No-one told me life was going to be this way…in which I consider the writing life I envisioned vs the reality. And how to overcome it anyway!
I recently wrote my imperfect guide to morning pages because grabbing time to even write three pages in the morning is hard. But it got me thinking about how much my disappointment in my writing is to do with the wonderful life I envisioned as a writer.
I thought I would:
Have a beautiful writing space
In a recent shoot in Vogue of Madonna is typing on a type-writer, sleek white shirt, cigarillo and coffee as she works. These beautiful nod to Parisian artistes and a bygone world sum up how I envision the romance of a writerly life. She is pictured in Fashion, Hemingway loft-style, if I am not sat with a quill, I am imagining this. To be an artist, you have to be this.
But she is Madonna. And I am sat in my pyjamas on my bed writing on my lap. There’s a pile of washing in the basket at the end of the bed I ought to put away.
My solution to dealing with writing space problems is often to go out as I wrote earlier this year in Nowhere to Write today, is to write in cafes. To take inspiration from other people’s curation of space and if all else fails, write whenever everyone else is in bed.
Work solidly in the time I have
Sure, if the muse takes me, I can sit anywhere and write but even on my best days sitting in a cafe can be distracting. I find myself absorbed with people or the music is too loud or sometimes I just have to sit and eat cake.
The solution I find is to make notes in margins of what has annoyed me. Sometimes what I have seen will even wend its way into my work. Like the woman taken to a coffee shop to discuss her future at the company, she started me thinking about how people at my main character’s work place may have dealt with her breakdown.
Plan out my novels
I have admitted before that I only have a casual plan for the books I am working on. As I start a scene I may jot down what is supposed to happen but I can’t decide if a detailed plan would do me more good.
My solution has been to try and be flexible and try a few ways the story could go. The way I track the ever changing order is by listing scenes on a spreadsheet and having a chronological list on one sheet.
Finish while my son was a baby
This is a big reality check for me, my little baby boy is about to be seven and a reminder that no, neither of the books I have worked on since he was born are final drafts. What a fool I was to think that maternity leave, or even working part time I would have time to write.
My solution is so simple, I am carrying on regardless. It may be going at a turtle pace but, as the running adage goes, “you’re still going faster than anyone sat on the coach”. Before I turned thirty and had a baby I didn’t even have the confidence to do what I do now: try and write.
I have shared solutions here but what else can I do? Well as I embark on the #last90days of this decade I can commit to working on my draft everyday. This morning that meant writing a few lines on the bus. What motivates me to try: by working on what I dream of doing, my vision may one day become a reality.
What did you get wrong about being a writer?