‘Being creative is only going to enhance your motherhood skills’ Lynn James, Mrs Mummypenny
Lynn James is a personal finance expert & founder of Mrs Mummypenny. She writes about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices to save time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value. She is mum to Dylan 10, Josh 8 and Jack 5. When she’s not writing she can be found shipping the boys around to their various activities and standing at the edge of football pitches across the country!
1) What is the biggest challenge you face in your writing life since having children? Is this different or the same as the writing challenge(s) you faced pre-motherhood?
My biggest challenge in my writing life was when I had a big crisis of confidence with my website and well, my whole life. I set up my website back in June 2013, and chugged along with content for a year or so. By late 2014 I stopped writing. There is a big 6 month gap in social posts and any content as I just couldn’t do it. A mental block with writing and thinking that people wouldn’t want to read it.
It was more linked to a life crisis, I was having the most awful and unhappy time at work and it made me want to stop everything, including my potential escape from the corporate world. But I found a way out. Spring arrived with hope and a redundancy agreement from my hateful job and the website was back on. My writing inspiration has not stopped since March 2015.
Not one part of this creative block was caused by children, unless you take the boss asking me to choose between my family or my job as a contributing factor! My children provide unlimited inspiration in my writing. From days out and experiences with them to wanting to provide the best financial present life and future for them.
Where do I struggle? Focus! I skip around from one thing to the next making completing anything so difficult. When writing I have to sit there and write it in one go. Switch off all social media and email. Put the phone in another room and shut the door so I can’t hear anything.
A great tip that works is writing a very short to do list of three things only. And to focus on them one by one, and only them. Three things are manageable and I feel like I have done well when they have been ticked off. Don’t give yourself too much to do, as the inevitable happens and plans change, and I never like to feel like I have not achieved what I set out to do.
2) When do you write? Do you have a specific, regular routine?
I have a routine of sorts, which works wonderfully when the three boys are at school and required some extra focus when its holiday time.
I publish five pieces of content per week. This includes a mixture of sponsored and natural posts across my content pillars of healthy wealth, body and mind and lifestyle. Occasionally I will have a guest post, and or maybe a guest debt story.
I normally plan one to two weeks in advance so I know what content will be published over the next two weeks, but pieces can be moved around or new pieces slotted in as and when work requests come in.
In terms of time of day I write best earlier in the morning. When the clocks change in March I will rise early and write for a couple of hours every day.
School holidays are a challenge and I have to bulk things into small chunks of time.
The big summer holiday is a classic example of childcare and work clashing. This year I found I had a hour in the morning to write (6am to 7am) before the children got up, then maybe a couple of hours from 9 to 11ish where they would keep themselves amused.
Having three children and them being older makes this easier. Although not so much when they fight! It was great this summer as they played out in the garden mostly. I ensured all my calls were before 11 am, taken hiding in the boys bedroom where I could watch them in the garden!
3) What is the single most useful or helpful thing you’ve found that has enabled you to write despite the challenges posed? What would be your top tip for mothers who are struggling to maintain their creative life as well as be awesome mums?
My most useful piece of advice would be to put no pressure on yourself. Consistency is important in the world of writing, but that could be one post per week or one piece per day. I would also say go with it and write what you are thinking or feeling, and publish it. Get your content out there, don’t stress to much about if it’s the right thing to be saying.
Being creative is only going to enhance your motherhood skills. I have always seen my writing to be the most incredible form of therapy and my stresses are often poured out into a blog post or an article. And if you are writing about your experience and learnings, well if that helps just one other person going through the same thing then you have done an amazing thing.