My world changed when I found out I was pregnant back in August. But it hasn't stopped me from tackling my dreams. Though it definitely has changed my writing process. This month I decided to tackle NaNoWriMo, I felt driven and optimistic to write a book during the month of November. But let me tell you something... my present word count is 7,153 words and there's only 5 days left. But honestly, that's okay! The drive is still there to write, even if I find myself falling asleep at 7:30 each night. It may be a snails pace, but the end goal is the same!
Here are some tips for writing when you are pregnant.
- Come up with an outline:
First, figure out an outline. I'm usually a plotter and I have found that lists are so helpful while pregnant. I bet making an outline would probably be extremely helpful But since being pregnant, I've kind of turned into a pantser. I may want to take my own advice and write out an outline. :)
- Too exhausted to write? Try listening to music:
If you find yourself too exhausted to sit down and write anything or need some help with that outline, throw on some music and think about your story. Planning your story is just as important as sitting down and writing. Not to mention that knowing ahead of time of where your story is going will be so helpful for those moments when you feel energized to sit down and write. This has been my go to lately. I find myself listening to music at every chance I get so I can think and plot my story (all of which are in my head, I really should outline...) I was once told that thinking about your story still means you're working on it and writing it, you just haven't put it to paper yet.
- Figure out WHEN to write:
I have found that writing in the morning is best since I've been pregnant. Which is challenging because of work, so weekends is when I get the most writing done. I know every pregnancy is different, so find that time throughout the day where you feel most awake and most alert, it could be after your daily nap, or after you get home from work. Whenever it is take advantage of that time of day and sit down and write something. It could be a sentence, it could be an entire chapter. Just write something down!
- Find WHERE to write:
You need to find a place that is comfortable with that pregnant belly. I hate to say it but sitting for long hours at a table in Starbucks or Barnes and Noble just isn't going to give you effective writing. It's uncomfortable leaning forward for hours on the pregnant belly. Either keep it about an hour of writing and give yourself a break to get up and move around, or find a place where you can literally prop your feet up and lean back. Lately my go to place to write is either in my reading chair or sprawled out on the couch. Sitting at a table for too long is not comfortable and in my opinion you will write better if you are comfortable. Which brings me to my next tip...
- Wear comfortable clothes:
This should be a go to anyway while pregnant. But make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes while writing. It's not fun to have that waist band digging in to your pregnant belly while you are attempting to write. My favorite pants lately at almost 4 months pregnant is leggings. They have super comfortable ones from Walmart for $6. I also get them a size bigger and just roll the band under my waist which allows me to breath easily with no tightness and gives me room to grow so I can continue wearing these pants for awhile. Just make sure you are comfortable!
- Have plenty of snacks and water:
If you are planning to venture out to a coffee shop to tackle some writing, or the library, or the bookstore, BRING SNACKS and plenty of water. Feeling nauseous while trying to write is the absolute worst! But if you pack your bag full of snacks and have plenty of water you will be good. I always like to bring freeze dried fruit. It's absolutely delicious and I don't feel bad snacking on it all the time :)
- Take a nap:
No really, you are pregnant, take a nap. Remember, it's okay to be tired, it's okay to need some extra rest. If you are wanting to try and write and just can't because you are exhausted, then take care of you and get some rest. There is always tomorrow or the day after that. It's perfectly okay to miss a few days of writing. You have a writers heart, I promise you will return to your project in time.
- Don't stress about writers block:
If you get to a point in your story and you just don't know what to write because of pregnancy brain, it's definitely okay. Take a few days to just listen to music and think about your story, or to even take a break from your project to rest your mind. This has happened to me frequently since being pregnant where I get to a point and it's perfect and I'm not entirely sure which scene to write next... rest your brain and remember you're doing good!
- Treat yourself when you do write:
Have a little piece of chocolate, or get yourself a tall Starbucks Coffee. Reward yourself for writing!
- Remind yourself you're doing good:
It took me awhile at this one. I felt guilty for not writing every day. I would rather fall asleep on the couch or watch tv after work because I was so exhausted. I went from writing easily 1,000 words every day or every other day to writing mostly on the weekends. I felt bad because here was something I just loved and enjoyed so much and I had all these projects and goals with a time frame in mind and it was hard to acknowledge for myself that it was okay to not know suddenly when something was going to get finished. It took a few friends on twitter to remind me that any progress is good progress! So you feel like you are in a writing slump? Don't! You are doing an amazing job! Just do what you can and take care of you!