Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The landscape of life

The landscape of our family life has changed enormously in the past two months.

 I'm handling the daily turmoil that comes with a separation, jerking from one emotion to another. My thoughts are an endless stream of non-sequiturs, and the children don't respect my need to lick my wounds in peace. I'm glad; their irreverent happiness and endless demands for attention don't leave room for wallowing, though there are days when I feel like I'm not waving, but drowning.

It's crippled my creativity, but I've kept writing - to friends, my sister, my husband. Maybe one day I can use this bleak time for something. For now, I'm waiting for it to pass.

And September is here; season of the spiders, pressed uniforms, stuffy central heating and turning leaves. The tribe are back at school...and this year, that means three of them. The house feels empty; the baby is a delight and our time together feels like a something to be treasured. She sleeps for a couple of hours a day - hours I could fill with distracting American sit-coms, and which I should fill with domesticity.

I really want to spend those hours writing, and on at least three days I've guiltily indulged myself, dragging myself back to reality for a school run that I'm not fully present at.

 Perhaps I'm recovering - or perhaps next week I'll be sluggish again.

I just hope the baby doesn't grow out of her daytime naps too quickly.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


My latest story has been the product of perspiration rather than inspiration. I'm slogging on with my self-set challenge to enter a competition a month and my latest was August's Love Story (with a deadline in September - best not ask, I think).

I'm not feeling loved up at the moment, so it was a feat to think up a love story at all. This was, however, the whole point of my challenge - to write things I didn't FEEL like writing; to force myself to produce in a way I don't usually. I had to cheat slightly and took Rapunzel, one of my favourite (and quite dark) fairy stories as inspiration. It didn't flow; it hiccuped along and I must have written eight drafts, as the deadline raced towards me. There were several times I felt like giving up, and times when plot jams looked impossible to sort out. But I plodded on, and in the end I was quite proud of what I'd achieved.

I'm not sure the story is great - I'm fairly sure when I next look it over it will horrify me. But I was pleased this morning, and when I hit 'send', with only two days to spare, the sense of achievement was more than I have felt for any other story this year. I suppose it has been such an effort, the achievement is proportionally impressive.

I'm especially proud of myself for keeping a promise to myself, to write this story, despite all the excuses (many of which are quite plausible) I could have made. I'm proud of my determination to write...and I'll look back to this high moment next time I'm cringing over a rejection.

Thursday, 5 September 2013


It's been a hard summer, with many stresses and stressors, and a strained private life. Each time I find out that one of my stories hasn't achieved anything, it feels like a rejection, which is another word for failure. It makes me question whether I have any potential, and also wonder what it is that I am getting wrong. I'd even like to know if I'm missing by an inch or a mile...but I think I really feel too low to investigate at the moment.
I'll pick myself up tomorrow - or the day after - and remember that the only difference between a published and unpublished writer is perseverance.