Head space at dawn

Last night the baby woke again.  His Dad, who deserves a shelf of parenting accolades, got up yet again.  But if I don’t keep my eyes absolutely shut and resist the urge to turn over I start to wake up and if its almost midsummer and the bloody birds, bless them, think that the faint light of three forty five means its morning and they are going to sing their hearts out telling me that, then the wires connect and there you go, the brain’s awake and spinning. 

Hubby comes back to bed and to the sound of his gentle snoring, I think of a fabulous (ideas are either horrifying or fabulous at that time of the morning) idea for a new website for creative parents. I think of several new ideas for blogging and find two lines of a short story I am writing sitting on the kitchen table of my mind with a mug of coffee beside them.  I compose a e-letter to a friend and work out the logistics of pick ups and drop offs and the events of the forthcoming day.

How productive am I. It is 4am on a Monday morning of a very busy week.  The kids are all asleep, I am alone in my head for once and so I find there is plenty of space there after all.

Creative Writing Exercise

You arrive at the supermarket and bump into an old friend. What does she look like now? What was your relationship with her? How do you feel when you see her? How do you want to present yourself to her. Is there something in particular you really don’t want her to know?

She invites you and your husband to dinner. Do you go? If so, what happens. What happens if your secret slips out in conversation, are there consequences? Write up to 500 words just to see where it takes you.


Glug, glug, glug.  Have gone under for a while, under housework, mainly 3 feet of ironing, under homework, teething, the whirlpool chaos that is a very mobile eighteen month old. I have managed to revise and tweek some entries for the Bridport Prize 2009 a very presitigious prize that is several steps up the ladder of my ambition but its good to aim high, even if you have to scrabble round in the dirt picking up the arrows afterwards. It is being judged by Ali Smith, one of my absolute favourite writers.  Please read Hotel World and The Accidental. Wacky but wonderful.

(I am working on another story ‘Angels’ that seems to be writing itself (inspiration from on high ha ha!)  but writing at this stage of family life is excruciatingly slow.  But there are plenty of mother’s out there who are freelancing, creative writing, building their careers. To see how it can be done check out and sign up for Christine Katz’s Writer’s Mama e-zine. She gives you insight into all the tricks and tips you can use for developing a writing career, marketing yourself, getting known etc etc. For now I will tag onto her energy.

While I’m underwater I’d like to also recommend a wonderful collection of short stories ‘How to Breathe Underwater’ by Julie Orringer. There are some beautiful and memorable stories in the collection.

And finally some tips for creativity.

1: Have a notebook beside your bed for the odd times when you are not jerked rudely awake by a crying child or even if you are woken at night and can’t get straight back to sleep (?!). Your consciousness as you wake from dreams is swimming with unusual associations, threads of stories and ideas, it could result in a unique idea for a story or other creative project.

2: Write anything. Describe the (very slow) walk with your child to playschool or the sounds and sights as you stand hanging the washing. The other morning I heard pigeons cooing and by the time I went back in I had composed half a poem resulting from a memory they evoked! Write something and edit it later.

More of that next time.