Category Archives: Housework

Creative U-turn or recharging?

I’ve decided to stop pushing myself so hard to get the first draft finished. Although I’m worried that this could be a bit of a creative u-turn.

On one hand, I’ve got a lot going on in my life. I’m a single mother (to an incredibly engergetic and sparky six-year-old boy) and I work full time. I have a house that needs cleaning and decorating along the lines of the Forth Bridge. And then on top of that, I’m writing a novel, trying to keep posting in a blog – not to mention attempting to keep up with my professional development and fit in a little social life.

I’m beginning to think that somewhere along the line, I need to fit in a little bit of relaxing!

So I’ve decided to ease up with the novel and let my batteries re-charge. I’m not going to be giving it up, though – just not punishing myself to get it finished. I don’t think that forcing myself to try to meet deadlines is helping me in my writing. I’m getting bits done, but I’m not enjoying it as much as I should be.

Having said all that, there’s a little voice in the back of my head that’s telling me that I should keep going and not stop. That I’m giving up and I will regret it later.

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Filed under Anxiety, Children, Housework, Motivation, Self sabotage, Time, Writing

For every force, there is an equal and opposing force

Like, I want to finish getting the typing done so that I can start writing the next section. It’s a simple plan; what can possibly go wrong?

Well, for a start I got into an argument with Josh before bed – and it was a late bedtime anyway because I’d let him stay up late to finish watching a film. (Yes, that was entirely my own fault.)

Then I had to call my parents about next week’s holiday.

Then I found out that my brother’s feeling down. He’s in the toxic situation of having just split up with his girlfriend while still living in the same house. And, to top it all, she’s already seeing someone else and flaunting it.

No matter how important getting this typing done is to me, making sure my baby brother’s ok is always going to top it. Not sure I made him feel any better, but I’ve offered him my house for the week I’m on holiday if he wants it.

So now, I’ve typed about 50 words, and my eyes are so tired I can hardly see the screen.

It’s a times like this that I think, ‘why didn’t I do the washing up straight after tea instead of leaving it?!’ That’s something to look forward to…

Right: 15 more minutes typing up, then I’ll tackle the washing up.

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Filed under Children, Housework, Motivation, Time, Writing

Getting nowhere again – is it worth it?

Just as I’d begun to feel more positive about setting myself targets and focusing on writing for two nights a week, suddenly it seems to be breaking down again. Or maybe that’s just the way life works: as soon as you get over one tough patch another appears just to test you.

So last night, instead of making up for lost time on Monday, I find myself only getting in an hour of writing and again feeling too tired to really do it justice. Josh had had an afternoon sleep (which he did need) so he was very alert well into the night. I’d also promised that we’d read to the end of Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire without realising how long those last chapters were! (After reading the four books in a row, it’s a bit of a relief. I was beginning to write in the style of JK Rowling, which is not something I really want to do.)

And despite my promise to myself to focus only on writing on writing nights, there were still jobs that needed doing: washing to put in the machine, washing up, tidying (which I ignored in the end), sandwiches to make for lunch the next day, watering the plants (why won’t it just rain?! This is England!) and getting everything ready for a quick start in the morning.

So it was 9:30 before I started writing, and 10:40 when I realised that I had to stop so that I could at least get a decent-ish amount of sleep before getting up and starting all over again.

And I ask myself: Is it really worth it? My friends get home from work and spend the evening reading books or watching television. I’m tying myself in knots just trying to get a couple of hours here and there to write a book that may not ever get published. Is there a purpose to what I’m doing? If I want to be busy, why don’t I get the ironing done, or see about finishing off my kitchen (six months since I started to get it done)? You know, practical things that have a tangible result.

But a pile of nicely iron clothes isn’t really that much of an achievement. And would I really want to spend my evening deadening my mind with Eastenders or America’s New Top Model? Does the fact that I have no architrave around the doors in my kitchen really matter?

So maybe I’ll just keep on writing – even if it is just to be bloody-minded and not give in.

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Filed under Children, DIY, Harry Potter, Housework, Motivation, Time, Writing

Early bird/ Night owl

But I have a horrible feeling that I’m the worm.

Once again, no writing despite Josh being asleep by nine. My mum rang up instead. (They spend so long together – I wonder if it’s a plot? Like, ‘Nanny, I could do with an early night, you couldn’t give her a call about 9:05, could you? Keep her talking for 45 minutes or so. That should do it…’)

That makes me sound awful. But I am going to be spending all day with her tomorrow, and I’ve seen her every this week too – and I’ve only got evenings to write in!

But that takes me back to my old dilemma: to write very early in the morning (before anybody remotely sane is up) or stick to evenings?

