Laura Besley writes short and very short fiction in the precious moments that her children (two boys aged six and three) are asleep. She has been listed by TSS Publishing as one of the top 50 British and Irish Flash Fiction writers with her story ‘On Repeat’ (Reflex Fiction) and her story ‘Silenced’ has been nominated for Best Microfiction by Emerge Literary Journal. Her flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, was published in March 2020 and her collection of micro fiction, 100neHundred, is available to pre-order and will be published in May 2021.
Who and what inspires you?
Inspiration is one of those intangible magical things that I find so hard to define. When writing is going well, inspiration seems to be everywhere, and when it’s not going well, it’s elusive. Like with the theory for children that sleep begets sleep, I try to practise writing begets writing. I find the more I write, the more I want to write and therefore can write.
How do you find time to write as a parent?
The first year of motherhood I didn’t write anything. I was too tired, too overwhelmed, too anxious. Slowly, I started writing again when my son was napping. Then he stopped napping, I was pregnant again, we moved, we moved again, and writing didn’t happen for quite some time.
When my second son was 3 months old, I started writing when he was napping and this became my writing time consistently for about 2 years. I would wheel him to the local supermarket, buy myself a coffee in the café and write. Some days it went well, on other days it didn’t, but I found that this time was precious to me, more than sleep and certainly more than tidying my house!
When he stopped napping, I started getting up at 5am to write. This works for me because I’m a morning person and I can get up and immediately my brain is switched on. It does mean that by the evening, I’m quite tired, but I do ‘easier’ writing tasks then, like editing, or critiquing, or writing book reviews.
Which writing activities kickstart your writing when you're struggling?
I start each writing session by writing my form of morning pages, which basically consists of me writing about anything that comes into my head about my life or my writing. I use this to warm up a little and usually, I can get started with writing fiction straight after that. However, there are days when it doesn’t go well and I can’t think of anything to write, or everything I write seems wrong. Then, I just stop, and do something else writing-related, either editing, critiquing, or reading a few pieces by other writers. I actually do a lot of my thinking-writing while I’m away from the desk, either doing chores around the house (I have notebooks in nearly every room) or out walking, driving or shopping (I have a notebook in my handbag too). I find this helps because then when I sit down to write, I have enough notes to get me started.
Find Laura on Twitter: @laurabesley