explore different writing techniques and learn how to bring writing alive.
• Reflect on their experiences of being a mother – both positive and negative, including birth stories
• Record their precious memories of motherhood
• Deepen their connection to themselves and to other mothers by sharing their experiences through writing
• Create an essential support network

Most mom and baby/toddler groups are focused on the child, and there is little room given to the needs and feelings of the mother, who has been going through the biggest change of her life and needs listening and holding. With mothers more isolated in today’s society than ever before, and postnatal depression affecting one out of seven mothers, we ignore these issues at the peril of mothers’ mental well-being – and by extension, the well-being of their children. Studies have shown journalling and writing to have a positive effect on people’s ability to cope with challenges, improving self-esteem and access to inner resources. Combined with the peer support of a group of other mothers, writing is very powerful indeed. I believe that every mother’s story matters, and deserves to be heard.
Here’s what past participants have said:

“Inspiring, gentle, thought provoking, moving. I felt interesting and interested” – Gemma.

“It flowed so well – and got me thinking and exploring things that have been nagging at me for months. I even managed to reframe some negative ideas. I thought it was a great workshop and really well put together. It was so uplifting. I’d been finding my relationship with my eldest and the bickering between the kids so grueling. However a few of the writing exercises helped me to really focus on how well I know my kids and allowed me to see the beauty in them and the strength of our bond. Very healing stuff, in a very subtle, gentle way. Go!” – Crimson, Brighton.

“Morgan’s writing workshops are a huge inspiration to me as a mother wanting to find creative ways to capture and remember precious moments of life with my daughter. As well as offering an array of writing techniques to explore, Morgan creates a uniquely warm, wonderful, accepting space for reflecting on and sharing experiences of motherhood that is quite precious in itself.” – Marianne Sawford.

“Morgan created a welcoming and supportive space to reflect on our journey as mothers in a unique way. For me, it was a chance to capture some of those precious moments with my baby on the page and explore some of the more difficult changes taking place.” – Layla

“The mothers’ writing workshop was a friendly and supportive space to explore and reflect on both the joy and difficulties of motherhood.” – L, from Brighton.

At the workshops, I guide participants through simple ‘free writing’ exercises to help them investigate and share what being a mother means to you. Pre-walking babies welcome, tea & biscuits provided, and some creche facilities available. 

Mother of a 6 year old boy, I am a freelance writer and poet currently working on a non-fiction book about topics related to motherhood. Writing has literally been my saving grace during the early years of motherhood, giving me a tool to support myself through the enormous changes and keep my creative spirit alive. I first ran a mothers’ writing workshop when my son was 8 months old, then created a weekly mothers’ writing group. In January 2013 I started a monthly drop-in mothers’ writing workshop in Lewes, East Sussex. I have worked with women, and mothers in particular, over several years in roles including peer supporter and Breastfeeding Counsellor. I have a qualification in Psychology and counselling training and experience.

Posted in creative writing, creativity and motherhood, lewes, motherhood writing, writing workshops | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Small Stones and New Years Resolutions

ImageAs a mindfulness discipline and a way of keeping my fiction and poetry-writing muscles flexed as I work on my non-fiction ‘Wild Motherhood’ book, I am writing ‘small stones’ everyday, ‘Small Stones‘ is an idea developed by author and Buddhist Satya Robyn, formerly Fiona Robyn, whose books I discovered earlier this year. It involves noticing one thing each day, giving your whole awareness to it, and then writing about it. I have joined the January Mindful Writing Challenge as a daily discipline and so am writing and posting ‘small stones’ each day on the ‘Writing our Way Home’ blog and sometimes on my Facebook page. It’s a wonderful way to unite two of my ‘worlds’: meditation and writing.

Here is one of my small stones from yesterday – I have yet to get to today’s challenge, though I’ve stored up a few ideas!

100 Teddy Bears:

She is about 70, nearly bald, with wisps of white hair belied by shoulder-length elaborate black earrings, as if on her way to a cocktail party. She holds up her huge handbag, covered with teddy bears. ‘I have 100 teddy bears,’ she announces proudly to my son on the bus. ‘How many do you have?’ The other passengers look away, wincing into their laps. My son smiles and starts to tell her the plot of the last movie he saw. She’s got more than she bargained for.

To see my more detailed blog about whether to make New Year’s Resolutions happen or let them happen – or indeed whether to bother making resolutions at all – click here.

Posted in creative writing, mindfulness, writing tips | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment