My writing timeslot is while the children are at school. There isn't a gnat's chance in hell it is going to get done at any other time given that at any one moment the decibel levels in my house hold could generally wager war with a Guns and Roses concert. The good thing about this is that I actually get a set time to write, the bad thing about this is it seems to be my least creative time.
I am quite a sleepy head. More than that, I love my sleep. However, my children - both of them - are not the best sleepers. In fairness to the eldest he can't roll or reposition himself in anyway, so someone has to get up to him in the night - could you sleep in the same position all night? No, didn't think so. Of course, sometimes he can just be a plain little sod that won't sleep because, and I quote,
"I just don't want to ok!"
But that's by the by.
The youngest is just plain needy at night, despite being Mr Independent on the lead up to it. He goes off to sleep in his own bed but you are guaranteed to wake up in the morning with his foot in your back / stomach / face as he spread eagles himself across your space, leaving you balancing like a tightrope walker on two inches of what is left. But I digress.
The point is I do not get enough sleep and what I do get is broken. So when I get up in the morning at the crack of a sparrows fart in order to get said non-sleep loving children off to school, the energy I had has been spent by the time I return at 9.30am. But this is the time I should be raring to go with my school work (if you are wondering why my writing is my school work see this post). But my brain is mush, in need of coffee (decaf - had to phase the caffeine out when I realised if I had a blood test it would be pure caffeine) and food. Even after this my energy levels and motivation are low and it is a struggle to remember my own name, let alone work out where I am going with a complicated plot. I liken it to imagining my ideas sitting in the bottom of a large cauldron of thick, sticky porridge. So the idea of doing a mundane task like ironing or mopping the floor or sewing on yet another round of Beaver badges (but yay - go boy!) is just easier.
Sometimes I can fight against this, occasionally I will have had a good sleep - then woohoo its like I am sliding into 'creative world' glass of wine in one hand, chocolate bar in the other and I can bash out 5000 words like I am the champ! Ahh they are good days. Rare but good. Then there are the determined days, I trudge on and can churn out a little, which I usually don't feel good about, but can salvage something out of upon closer inspection. Some days I sit in my writing space and just stare at a blank screen while my lists of chores, phone calls, and things to do whirls around my head very loudly, drowning out any hope of creativity fighting through.
Until about 2pm. Then all of a sudden, I seem to click. I can get going and go and go. Until about 2.45pm when my alarm goes off and I have to go on the school run. Then the spell is broken. Sometimes I try and sneak back to the sacred space, if the boys are occupied safely, but without fail one of them will need me for something super important that absolutely, definitely can not wait like telling me WWE is touring and can we get tickets? (Unlikely - the tour is in America - cue 30 long minutes of explaining why we can't just 'go to America').
It seems my most creative time is the evening, even without attempting to my mind starts to sort through plot holes, ideas and solutions can come from nowhere, characters can leap up and start jumping about. All I can do is jot it down (thank god for the notes section on my phone) and hope I can get the excited feeling back when I actually have the chance to sit down. If I can get the kids to bed and I don't feel like I am literally keeping my eyes open with matchsticks I try and handwrite some stuff, scenes or dialogue, but then I find my mind wakes up so much I can't get myself back off to sleep, which doesn't bode well with the early start the next morning.
So I need to work this out this time / creative optimum conundrum, one way or another because an epic fail has occurred - during month three of my writing course I should have been cracking on with 10,000 words but two things collided and created a crisis :
1. Easter happened.
Two and a half weeks of full on parenting time (which don't get me wrong was great and we had an awesome time but I don't get time to scratch my arse let alone sit down to write) but then following that I had two very busy and full on weeks which included trips to the children's hospital in London for pre-op assessments for my eldest son (an S shape spine is the latest fall out of his condition, they are looking to straighten it - yes it is as horrendous as it sounds) and agreeing to do my best friend a huge favour that I can safely say takes out half the week (but she is the best friend you could imagine and she never asks for anything). But this meant a month without writing. I was out of the routine (need dramatic music here).
2. I just couldn't work with my current plot.
I realised the reason I was feeling more and more reluctant to sit down and write was because I couldn't work with my plot. So I took a few days and put myself in the maze of it, walking around trying different avenues until I found a potential way to the exit. But that meant a whole big plot change.
It also made most of what I had already written unusable.
I realised I was going to have to start from scratch.
Yes, this could have made me cry, but, I try and be a positive person and the silver lining is I have worked this out early on. Being almost 20k behind is better than being 50k in and realising it - eh? Now I know, when I want to I can bang out some words, I am a fair old typist (thanks mum - forcing me to learn to touch type on a traditional typewriter did in fact pay off, even though my bleeding fingers didn't realise it at the time) but I have to know where I am going and what I am writing.
So, although I am now effectively two months behind with school, I suppose I am further on in a way. I have re-written my plot and resubmitted it to my tutor who is going to come back to me with her thoughts and questions. I know I can use the first 3000 words with some tweaking and then hopefully once I get the nod from the powers that be I can crack on and hopefully the next post will be a more positive one.
If not then ....