There are times when the words won’t come. Even after some 13 years of writing for magazines, newspapers, blogs, and a self-published book.
I stare at the computer. It stares at me.
It’s kind of like motherhood. Even if you have tons of kids and you’ve been doing it for years, you still sometimes don’t know. You stare at a kid. And they stare back at you.
Here’s some hard-earned lessons from overcoming writer’s block that help me figure out motherhood.
1. Start Without Motivation
The first thing I’ve learned about writer’s block, is that I can’t wait around for motivation. I have to do it anyway.
This was never truer than when I freelanced for a local newspaper. I covered county commission meetings that ended at 11am (normally) and my deadline was noon.
I couldn’t wait around for the right words; I had one hour to run from the courthouse to the library and write 500 words. Interesting words. Words that made local politics relevant (hopefully).
As a mom, I draw from that experience.
I don’t feel like taking my kids to the park. EVER.
A lot of evenings, I’m so tired that a bedtime read-aloud chapter feels like a marathon. But I don’t have to wait until I feel like being a fun or intentional mom. I can just get going on it.
Once I start typing any words, the good words will start flowing (usually). Once I’m intentional with my kiddos, the joy and gratitude will start flowing (intentionally).
What have you been wanting to do with your kids, that you just need to start?
2. Take a Rest
One hour of writing is about the limit for how long I can stay focused and push words out. Then it’s time for a break. Especially if I’m stuck and forcing it.
Then it’s time to put on the kettle.
It’s time for a game of hide and seek with my toddler.
It’s time for a 30-minute nap.
After pushing through writer’s block, my next tactic is to rest.
I apply this to motherhood too. We can be all focused and intentional, with reasonable consequences and STEM games, swim lessons and board games.
But after a while, I need to rest from kid stuff.
Hubby and I went on an 11-year-anniversary trip for a few days in Cozumel. It was the first time we’d ever left the kiddos for longer than one night. They had a great time with their wonderful aunt, and we came back so rested, so refreshed.
But rest doesn’t have to be long or expensive. Grab a quick coffee with a friend or go to a Wichita Mom community group meet-up. Read a thoughtful book you before bed. Find a podcast for your ear buds only.
3. Look With Fresh Eyes
In the movie Finding Forrester, a reclusive author writes “constipated thinking” across a page of his young protégé’s work. Hear that in Sean Connery’s voice, and tell me if you don’t get writer’s block!
I’ve set a rule to never immediately send or publish a finished article or post. It needs to sit for a few hours or days, so I can see with fresh eyes if it’s constipated writing.
With a perspective, I’m often surprised by how easily I can find new thoughts, better word choices, or the conclusion that eluded me. And it’s easier to edit “constipated thinking” than it is to start from scratch.
In motherhood, we often need to back up and see things from a new angle. We get caught up in the day-to-day, trying to keep up with laundry and dishes, school and work.
Step back and see the bigger picture. What’s working for you, and where do you need to make adjustments? (And say goodbye to stressful activities, old nap schedules and ambitious meal plans?)
The best thing I’ve learned is that even great writers get blocked.
And even if you’re feeling stuck, you’re a really awesome mom.
Share this with a friend who needs to know that too!