In the mornings all I have to do is write so I get on with it. But Josh seems to be programmed to wake up 15 minutes after I get up, so I rarely get peace and quiet. And he really resents me getting up early to write or study (which he has to get over, but it doesn’t help concentration when your six-year-old son is complaining very loudly about how selfish you are or popping in every five minutes to find out when you’re going to be done. Obviously for him it’s a win-win situation. He either gets away with disturbing me and being obnoxious, or I have to tell him off – and so giving him my undivided attention, which was what he was after in the first place.)

Another down side of getting up early is that I also have to go to bed early, so have even less time to wash up, make sandwiches, deal with phone calls, sort out household accounts. And forget socialising! The last time I tried the whole getting up early routine, everybody (even strangers) kept telling me how tired I looked.

But working in the evening is an uphill struggle because I’m already tired. Quite often my mind is full of all the things I have to do and that makes it hard to concentrate.

On the upside, I finally defrosted the freezerĀ  and liberated all the escaped peas and other assorted items that had been entombed in the iceĀ  like the hapless Runners in Logan’s Run.

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Filed under Children, Housework, Sleep, Time

No time

Today I feel frustrated. The novel is going well now, but moving forward so slowly that it seems almost pointless. I keep getting ideas for new projects and it’s getting me down that I’ll have to wait so long to get on with them.

I feel so tired in the evenings after working, then putting Josh to bed and clearing up. I’m torn between relaxing and just trying to get on with as much writing as I can before I get too tired to see what I’m doing!

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Filed under Children, Housework, Sleep, Time, Writing

No novel, but lots of other writing

Josh is really getting into the warm, bright evenings and just doesn’t want to sleep. I don’t blame him, but all the late nights are making him grumpy. It also means that I get little time to myself – which sounds selfish, but it is nice to have a shower without someone bursting in on you demanding something!

It was after 10:00 when he’d gone to sleep and by the time I’d finished the washing up, I didn’t really feel in the right frame of mind for writing anything. I spent about half an hour re-reading parts of Rebecca just to unwind a bit.

But it’s not been a completely wasted day as far as writing is concerned. I’ve almost got the company brochure drafted.

That’s been a bit of a nightmare project. Although I work for the company, getting consistent information out of anyone is practically impossible. No one can even agree on what products we make or sell!

But it was especially hard to write it because I’d put myself under pressure to get it perfect – and that is impossible. It could always be better, and someone will always be able to pick fault with whatever is finally printed. And after nearly ten years of writing marketing bumpf, I really should know this and be a bit more thick skinned – but I suppose I lost my guard.

I’d called up a design agency that had been working with the company before I joined, and said that I was re-drafting the brochure, would they be interested?

‘Are you sure that’s a good idea?’ they said.

‘How do you mean?’ I asked.

‘You should really get someone who knows what they’re doing to write it. It’s not the sort of thing that just anyone can do,’ they said.

Indignation and self doubt immediately followed. My rational mind told me that of course they didn’t want me to write it – they would get a lot more money if they manage the whole project. ‘Huh, I told myself. Don’t know what I’m doing, eh? I’ll show them!’

A fair enough thought, but not very helpful when you’re just trying to get words on the page and order your ideas. So I kind of froze in the writing. I had a week booked off work, and when I came back I had to catch up on emails, tidy my desk, help people sort out their computers – all sorts of things other than writing. I suppose I got writer’s block – I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t write the perfect brochure.

Then I realised that I was being pathetic and the rational side of my mind kicked in again. I decided that I wouldn’t use that agency any more – it’s petty, but it made me feel so much better.

And then I just made myself write. I found an empty office with no computer or phone, and just wrote by hand. I wrote tons and tons of rubbish – but in the end I’ve nearly got a complete brochure, and I’m not blocked any more.

I’ve still not written any more of my novel, though. And after this stupidly long post, I’ve not got an early night in either!

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Filed under Anxiety, Children, copywriting, Housework, Self sabotage, Writing

Chaos

But good chaos. Chaos in my house – the living room floor is still covered in Lego and Mega Bloks Pyrates locked in battle. But that doesn’t matter – I’m not using the living room floor, am I? I’m getting on with my book!

I can’t do everything – it’s just a question of priorities. Getting my book written isn’t a treat I give myself after all the housework (when I’m too tired) it’s what I want to do when I can still see the computer screen!

I’m fairly upbeat because it’s going better than I thought it was. I should have pulled a rough first draft out of my raw writing by the end of the week. So the book is chaos too – but I can feel that its pulling together now.

My main trouble at the moment is research. Should I really base the story in Reach or Burwell? Does it really matter if I invent a small manor house that never existed? I mean, how many people would know? I’m having difficulty in working out how land ownership worked – and that I ought to get right. I also need to find out what kind of things apothecaries did. I can’t base all ideas for this by reading Brother Cadfael…

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Filed under Children, Housework, Middle ages, Time, Writing