From prolific writer to blank pages

I had my first baby in February 2021. She came a bit earlier than expected, so the first few people I called from the hospital bed were my editors. I asked to take off for a month or two and luckily all my editors were very considerate. In hindsight, I was naive to think that in two months I’d snap back to being the prolific freelancer that I was, who got bylines by the dozen and could churn out thousands of words every week! It has been two years and I am still finding myself struggling to write even emails, leave alone articles and essays, or white papers.

As a new mother, I experienced the worst writer’s block I have ever encountered. It became challenging for me to balance taking care of a newborn while trying to write something coherent and meaningful. The sleepless nights and constant demands of a baby did not help.

However, with time and patience, I found ways to overcome my writer’s block and achieve my writing goals.

Here are some helpful tips based on my experiences for anyone struggling to juggle just like me.

Time and patience

When I first started experiencing writer’s block, I felt overwhelmed. I had been writing professionally my entire career, but I never had to do it while caring for a newborn. My daily routine consisted of feeding, changing diapers, and putting my baby to sleep. Whenever I tried to write, my mind would go blank, and I couldn’t put my thoughts into words.

It’s important for new moms struggling with writer’s block to be patient with themselves. It’s easy to feel frustrated and angry when we can’t produce the work we’re used to, but it’s essential to remember that having a baby is a significant life event. We need to give ourselves time to adjust and find new routines that work for us. 

Set realistic goals

I have come to realize that I will never snap back. I am a new person now and I need to respect that. I still write, but I set more realistic expectations and practical timelines.

When having writer’s block, it is easy to feel like you will never write again. But setting achievable goals, such as writing a few hundred words a day, can help us feel more productive and motivated. 

Reach out for support

As new moms, we often feel that we have to do everything ourselves, but it’s essential to remember that we don’t. Reach out to family members, friends, and editors for help and support. Sometimes all you need to do is ask. 

Among my most significant supporters were my editors at India Currents. They gave me reasonable deadlines and understood when I had to reschedule. Having a supportive team of editors who are willing to work with you can make all the difference when dealing with writer’s block. Communicate with your editors and negotiate with them to find the right deadlines that work for both of you. 

My family is also a great support system for me. Having that extra support allows me to relax and focus on my writing. 

Write in short bursts

I wrote when my baby slept. This was challenging at first, but with time, I got used to writing in short bursts. Breaking up my writing into smaller, manageable chunks has worked well for me. I write for 15-20 minutes, take a break to check on the baby, and then come back to my writing.
Another hack that worked for me was to write during my baby’s naptime. This gives me a longer chunk of time to work on my writing without interruption. I make sure to have everything I need before putting the baby down for a nap so that I can focus entirely on my writing.

Cut yourself some slack

I have found that taking breaks when you need them is crucial. Writing can be mentally exhausting, and taking care of yourself is essential. Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed, I take a break, go for a walk, or do something that makes me happy. Taking care of yourself will help you recharge and return to your writing with fresh ideas.

With time, you’ll find a rhythm that works for you, and you will get back on track one byline at a time. 

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of India Currents. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, organization, individual or anyone or anything.

Surabhi, a former Delhi Doordarshan presenter, is a journalist based in Singapore. She is the author of ‘Nascent Wings’ and ‘Saturated Agitation’ and has contributed to over 15 anthologies in English...