Nikki Dudley on how to become the writer you want to be as a mum
Nikki Dudley, author, poet and founder of MumWrite, tells us about an exciting new course that aims to help you achieve your goals as a confident published writer.
2022 is a new year and you may well have ambitions for your writing in the year ahead. During all these lockdowns we’ve had (and should it happen again), I feel safer now though, because I’ve managed to create and be a part of an amazing community of mums who write.
Finding the headspace to write, as well as releasing ourselves from the guilt we feel for pursuing our writing are two additional barriers we face as mums who write (especially if we are the primary carer, which is often the case). I actually spend a lot of my time telling mums that they deserve time to be creative, to write, to strive to have something for themselves!
All I know is that I needed something different and I couldn’t find it, so I created a programme just for mums - MumWrite! With courses that I looked up, they were often at times that didn’t work for me (especially when my little one was at home with me), I sometimes felt like the other writers wouldn’t understand my situation or the potential for interruptions, and some of them were far too expensive for me to even think about spending money on. However, that last one has been a breakthrough moment for me over the last few years because I’ve realised I can, and most definitely should, spend money on myself. There’s another mum anchor of guilt attached to spending money on yourself and this has been something I’ve had to personally overcome.
Since starting MumWrite in the first lockdown in 2020, I’ve made big progress with my own writing too. Having a community of mums around me, even as a facilitator, has been hugely inspiring! In late 2019, I had completed a novel and entered it into the Aurora Metro prize, which unexpectedly won, and was scheduled to be published in 2021! So one of my jobs during the lockdowns was to spend time editing my novel, Volta, after I received feedback from the publishers. It wasn’t easy – I had to schedule in time, I had to take time that I felt like I shouldn’t – but in the end, my partner was a huge support and the mums around me were a great source of cheerleading when times were tough.
In 2020, I also wrote about my nan and experiences of her dementia for the first time. It took me 6 years to put pen to paper (so to speak), and it came out as a mixture of fiction and poetry. I hadn’t written short fiction for a while, let along Creative Non-Fiction, and I really think the workshops for MumWrite were just as inspiring for me as they were for the mums on it. Lots of the attendees tried writing in new ways and it gave me the confidence to do so too. I also had more confidence to send my work out again and after a rejection from one small press, I went over my pamphlet and changed some things, which I’m really pleased about as I was much happier with it. After that, I sent it to another publisher and they loved it! I’d Better Let You Go, was published in August 2021 and I’m so happy I can honour the memory of my amazing nan and process the feelings my family went through as we lost her.
Surprisingly, I also had another publication in 2021. Over 2019 and 2020, I wrote a whole collection on the relationship between John Keats and Fanny Brawne from a modern day perspective. It was such fun to write and I tried out a lot of different techniques in this one. I tried to capture the tenderness of their relationship but also examined Keat’s jealousy and how it may have played out if they had met today. Therefore, it’s also full of humour. I loved writing it and again, being involved in running workshops reminded me of techniques I had forgotten about and really inspired my output. My collection, Fanny B. Mine, was published in October 2021 with Beir Bua Press.
Since MumWrite began, I’ve had countless mums from the programme say it’s given them the push to write more and do more with their writing. For instance, one mum, Michele Beck, even set up her own writing programme, Writing for Wellness, which is a fantastic initiative you should check out! Others have begun sending their work out and have been published widely. Some have sent out pamphlets or collections to presses and competitions. It’s been a great programme to show that mums are achieving lots with their writing and with the right guidance, they are pushing themselves further and further, developing a writing track record and career in the process!
We have an exciting new course beginning on January 24th. It’s called Be a Confident Published Writer, which takes place over 12 weeks. It’s all about making yourself the writer you want to be and saying yes to more with your writing and skills. There are 6 online workshops every other week, which will all be recorded. The idea is that you can catch up or rewatch the workshops whenever you can. This gives mums the flexibility to learn and grow when it fits into their timetable. There is also a closed Facebook group just for MumWrite mums, which includes accountability posts, submission calls, writing opportunities, support posts, and bi-weekly live prompts you can watch anytime. There’s also some special guests – Anna Caig, an author marketing guru, who is also a mum! Plus, a literary agent for a special Q&A session. You also receive feedback from me on some of your work, as well as joining a small email feedback group with your peers. Not only all of this, there are monthly Q&As one evening per month with me, where you can ask any questions you like. You also get amazing resources, including a goal setting guide and resilience tasks.
With MumWrite workshops, 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.
MumWrite is open for sign ups for the January programme, which you can read about on the site, as well as great testimonials! The programme is £375 for the whole 12 weeks, which is an amazing deal for all of the expert guidance and resources you receive!
SPECIAL DEAL – THE FIRST 3 MUMS TO SIGN UP TO OUR COURSE CAN ENJOY £25 OFF THE PRICE! Just quote ‘Mum poem press’ in your email.
MumWrite also runs one-off workshops and offers feedback/mentoring services.
Visit the website or email to find out more.