By Nikki Dudley
As a mum, and especially during the lockdowns we’ve had, I was finding it so hard to get the head space and support I needed to write. I kept looking at courses and none of them worked in terms of timing, my exhaustion, my rustiness with writing, and mostly, the chance of being interrupted by my kids. If it happened, it felt so embarrassing, especially if none of the other participants had kids!
I realised I needed to take back control of my creative time and writing. I needed to find a space that worked for me and would give me legitimate time to write. If you actually book in time to write and have space, it’s much harder to get out of, for yourself and your partner/family. It sounds mean but in time, I realised it was just self-care in action.
In the first lockdown, I realised that other mums probably felt exactly like me. I decided to fire off an application to the Arts Council Emergency Covid Fund for a bit of start-up money and shockingly, they gave it to me! That also meant I had to get it started. Though as soon as I began, I realised there was no way I could choose only 10 mums as I’d planned. I ended up with 21! As a result, I raised a bit more money via Ko-fi to help me with the costs of running the programme and the anthology that I wanted to make at the end.
MumWrite offers a range of different options, all with mums in mind. Level 1 is an online community, moderated by myself, offering prompts, inspiration, submission and other opportunities and gives mums a space to share work and chat. On Level 2, there are workshops, assigned writing buddies, resilience activities, feedback and discounts on further workshops/services. Level 3 offers more in-depth feedback, greater discount and personalised guidance to really focus on your craft.
With MumWrite workshops, they are held in the evenings or at weekends, when it is often easier for mums to find childcare. Though it’s fine if the kids want to come and say hello, or even join for the whole workshop. There’s absolutely no judgement and the most important thing about MumWrite is that everyone understands the everyday pressures mums face. While, the other benefits of MumWrite have been amazing. Mums say it has boosted their confidence, their sense of community, their creative output, and given them an excuse to have some time to themselves.
I’m also on hand to offer extra support if any mum is struggling. As a mum, it can feel like you’re always chasing to catch up, which is something that I wanted to help counter with this programme. It’s made by a mum for mums.
Some have described the programme as ‘life-changing’, which is probably the greatest compliment I could ever receive. A lot of the mums are now submitting work, applying for funding and pulling together collections or longer pieces because of their time on MumWrite. I honestly feel so proud seeing how much everyone is achieving!
One of the pilot mums commented, “The programme has been a reminder – a wake-up call even – that I am not only allowed to have a little bit of time for myself, but that I actually need it.” And this is exactly what MumWrite is about and I want more mums to know that creative YOU time is necessary.
MumWrite is open for sign ups for the April 2021 intake. MumWrite also runs one-off workshops and offers feedback/mentoring services.
Visit the website or email to find out more.