travelling writer

We are hanging out at the Children’s Hospice this week. As you do. We are able to come every ten-ish weeks, usually for three or four nights at a time. We have been looking forward to this week, because we’re both shattered.

I was hoping to capture a lot of words whilst we were here, but so far I have only got about two thousand down on paper. I am within about ten thousand of finishing the first draft of the sequel to Lost In Time and I am desperate to get it done with. I know exactly what is going to happen, but finding the time to get that down on paper seems to be almost impossible at the moment.

In the meantime, Mr AL and I have made a commitment to be less hard on ourselves and try to spend a bit more time together. With that in mind, we have accepted an offer from the hospice to have our younger child for nearly a week in mid-July and we are looking to book a trip somewhere with our older child, just the three of us, with no wheelchair ramps necessary.

You have no idea how peculiar this makes me feel. On the one hand I am incredibly excited to be going away for a few nights. To Paris. PARIS! On the other hand I am wracked with guilt about leaving Child Two at the hospice.

She loves it here. There is the jacuzzi, messy play, the Narnia garden, the music room, lots of television and iPad opportunities, soft play and all the lovely people to talk to and play with. But leaving her still makes me feel like hell.

There have been two other families here this week with us and we have been chatting. I don’t think this is an unusual thing for ‘families like ours’ to feel. I put that in quotes because that is how a lot of the professionals who surround us describe us. Not here at the hospice, though; here, we are talked of as ‘our families’, which is lovely.

Anyway. The top and the bottom of it is that instead of writing this afternoon, I have been on the phone to Railbookers and I have a quote. And Mr AL is currently organising an appointment with the passport office; everyone else’s has run out and mine makes me look like Myra Hindley.

It’s very easy to bang out four hundred words of rambling like this. But poor Alec and Lew are stuck in Max’s office having an emotional altercation and I’m probably not going to be able to get them out of there before the dinner bell goes.

For today, that is all.

#WritersLife

I had a bit of a panic attack this morning when I realised I hadn’t updated my blog for ages. And then another bout of anxiety over what to write. What should a Writers Life blog actually cover?

Alex Beecroft pondered that perhaps I could write about managing stress as a writer? But I’m so, so, sooooo bad at doing that, that I think it would be a lesson in how not to do it, rather than at all helpful.

Instead, I think I am going to chatter about my life generally. That’s complicated in itself because my kids are nine and ten now; and I don’t want to expose their lives too much on Teh Interwebs… but on the other hand a lot of my comedy chaos comes from having high-need children and a stressful family. So it’s going to be a bit of a two-steps forward, one step back effort as I feel my way.

I blogged for about a decade about smallholding and family things, years and years ago now at the dawn of time, and I enjoyed it. So perhaps using this space for something similar rather than just rather pushy posts about my writing will be good for me.

At the moment I’m sat in the garden for a rare couple of hours with no-one else about. It’s sunny and I’m watching the rabbits make friends (VERY GOOD FRIENDS) and listening to the hens grumble that it’s nearly feeding time and the dog whinging that he wants to go and murder the pheasant that’s cracking in the field over the hedge. It’s all very bucolic and English Country Garden-ish and really I should have a cup of tea beside me.

Watch this space. It’s a blank page, about to be filled.

it’s always five AM somewhere

I have taken my courage in my hands and committed to something. The #5amWritersClub on twitter is for writers. Who want to get up early and get some words in at the start of the day at five AM.

You can probably guess that from the hashtag.

I have no chance of doing that at my own five in the morning, but it’s ALWAYS five somewhere and I’ve started joining it at about ten my own time for a couple of hours.

I have no deadlines imposed on me from elsewhere; but I do have two works in progress to get to grips with and a few ideas for short stories. It’s just making the time to get the words down on the page.

The last couple of weeks has been awful for the gay romance genre, with various catfishing and publishing troubles. Although I have only been an observer, the sheer horribleness of it all seems to have pulled all the creativity out of me. Despite the impending school holidays, this seems like it might be a good way to manage some time to write.

I have also discovered white noise. How did I not know about this before?

bucolic

Beware, this is a bucolic, pastoral post, instead of me doing any actual writing of fiction.

I usually power-down between Christmas and the New Year and this season has been no different. It’s cold and it’s wet and it’s dark and it’s much nicer to spend my time curled up inside in front of the fire watching mildly rubbish TV with the kids than trying to be creative. Or to try and wrest a living from the land, which is is what I attempt to do when I’m not writing.

The children went back to school last week and Mr AL and I spent the time getting our collective heads on straight; putting the decorations back up in the loft; catching the plague of mice that arrived out of the decorations boxes and started eating the tea-towels; and generally taking a breath.

For me it was also a week of heightened anxiety, because Lost in Time was released. I didn’t realise how much boshing up self-publishing early last year had affected me, up until now. I have had to work really hard not to compulsively check for new reviews and get on with the job of writing new words. Mr AL has been looking at reviews and feeding things back to me and that has worked really well as a cushion between me and the world.

This week, then, I feel better about Acting Like A Real Human ™ and despite it being cold and wet and having spent most of the morning standing in my pyjamas shouting things like “WHERE ARE YOUR TRAINERS! HAVE YOU CLEANED YOUR TEETH! TURN ALEXA OFF!” I can feel words bubbling up inside me almost ready to boil over on to the page.

I need to plant lettuce and get the hens back in to lay and decide whether I’m going to mate the rabbits again this year. But for now all that can wait whilst I retreat to 1920s London for a while.

 

 

 

under-layed

I signed up for NaNoWriMo, just to give myself a framework for this month, really, and I’ve been doing quite well. This morning though, I am being helped by a nine year old and a dachshund who are being creative with Garage Band. We have clips of the Bus Lady’s voice (*waves to Bus Lady if she is reading this*), cut in with sneezes from both human children and canines, under-layed with a rocking back-beat.

It’s charming. But I would really, really like OH to take them both out for a walk now. Child Two has been asking to walk the dog since she woke up; and the dog is up for it at any time, obviously. We are trying to train him to walk beside the wheelchair without pulling, but he’s only six months old and the whole concept is SO EXCITING for the child that it’s all a bit more complicated than it should be at first glance.

While we are waiting, I have downloaded a new Peppa Pig game on the iPad and that seems to be quite a lot quieter. I’d like to get two thousand words done on the sequel to Lost In Time today, but I think that’s unlikely!