Pick up the baby: dealing with writers block when looking after a small person


Regular readers of this blog will know that I have set myself the inadvisable task of trying to finish (and publish, or find a publisher for!) my novel this year while I am on maternity leave and also looking after a tiny person.

So far things have actually gone quite well, in that I’ve managed to finish a first draft of my novel. However it has been completed while I am in a sleep deprived daze, and so I am sure that there is lots of work to do now to make it readable.

One of the things I found early on was that when I did have those moments to myself in which I could write, I found it very difficult to get words down. I have previously blogged about some of the strategies I was trying out here, which included writing everyday, and having a (sort of) plan of what I would write. As I now have a finished first draft, I can say that they have worked ok.

The thing I didn’t write about in that post is what helps when those things fail. There have definitely been moments where I had a bit of time, and I knew what content I needed, but somehow the words wouldn’t come. In this situation I found that the best thing to do was actually to walk away, and pick up the baby. Or do the washing up. Or fold his cloth nappies. Something like that.

I think for me, just doing something different and physical like playing with the baby, paying attention to all the new little things he was doing instead of working on a sentence was actually a great way of giving my conscious brain a break. Often after a little bit of time I would find that my subconscious mind had worked through what ever sentence I was having trouble with, and something good enough for a first draft would pop into my mind.

Sometimes the only way to moving forwards with an idea is to step away from it.

I also make art. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

4 thoughts on “Pick up the baby: dealing with writers block when looking after a small person

  1. I actually know a mother of two who wrote an award-winning novel (Hanna Alkaf), and her trick was to outline before writing. That way, when she manages to scrounge those precious minutes for writing, she already knows where to head. It may or may not be the thing for you, but hope it helps!

    Liked by 1 person

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