Monthly Archives: June 2011

Cabin Fever

Last year, I thought that my book was going to be out just before Glastonbury. Now Glastonbury is nearly here (I’m very excited about that) but the book is not.

Writing a book can be a full time job in itself. So can running a home and raising a child. And so can working a five day week. All three of those things make it very tricky to actually find the time to write a book. Tom goes to school, I work all day. He comes home, I listen to him read and talk about dinosaurs and his pack of invisible dogs, I make his tea, bath him, read to him and put him to bed. And that’s not on the evenings when he has swimming lessons or we need to go to the shops. After he has gone to bed, I have to wash up and do a load of washing and put clothes away and try to do some kind of exercise and have a shower myself and dry my hair sometimes put things on eBay. Sometimes I fail at these things (apart from having a shower) because I am knackered. The upshot of this isĀ  an untidy house. (And untidy hair, as I often go to bed with it wet.)

Sometimes, all I want to do after I have had the shower is inanely moan about my day on Twitter. Friends with fellas tend not to be available for long chats in the evenings. You want to turn to the person sitting next to you on the sofa and say “I’ve got a load of work on” or “I forgot to pay the dinner money” or “I f*cking hate the school run” or “Where should we move to?” And with no one there, you throw it out to Twitter (well I do anyway – sorry.) The last thing I really want to do is sit down at the desk where I do work work and start writing about how I felt when I found out I was pregnant six years ago. It’s hard to sound positive and I start to panic and wonder why I’m doing it at all.

Last week, Tom and I went away. We went to visit my friends in Madrid and spent half the week in a cabin in the countryside, listening to thunder and torrential rainfall on the roof.

“When are you going to write a book for me?” Tom asked when I was tucking him in his beloved top bunk.

“When I have finished this one.”

“What’s it about?”

“It’s about being your Mum. About how I didn’t know if I’d do a very good job of it but it turned out OK. I want to write it because there are other people being Mums on their own and it’s hard for a lot of them.”

“Really? Is that what it’s about?!”

“Yes. What do you think?”

“I think it’s a really good idea Mum. And I do honestly think you are actually really good at being a Mum.”

After that, I sat there with my one Euro carton of sangria and wrote. I have got tens of thousands of words, but I found my right tone of voice and it really began to take shape. I spent three nights like that and came back to Madrid completely on track.

Next month, I am beginning to go to work in a communal office space in town. Working from home is wonderfully convenient, but it does have its drawbacks. I’m hoping that having a bit of division between work and home will give me the energy to keep going in the evenings. And I’m going to try really hard to stay away from blinking Twitter. If you see me faffing about on there, please tell me to get off and write.

The very important cabin



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