The awkwardness of real life

I’ve been laid up for eight weeks now. That means that for eight weeks I have had what many writers (in fact probably all the ones with full time jobs and families) would consider ‘the perfect writing situation’. I can’t work out. I can’t drive. I can walk for about fifteen minutes tops before my back starts to hurt and ye olde sciatic nerve gets to yelling. I can’t even sit on a chair for more than half a hour at the absolute most – usually it’s less than three minutes. So I can’t go to the cinema. I love the cinema.

In case you haven’t noticed, this makes the list of things I can do almost ridiculously short. I can, for example, lie propped up on my bed for twelve hours straight. Oh, and I can lie flat and sleep.


So when I wake up in the morning, I have breakfast and I write for a couple of hours. I have no family or other half here and there isn’t even a TV to offer any distraction. Then I come online and I do the checking of the emails, the Twitter, the blog stats and the post. Hello ๐Ÿ™‚ *waves*

Which has made me a very productive writer, in terms of my novel and my blog. I have written about fifteen thousand words of my novel over the last five days. Having a critque partner helps. She is very specific about the fact that I have to write stuff for her to read. It’s mutual. And worth it – she’s a good writer and a good editor.

So what the hell am I going to do when my back finally re-enters the land of the living and I go back to work? Apart from get down on my hands and knees and offer up prayers of thanks to the gods. Because you might, surrounded by children, spouses and blaring televisions, think this is a perfect writing situation and it is. What it is not is a perfect living situation. It’s boring. I promise.

So I will get better, offer up the prayers and go back to work. When will I write?

I will do what I have done during this time out of time. I will come up with a schedule. The schedule will most likely be – get up very early and write before going to work. Come home from work and do the checking of the email, the Twitter and the blog stats and then write another blog post. Except that I just remembered I will have to go to the gym in the mornings before work, which means coming home from work and doing everything I mentioned above then.

Whether I like it or not (I suspect I will not like the getting up very early part) I will need a schedule. It’s one thing to write when you have nothing else to do. It is quite another to write when you do have a lot of other things to do, all of which are conceivably more important than writing. That is why I have nothing but a bottomless reservoir of respect for those authors with families and full time jobs (or one or the other) who write and continue to write, according to a schedule imposed only by themselves. I suspect it is only worse when the schedule is imposed by editors/publishers/demons of the ninth circle.

I don’t know if the novel I am working on now would have got quite so far so fast if it hadn’t been for this downtime – I only started planning it seven weeks ago – but now that I am up to speed with it, I owe it to myself to carry on with the schedule, or at least a schedule, when real life once more intervenes.


About Mhairi Simpson

Writer, dreamer. Magic, dragons, pink mice, cake. Come say hi!
This entry was posted in About Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to The awkwardness of real life

  1. Mike says:

    I hope you feel better soon. In my opinion, being bed-ridden and restricted in such a way is not a perfect situation for anything (including writing). You must be miserable and my sympathies go out to you. Please hang in there. You are so talented and wonderful. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hahaha I wrote that post and published it and then thought, why would you go and do a stupid thing like that? Just wallowing in the self-pity, how pathetic. But it’s worth it to hear how amazing I am ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m kidding, but thank you very much for the compliments.

  2. adrianakraft says:

    Wow. Kudos to you, and I’m optimistic that you’ll succeed even when the laid-up phase is over. Why? Because clearly you are disciplined, and that’s exactly what it takes. Glad to meet a hard working fellow crusader!

    • I have to admit, I don’t think my critique partner will let me get away with less than two chapters a day now – besides which, we set up our own writing challenge, call the IdeM Writing Challenge. We both have to finish our first drafts by the Ides of March, that’s 15th March. At this rate I might just manage it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for the comment ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Feel better soon! Back problems are never ideal for any situation!

  4. Gina Blechman says:

    I hope you feel better! At least the boredom is counteracted by the productivity. Sort of.

    โค Gina Blechman (fellow crusader)

    • Exactly. And whenever it really gets to me, like over the last few days, my critique partner is there, bugging me for more chapters, or L.M. Stull is hosting a short story contest (you can find her amazing blog here). Or I have another story idea which can maybe use a little flesh. Or even some bones. As you say, the productivity doesn’t exactly make up for the boredom, but it does counteract it most of the time ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Trisha says:

    I’m sorry you’re in such pain! I hope you get better soon, so you don’t have to suffer through that! I guess the writing you’ve been doing IS the bright side though ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m pretty lucky, I live alone and have no kids (only cats :P) so I get a lot of spare time each night to write.

  6. Pingback: Tweets that mention The awkwardness of real life | Anne-Mhairi Simpson --

  7. Margo Kelly says:

    Stopping by to say hello! Fellow crusader…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s