November Challenge: Writing Our Way Through Motherhood


I love November. It is a time of fires and pumpkin pies, a time of apple cider and sweaters, scarves and even more snuggling. It is a time of darker days, of coming inward, of bare branches and crisp evening strolls. But out of all of this, I mostly love that it’s National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, a project that encourages anyone and everyone to write. NaNoWriMo is a great way for professionals and aspiring artists alike to write one thousand words a day.

But for mothers, where can we find the time? There are humans out there, I’m assuming without children (or at least grown) that can take on this challenge and conquer it, but I’m not going to subject myself to such failure. Instead, bit-by-bit, one tiny step at a time, we can participate in our own way of writing. I challenge each of us to write for only fifteen minutes a day for the month of November, no matter what the word count.

Have more time? Then use it! Have more words? Then write them! But for those of us that can’t seem to find the time to even go to the bathroom, we’ll just start small with a non-intimidating fifteen minutes. Let’s all write together, prompt-by-prompt, day-by-day, pen-to-pen or key-by-key on our click-clack devices. Write first thing in the morning or as the last thing at night. Write as your little one naps, or, if your child s old enough, write together. Whatever it is, you need to get your words from your head and your heart to paper or screen. We may begin with a word, a sentence, a paragraph, and before we know it, we’ve written a page, two pages and more. We are writing our life experiences, the novel of our hearts.

As Anne Lamott writes in her book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, “Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”

We are unique as mothers because we experience the extraordinary everyday, a rainbow of emotions from bright and cheerful yellows to somber, deep purples, our lives are pulsing with strong and expansive incidents. We laugh and we cry. We question and we scream, we whisper and we share, we go inward and dream. This is what creates good writing – our buoyancy, our sinking of our mother-ships and the everything in between. Our daring to feel, the courage to experience deeply and richly, and then to put it on paper. So open up your journals, piece together bits of paper, open the lid of your laptop, refresh the screen of your smart phone – however you must, find your way to write.

While each of us holds access to hundreds of writing prompts, I’ve listed a few below – thirty to be exact. A topic for each day so that every morning we rise and every nigh we close our weary eyes, we remember we are not alone. As we feed mouths, tickle toes, kiss cheeks and wipe bottoms, we will think of the fellow mothers around the country, even, perhaps around the world, coming together to write. Be a part of this challenge. Write about each topic – if it relates or not, journal, write a fiction story, create a play, a poem, list your opinions – however you want to write, use your creativity. After all, we are the characters to our stories. We are the authors and each day is another scene, another page to our book. Don’t critique. Don’t edit. Just write. And if you face a block, trust that it will budge. Your story is within and it is eager to emerge.

Writing Prompts: A Prompt a Day…

  1. Birth
  2. Baby’s cries
  3. Sex
  4. Lullabies
  5. 1st trimester
  6. Bedtime
  7. Husband
  8. Grandparents
  9. First fall
  10. Smiles
  11. Breastfeeding
  12. 2nd trimester
  13. Sleeping
  14. The park
  15. Date night
  16. Showers
  17. Teething
  18. First word
  19. Television
  20. Bullies
  21. 3rd trimester
  22. School
  23. Unwanted advice
  24. Pets
  25. Grocery shopping
  26. Morning time
  27. Baby sitters
  28. Secret thoughts
  29. Comparing
  30. Confidence

There is a churning inside and it is up to us to allow its release. If not, we may find a dangerous eruption of anger, rage, blaming of unhappiness. All energy needs constant flow. We move our bodies and we must, as mothers, we must move our minds and our emotions. If not, we will freeze or harden, losing a sense of joy and passion to life. So take the time to write. It will change you, it will change your interaction with your child, and it will change your connection to other mothers. It is your soul workout. So stretch those hands, wrists and fingers, and write your unique story – there is a need for you to write it. The world is waiting. Go on. Together let’s feed that hungry soul. Let’s write.

Image credit: matryosha

One thought on “November Challenge: Writing Our Way Through Motherhood”

  1. I love your adaptation of the NanoWrimo Challenge! 15 minutes a day actually seems possible. I’m already doing Art Every Month, and I’m rather late seeing this, but what the heck…I’m in! And, thanks for the prompts to get the wheels rolling!

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