Sometimes I feel like a fraud, on this blog telling people it’s possible to write with four young kids and all the other stuff that happens because sometimes it isn’t that possible or only just about by the skin of your teeth.
(Excuse me, I need to go and help the three year old….)
Where was I? Actually I’m lucky today because the eight year old is at a friends but the ten year old was diagnosed with Aspergers last year and his homework usually takes ages and the six year old is a great reader and loves to read whole chapters to me.
At the moment I have several projects on the go. A literary novel that needs some good scaffolding and forty thousand more words, a flash fiction project that is a third of the way there, a fun sci-fi housewife thing that I’m editing and a short story collection that could do with a shine and a polish, and a few short pieces for radio that need to be completed. All I need is time. Ha ha ha.
I recently applied for time in the form of a grant which, although was a long shot, would have enabled me to spend more time at writing. Disappointingly I discovered today that my application was not successful and although I’m sure there will be other possibilities it did knock me back. Family circumstances mean that I’ve been less able to put much time towards writing lately. I’ve worked hard in the past couple of years, eking out time in the mornings, doing two novel writing months to produce 50000 words each time. And while it’s lovely to see the Spring settle in, mother’s know that the summer means that kids are need entertaining and looking after for longer.
Here comes the pep talk bit.
The truth is somewhere in the middle a friend said. While it is true that I may have finished more books by now if I had more time, I may have applied for an agent, even been successful if I had the chance to put in a killer query, would I really have been happier. Yes.
No, hang on….
What I want to tell myself and you that we need to look back at now and see..
(hang on I need to make a snack for the kids…)
we need to look back at now and see our current situation, if we can as if with hindsight. For example these are some of the things I might tell myself if I came back from the future:
‘The book is much better two years later than it would have been if I’d finished it then’
‘I’m a better writer now, I wasn’t ready then’
‘I’m much better placed now, mentally and practically for publication, marketing etc
Traditional publication is slow, it didn’t matter that I took some extra time to get things right.
I’ve made better decisions about my writing than I would have back then.
With success becomes responsibility and that can be a headache too.
‘I’ve realised I didn’t want to be a writer at all, I much prefer being a second hand car saleman’
Maybe not the last….
I certainly don’t believe ‘there is a reason for everything’ – I think the world is a rather chaotic, chancy but sometimes serendipitous thing, the grass is always a little bit green where you are already and a little bit worn and patchy on the other side.
However this pep talk I’m giving, (and it’s really to myself) should make me think about what advantages I have now; artistic freedom, freedom from deadlines and marketing circuits, all my children close at hand, the cheerleading of my lovely real world and online friends, some solid successes in the short story world. I also need to realise that opportunity and success can also have their own drawbacks. The truth is somewhere in the middle. So once the disappointment fades let’s see where the truth about our writing lies and proceed on.