Writing a book when you have a job and a child is hard. My job comes first. It has to: I am the breadwinner and I’m lucky enough to have a job that uses words and my creativity. This is great, but it means there are no long days to sit at my desk writing. I read articles of writers’ tips and they talk about writing eight or more hours per day and it just isn’t possible when you have got to go to work. And if your job involves sitting at a laptop, typing all day, by the time you have collected your child from school and fed them and listened to them read and bathed them and read them a bedtime story and showered yourself and dried your hair and done the washing up and made sure the uniform’s all ready for the morning, the last thing you feel like doing is sitting down at a laptop and writing again. You can’t just go “oh, I’m going to be really creative between 9 and 10pm tonight” because if your brain’s done in, it won’t happen.
The other, perhaps bigger issue here is confidence. Over the years, in sporadic late night weekend sessions, I’ve got thousands of words down; more than enough to fill a book. But for a long time, I have been frightened of it. A lot of the book is about being pregnant. I know people like reading my blog posts because of the sweet things Tom says and the way it all turned out OK in the end. Tom isn’t talking when he is a foetus and I’m an angry, frightened individual, so it’s nowhere near as lovely. But it did happen and it does happen and that’s why I set out to write about it. People have read what I’ve written so far and told me it’s great, but I’m plagued by what ifs. What if it gets bad reviews? What if I end up wanting to recall every copy and rip it up? What if people say ‘big deal – women get pregnant every day?’ (Elsewhere on the web, I’ve been criticised and even though I knew not to listen to those internet troll types, I’m afraid they got me.) I dreaded people going “How’s the book?” because I didn’t know. I actually got to a point a couple of months ago when I lay in bed thinking about it and decided I’d have to stop.
But all of this is anxiety; an anxiety that festers when you’re on your own a lot. Of course, it is directly comparable to the moving situation (and very closely linked to it.) It felt safe to stay put and it felt safe to forget the book. But I needed to get brave again. What happened to the woman who was mortified when she got pregnant by a man who’d promised her it couldn’t happen then vanished when it did, the woman who had her baby and went back to university and then went back again to do an MA and then set up her own business in her bedroom then took her baby to Australia and then made a career as a writer off the back of it all? She has been sitting in her house, getting scared of things that weren’t there and letting life go stagnant. That’s not me. I have got something to write about, I’ve got a contract with an excellent publisher and I need to get it out there. When you have something to say, the words just flow. And do you know what? I hammered this post out in minutes.
I just need to get this move out of the way and then the book’s coming. And if you’re a writer and you’re scared, stop being scared. (And find the time, if you can.)
This brilliant post inspired me to write today. Back to the boxes.