Writing Holiday

While I know I owe an update about my writing month, I am having to take a writing holiday. I have sprained my wrist and my fatigue is in overdrive with the inflammation. I’ll be back as soon as my hand doesn’t look like a balloon.

The Sunday Reset

Transform your week with a reset

I have dreaded Sundays. They were the day I rushed around tidying, did the food shop and panicked about all the things in the week ahead. But having a fatigue condition has changed my attitude. I cannot do all-the-things and I am better for it. Having a Sunday reset routine helps prepare me for the week without rushing around. And I think it can help everyone to pace their life, work, maybe even increase productivity. Here’s how I try to reset:

Sunday Morning

Start as you mean to go on. If there is ever a time to envoke your morning routine, I think Sunday is the day you have a chance of getting it right. Now I always have a vision of my perfect morning : mediation, morning pages, self-care. This is the point to remind you you can do things but do them imperfectly. So as soon as I can, I do a meditation. Often I use short guided meditations like Mindful in Minutes podcast. And I have a few options to help if you are a fidgety meditator like me!

After meditating I use my journalling practice. Often during the week my Morning Pages happen at another time of day or with distractions as my guide explains. Julia Cameron suggests in The Artist’s Way that you write it all out in three pages each morning to help your inner artist. Sunday is a great time to reset the habit. So each Sunday I try and do my pages as it is intended as there is a chance for me to leave my son to tv without the usual challenges of getting him ready for school.

Skincare Sunday

Then is time for self-care. Although it may be too tiring to always shower I can take my time over skincare actually doing all the steps: cleanse, polish, cleanse, serum, serum, face roll, wait, moisturise. I love my jade roller and I have been influenced into a number of wellness products which may or may not work! But Sunday is a great time to use all these products taking time over the whole routine. I still don’t understand how people make it to twelve steps but there is something that feels extra indulgent doing my seven step routine.

Tidy up

To help with fatigue, I now divide all my cleaning tasks on to different days of the week and frankly at times only do the bare minimum. One task that has become an essential on a Sunday is tidying up the table. In our house this means a place to eat a family meal and play games together after dinner. It is also a place to work. I wrote recently about setting myself up to succeed by making space to write. Whether it is working on my novel or on my volunteer role, having a space that I tuck myself into to get on with work is motivating. Not only that, clearing you work area is a quick reminder to yourself what you wish to achieve in the week ahead.

Check the Calendar

We often try and coordinate diaries for the week ahead and this can help with being more productive, planning meals ahead for example. But it is also an opportunity for me to work out what I can and cannot do on my work-in-progress. So this week just gone was Easter holidays with my son. We even managed a few outings which is no mean feat with my current energy levels. So realistically I did not plan to read or write. That is a bit sad for me because these are my two favourite things. However, by planning ahead my pacing, I can feel proud of what I have achieved.

Next week we are away and with family so again I will be busier. I have got the benefit though of fewer jobs to do at home and childcare so my trusty notebook will travel with us. Often a new place can provide inspiration and I hope if nothing else I can note snippets of stories whilst we are out and about.

Do you find a routine helps you be more creative? In some ways it feels counterintuitive not to be spontaneous and free in making art but, at least for now, I need these regular resets.

Make Progress, not Perfection

As I round up the month, I consider the need to keep moving forward

There is a special sort of acceptance that comes with being a slow writer. Whilst productivity hackers will tell me I do have time to write, I will always say do just a little. But as I round up this month’s work, I have to contend with the reality of feelings of failure that I haven’t got that far. As I wrote this time last month I am developing an idea around how the antagonist meets and becomes closer to my protagonist. I have written a further scene with this in mind. But mainly I took myself to a cafe to do some thinking (drank coffee.)

I don’t think anyone noticed I was trying to take a selfie of my thinking!

I do think there is a place for driving your ambition, so it is hard not to beat myself up when I have wasted that quiet time I had drinking coffee and not writing. But I also need lots of quiet time and breaks to manage my life with chronic illness and as a SEND parent. But then again I shouldn’t even provide these excuses. Brene Brown explains that our perfectionism is a way of avoiding judgement and shame. So when I feel this sense of shame for not working harder, I have to remind my inner perfectionist I am making progress.

So with that confession out the way, I will go forward with a better mindset that says make progress, not perfection. Some things I did achieve: I started to share my writing prompts on the MumWriteNow instagram and managed a thirty-minute sprint. The hashtag is writerightnow if you want to join this Saturday. I also started publishing a fortnightly newsletter for the charity I volunteer for. So this month has included some writing even if it is not the perfect progress I would have liked.

And I do believe that without realising perfectionism was holding me back, this, I would have never put pen to paper. Perfectionism tells you: you left it too late, you can’t write that, you’re not unique, no-one wants to read this. I have always felt inadequate in my writing skills but secretly I wanted to write. Over the last ten years I have worked on ideas and progressed to the point where I do not feel worried or ashamed to saying I am working on a work-in-progress. Including myself

Writing Prompts for New Ideas

Do you use Youtube to help you generate new ideas: here’s an example of what you can do…

I recently watched this brilliant youtuber Abbie Emmons, she has loads of advice for writers and I tried her video working through a writing exercise to
generate ideas. I had a go at developing some new ideas this way and I wanted to provide a step-by-step that helped me develop this idea into a new short story.


