Recently I’ve been reading a wonderful book called Mothers of the Village: Why All Moms Need the Support of a Motherhood Community and How to Find It for Yourself. The author C.J Schneider talks about having post-natal depression after her third baby, and the importance of having a village of other mothers around us who can support each other.
Part of the way she lifted herself out of her depression, was to build a meaningful life for herself, which involved supporting herself and other mothers with childcare swaps, and regular time for her writing.
One of the most interesting chapters of the book was entitled, ‘Develop Your Inner Mystic.’ In it Schneider writes about how mothers after often very conflicted between choosing work or family, or trying to juggle the two. She talks about how Martha Beck, an American sociologist and life coach who describes a different kind of woman – a ‘mystic,’ who, ‘knows her path – they know it from some deep, sacred place inside them, and because their decisions come from this strong place they are able to walk their path with clarity and confidence.’
So much of what it means to be mystic can be applied to writing too.
For example just the other day I was really trying to wrestle with an article I wanted to write about when my grandmother died. Through my parenting work I’d learnt that tears are a healing process for emotional recovery and this helped me so much to recover from the grief. I could dive deep into my emotions, and even in the midst of my sadness, a little part of me knew things would be better after I’d cried.
However the article just wasn’t coming together. I could of dismissed it as writer’s block, as a bad writing day, and just shut my computer and done something else. This might be okay if you are young and carefree with plenty of free time to dedicate to writing. But who really has infinite time??
I’m a busy mum, and I only had those two hours while my daughter was playgroup. I knew that I had to get some writing done there and then. I also believe that writer’s block doesn’t actually exist.
What actually happens I think is that our subconscious has a story to tell, and when we ignore our subconscious voice, and try to consciously choose what to write we get stuck.
As I was struggling with that article, I asked myself what is it I really need to write today>? Now my subconscious wasn’t having a very profound day and it didn’t actually want to reflect on grief and healing. It wanted me to write up these 5 tips for the writing career of your dreams for Britmums The article flowed, once I let go of what ‘I’ wanted to write.
And that’s been the secret of my writing ‘success’ so far. If ‘I’ had any choice I’d be writing novels. But instead, I’m finding my writing is coming from a subconscious urge to help others, and share the important information that has helped me. For now, at least!
A couple weeks later I got an email from the editor of Kindred Spirit Magazine, to tell me they really liked my pitch on an article about the healing power of tears. I had completely forgotten that I had sent in the pitch, and I had said I would write about my grandmother’s death. Now I had a specific magazine in mind, I knew the best thing was to start that article from scratch after reading a few copies of the magazine and getting an idea of their style.So listening to my ‘mystic muse’ was actually the best idea!
What does your mystic muse want to write today? Sometimes spending 10-15 minutes journalling can help us get through our blocks and decide what to write.
What helps you navigate your writing blocks? I’d love to hear from you!