EVERYWHERE LIFE TAKES ME – Meet Nat Woods: editor, writer, mother
In this collaboration with Blundstone Australia, we interview three creative mums on their craft, family and advice they would give their 21-year-old-selves. Meet Nat Woods: editor, writer, mother.
Tell us a little bit about who you are?
I’m a mother to two-year-old twin boys. I split my time between them and working as a freelance writer and editor creating storytelling for small businesses and not-for-profits. I also run a coworking space in Byron Bay with my partner, Dan, called The Corner Palm. It’s a sneaky way to surround ourselves with lots of creative and inspiring friends.
We’re very lucky to live on a beautiful piece of land nestled against the rainforests of the Northern Rivers so get to share our days with the birds, goannas, giant swaying gum trees and the occasional koala.
How would you describe your creative self?
In a process of evolution. I didn’t have much time for myself or creativity when the boys were young. Now that they’re older I feel like I’m re-emerging out into the world and rediscovering old creative outlets and finding new ones too.
How would you describe yourself as a creative Mum?
Constantly swimming in the deep end! Having twins definitely threw us into the deep end of parenting. Now that we’re over two years into the journey, the benefits of twins are definitely starting to reveal themselves. I think I would just say that I’m trying my best, just like all parents are. And trying to ride the waves with some semblance of ease or confidence!
Were you creative as a kid?
I think so. I had a big box of craft supplies and remember embarking on different little craft projects, like knitting a scarf or making a pinata. This probably evolved into a love of baking as I got older, and now I’m back in the craft box with my boys.
Does having children influence you creatively?
Definitely. I’ve realised that keeping two busy boys occupied and entertained every day requires lots of creative thinking! I’m not sure that this necessarily feeds back into my writing work, but it makes the day-to-day more fun and enjoyable. I’ve learnt to embrace the messiness of creativity, and surrender to the boys cutting up hundreds of pieces of paper all over the floor, or pulling flowers and leaves apart on the back step. It’s a nice way to stay in the present and just stop and sit on the floor and build a house out of blocks together.
How important do you find having alone time to fuel your creativity?
I find it hard to drop-in and out of a writing project in short bursts of time so I’ve never been able to do much during nap times. For that reason alone time is crucia. Not just for my creativity, but also for my sanity.
We live up a windy dirt road at least 20 minutes from anywhere we usually go. So, I listen to a lot of podcasts and use that quiet time in the car to have a bit of mental breathing space and think about any projects I’m working on.
When did you first realise you could write?
I always enjoyed writing and it always featured heavily in my work across the government, not-for-profit and impact business sectors, but I guess it wasn’t until 2019 that I realised I could just write on its own as a job. Not that the goal of writing is to earn money – in the same way that anyone can draw, or sculpt or dance, anyone can write. It’s just capitalism that makes us (or rather, me) feel that it’s only ‘legitimate’ when you begin earning money from it.
Who in your family or friendship group has influenced you creatively?
Lila Theodoros from Studio Muse Muse and Paradiso Magazine has been a huge influence and support for me since she gave me the opportunity to be the Editor of Paradiso. I’ve learnt a lot from her about storytelling and also the business of creating.
I’ve also recently been diving into knitting and embroidery and have realised how much my grandparents' generation created, probably because they didn’t have the financial means to buy lots of things (and they didn’t have the distraction and time drain of screens).
My maternal grandma made so many clothes, toys and homewares for the family. I think we’ve lost touch a bit with that skill and confidence and commitment to make our own things, rather than quickly buying something online.
Can you describe the challenges in your writing journey to get to where you are today?
The ups and downs of freelance life and cash flow are tricky. Also knowing how much to charge when you’re first starting out – I discovered a fantastic copywriting rate card created by the Australian Writers Centre which is a great guide for determining what to quote. I’m lucky that my partner is an accountant so that makes navigating invoicing and all the business admin easier.
What’s something that’s happened in your life that has surprised you?
Finding out we were pregnant with twins!
What have been the biggest things you have learnt about yourself on this creative journey so far?
Don’t take things too seriously or too personally. What’s one thing you would tell your 21-year-old self? Don’t worry about planning out where life will take you because you could never predict what is around the corner.
And lastly, where will your Blundstones take you today?
Most likely out the back door and down the lawn to lock up the chickens and ducks for the night, then a quick stroll around the garden to pick some greens for dinner, and then back up the driveway (with two toddlers in my arms) to the house.
Nat is wearing Blundstone Originals #510 Chelsea Boots in black.
Read more of our Blundstone interviews with creative mums and meet Jordana Henry.
(Portrait: Holly Graham)