The advice in the video asks you to write down your favourite book, the genre, themes and take the plot of a key scene that you love. You do this with a few of your favourites and end up with a load of things you can mix and match. I choose Pride and Prejudice but set it in a modern-day knowing fiction, where
we would laugh at Darcy’s snobbery even more.


To create my new character, she needs Elizabeth Bennet’s sassiness but the rudeness of a blunt modern-day heroine; I picked Eleanor Shellstrop from the amazing The Good Place, a show in which her unpleasantness is central to the character being placed in The Good Place by mistake. In Pride and Prejudice we hear mainly from the indefatigable narrator; Jane Austen’s voice is afterall the powerhouse of her fiction. But this is the twenty-first century so Liza, my new hero, speaks in first person and gets to react and describe her Darcy from her perspective.


I found this mixing of characters a fun way of forming an idea in my head, but I also needed a setting in which they would meet. I had been reading about village life, so they were suddenly at a cricket club. I
liked the fact that this idea sparked. I would not recommend forcing yourself to stick to something to make it a perfect mix and match between two books. It is less derivative for a start to let the ideas form,
but also I don’t think the idea is to create a new Romeo and Juliet but rather that the only thing new in the world is your voice: every story has been told already, but not by you.

the only thing new in the world is your voice: every story has been told already, but not by you.


Finally, to spark off the story, I thought about how the antagonist would get her alone to confess his love. This time we would not expect a proposal but he would be critical and rude of her manners and
how much she drinks, how much she, like Eleanor Shellstrop, loves to party. Unlike in Pride and Prejudice where she has been isolated by her circumstances of being trapped at the Collins’s house. Her
friend Charlotte would not be preoccupied with paying lip service to a formidable aristocrat, instead she would be there speaking up for her friend and in my story she comes to interrupt the fractious exchange.


By the time I had worked through the dynamics of the three people and their motivations in the scene, I felt like I had heightened the tension. Darcy may flinch at being called ungentlemanly, but this character would go away cowering under the wrath of the women he had crossed.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not think this exercise produced something better than Pride and Prejudice or The Good Place. I am not sure if the piece I wrote will even go anywhere, but it was a interesting way to find a new way in to writing. If you are feeling a bit stuck this would be a great way to get started again.

Let me know any channels you follow, here is the amazing Youtuber I enjoyed.

Are you part of an internet generation?

As an early adopter, how seriously do I need take my role as an elder millennial?

Somehow generations on the internet have developed into these social memes of groups that we are all supposed to fit into. I am not a sociologist, so I don’t claim to be able to go deep into what this says about internet culture, but these factions do interest me. For me, I like the fact that I grew up in the pre-internet era and was an early adopter of social media. That, and my age of course, means that I am the classical elder millennial (I believe defined as post 1980 to 1985 birthday ). Mainly on Instagram, I have seen these arguments brewing. Nearly 40-year-olds, do you remember when everyone turned on us for wearing skinny jeans and side partings?

These simplistic definitions of generations fascinate me. I mean no-one is going to stop me wearing my hair how I like: you’ve guessed it, it’s in a mum-bun. But also, because it speaks to a wider sense of wanting to be defined as something. This can lead to very dismissive (and often quite funny) complaints about former generations. I remember being amused when I first came across the “ok, Boomer” memes online, particularly if we are being told to give up avocado toast so we can buy property in London. The criticism of a certain type of journalism that has frequently dismissed the cost-of-living crisis is very valid. I don’t think I need to demonstrate why someone could afford a house in 1970 that I would never be able to buy now.

Memes to make you giggle are here




But knowing as I do that the attitude of being dismissive and critical of younger generations work ethic, financial planning and fashion choices does not in the most part represent the opinion of Boomers I know, I have to question the value of grouping people in this way. Not least because some of these same Boomers we are criticising, are also the first and second wave feminists that I have admired so much. Feminism as a word goes in and out of fashion although I strongly believe getting to choose to be a feminist is a privilege that most, including these women, could not afford.

To reject the roles of your forebears, through this lens, is to ignore a series of important histories that have led us to these freedoms. If you annoyed at how your manager treats you do you remember she would have been rejected for management before the 1970s because of her gender? It is very possible someone sent her a letter to refuse her application as they don’t accept female candidates for management (I mention this example because I know L’Oreal did this to my Mum). Again, by all means have a joke at the expense at your manager who doesn’t know how to use excel, but don’t assume a general incompetence. Just as I find some mum jokes lazy, I am more interested in why we make these generalisations.

By all means, reject the fashions of the past, if it embarasses you. I mean, who hasn’t seen a photo of themselves and wondered what they were thinking. Fortunately for me, being an early millennial means my fashion mistakes are mostly not online. But I do wonder when we divide into these groups with these broad brushstrokes, if we lose out on the past and out rich and varied histories. A meme is a social joke, a collective understanding which can feel fun when your part of it – which is why I find jokes about Boomers funnier than the ones about my own generation- but it is also pretty dismissive.

I have been writing about a multi-generational family of strong women and, in a sense, they represent different types of womanhood. I suppose my research into the younger generation as I write about it has led me down the path to examine differences between us. But there are no quick, easy explanations of how you are formed into who you are, often it is through a series of circumstances, possibly privileges and through the art and media you consume. What then of these simplistic explanations of a whole generation? Well as an “elder,” wisdom tells me that it’s just another bad meme. Laugh at it sure, but please don’t think we are all the same.