Skirting the Issue - A writer’s life for me? If only I had the time

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I had great plans for last week. I booked a week off work and was intending on being exceptionally productive. I would still pack my children away to their aunty during day-time hours and I would live the life of my dreams - I would be a full time writer.

It sounded like heaven and, with a deadline looming for my latest novel, it was also a necessary evil. I had each and every day planned to perfection.

There would no lazy lie ins. There would be no sly watching of The Wright Stuff or jaunting into a town for a mooch around the shops. This would be proper hardcore writing full time - getting deliriously happy as my word count moved into a rewarding upwards direction.

Did it work out like that? Not exactly. I hadn’t, for instance, factored in my sudden and overwhelming desire to repaint a few rooms in the house.

So two days were lost to emptying the baby’s room, and painting it, and filling it again and buying paint for the hall, stairs and landing while, at least, thinking about the book and what I would write. I figured this was all part of the creative process and therefore an acceptable use of my time.

And then Monday arrived and I forgot it was a Bank Holiday and the boy would be off school and would require entertaining, and feeding and for me to converse more than three words all day with him rather than just sit in front of my laptop lost in another world.

Monday was also the day the baby - clearly traumatised by being uprooted from her bedroom for two nights - decided to delve deeply into the world of the terrible twos and require constant attention and cleaning up after.

Still, I thought about what I would write... so again this, I reckoned was all part of the creative process. And I would definitely, absolutely write with gusto on Tuesday.

With the painters in to tackle the continued decorating I even decamped to my mother’s house in the hope that the peace and quiet would get the creative juices flowing.

But it was too quiet so I switched on the TV and got sucked into a segment on the aforementioned banned Wright Stuff about working mothers and their evil ways.

It took quite a while for the red mist to settle after that and when it did, by about 12 noon, I set about writing and managed to batter out a few thousand words.

Feeling smug I made some lunch and sat back down just in time for the boy and my niece (both off school) to throw themselves at my feet with the well versed school child’s cry of “I’m bored”.

My suggestions to play together in the garden were dismissed outright as it was raining and he wanted to play football while she wanted do something girly like dance or paint her nails. My suggestions that they watch a DVD were met with a roll of the eyes as was my suggestion that they play together on the Wii.

“You know what would really make us not bored,” they said, almost in unison, “going to the cinema to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2”.

The very name of the film made my heart sink to my boots - but seemingly not as much as the thought of continuing with my full time writing plan. So off we traipsed. I spent £26 (three tickets, three popcorns, three drinks) and we sat through an hour and a half of what the children described as a brilliant film and what I can honestly describe as something to be studiously avoided by anyone over the age of 10.

Still the trip to and from the cinema gave me time to think about what I was going to write which, I reasoned was all part of the creative process.

By Wednesday the boy had returned to school. The baby had returned to grand form and I returned to my mother’s house while the painter continued his mission to transform our house.

This day I decided that no, I’d leave the TV off despite the silence. I’d put my head down and I wouldn’t lift it until I had at least 5000 words penned. This was not easy. My computer, like most, has WIFI and I couldn’t resist the odd peak onto Facebook or update on Twitter.

The call of the tea pot was also strong and the chocolate biscuits and even the call of staring out of the window at the garden was strong enough to pull me away from work.

But I did it. And I did it the following day - until the sun starting shining too strongly, at least.

I will never again say those who write full time or work from home have it easy. It takes a great deal of determination and discipline to switch off the distractions of the outside world and get focused on the task in hand and it certainly isn’t wise timing the attempt to do so with a mid-term break, a bout of home improvement and the nicest weather of the entire year so far.

It was harder than I thought to stick to being strict with myself and now, back at work, part of feels as if I wasted an opportunity to make mammoth in-roads into my word count. A writer’s life may be one I covet but it is not the easy task I once thought it to be. Not when real life does its best to get in the way as well.