A Diva … Moi?

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My wretched book!

No, of course it’s not really wretched, I’m simply being a drama queen because I am frustrated. Supremely frustrated.

I’m frustrated because with no published books under my belt, how on earth can I really justify the time I need to write?

I feel as though because I’m not (yet) an author, it’s rather self-indulgent, pompous and pretentious to announce that “I need to be alone!” and mop my fevered brow. Whether it was Greta Garbo or Marlene Dietrich who said it, I don’t recall, and frankly it doesn’t matter, my point is that I do need to be alone but I feel a bit of a drama queen saying it. Admittedly I don’t need to do the mopping of brow with a delicate white handkerchief, but in case Renee Zelwegger isn’t available for the film version of the book, I’m happy to practise my craft and step into the role …

So, I keep sloping off from the packing up of the house (we’re moving), the cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing and general ‘life’. (Nb This is also said in a woe-is-me type of voice, despite the rather odd fact that I rather enjoy it) So, in order to give myself a little bit of writing time, I am shirking my responsibilities by hiding behind the door of the kitchen, tap, tapping away. Did I mention that I was moving house?

Once I have got book number one done and dusted and it’s flying off the shelves in every bookstore from London to New York (optimism and a total lack of reality are currently my default setting), then I feel that I am justified in disappearing off for several hours to write. I can then type madly, hitting the iPad with such ferocity simply to get out the words, sentences and paragraphs that are endlessly trying to burst out of my head and are longing to get onto paper before they are forgotten and lost in the dusty crevices of the grey matter.

Oooooh I’m exhausted! Forgive my rant, my frustrations and my inner melodramatic diva who has momentarily escaped the confines of my middle class British background. I shall resolve this. A little self control is required. A little earlier rising in the morning, allocating specific writing time and then using that time correctly instead of drinking tea and looking at Facebook. Oh yes, I can do this! Discipline is all it takes!

In the meantime, I think I need a little lie-down in a darkened room with some whale music, except the sounds of running water .. well, I needn’t go into that …

Perhaps I’ll just hide behind the kitchen door again; there’s a socket for charging my iPad, a very friendly spider whom in hushed tones I like to chat to about the benefits of waxing vs shaving (oh yes, that hairy arachnid needs to know!) … and at least the ginger biscuits are close to hand …

Katie x

How and where do you write and do you feel guilt?

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39 thoughts on “A Diva … Moi?”

  1. Oh yes, the guilt! I know exactly what you are talking about. Forging out the time when in your head you have fifty other things you should be doing. As I settle in to the loveseat I always tell myself it will payoff someday 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh yes, I’m so glad you understand! I’ve just done an hour or so and now feel as though I need to make double the amount of contribution to everything! And yet, my brain is completely frazzled … You’re right though, one day it will pay off!

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    1. Oh thank you so much! I’ll have a look. We’ve got the moving people coming in a couple of hours to talk everything through … they were the same ones who broke 16 different items on our move a couple of years ago. Sadly we don’t get a choice of whom we use … 😨😨. I think that your podcast suggestion could be the perfect antidote to what will be further stress! Thanks xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have nobody else to please excepy two orderly cats who remind me I require rest. I can write as and when I like. At the moment there are distracting things going on the home. Moving Hey, well do so in gay abandon and I hope you find your new location inspiring and peaceful.

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  3. I’ll sound awful now, but guilt isn’t a problem for me – perhaps I’m too selfish! For me the greatest problem BY FAR is that I procrastinate and find a million other things to do. It’s almost self sabotage!!

    You, however, need to be tap-tappety-tapping so we’ll be able to read your book before we all die from impatience – OK? I need to read it. WE need to read it. Get typing, my dear. I’ll be your boot camp style general and can happily holler at you at any sign of slowing down, yah? Or I’ll instruct the Colonel to refuse you kisses any day you don’t hit your word count – the two of you are so loved up I imagine this will prove too painful to cope with and therefore a powerful way to keep you tap-tappety-tapping, no? I am an evil genius. 🙂

    Write – it’s what you were born to do!!!!!! Your story – and stories yet to come – is one you have to tell. DO IT. I shall personally smack your pert little bottom next time I see you if you don’t get it in gear. …..er, and can you be equally unreasonable and aggressive in return please? I could be writing RIGHT NOW but oohhhhh must make popcorn.

    xxxx

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    1. Popcorn!!! Pah!
      Thank you, thank you for the boot up the bottom … it’s just what I need! I’m so nearly there now … I’m onto the last two days of cycling which I know has taken me so darn long to get to, but I got into a bit of a muddle as to when I did various things … I think it’s all sorted now. The Colonel is at home now for a couple of days which is lovely but he’s being very needy! I think I’m going to hide in the understairs cupboard next .. he’ll never find me because it’s full of the old dinner service that he hates because there’s so much of it! Honestly, why on earth would anyone need 24 dinner plates and the same number of soup bowls?? I do rather get his point but can’t bear to sell them. Back to the point …. yes, I’m nearly there! I promise!
      Ahhhh, but what of you and your writing now? Ha! ‘Tis your turn I do believe! You can only have the next handful of popcorn when you’ve written two paragraphs! Actually, bearing in mind that I think you’ve got quite a lot of material already for your book, this might mean that you can eat rather a lot of popcorn. Hmmm, I could become responsible for you eating too many calories … change of plan … if you don’t write the first chapter by the end of the weekend, then you shall have to come to my coffee shop with me next week and we can write together and every half hour have a hot chocolate or latte to celebrate our productiveness! Fabulous!! Love ya! Xxx

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      1. Thinking about this more Katie, I believe the key is finding a way to give yourself permission.

        This last week one of our kids has had chicken pox, and so my wife and I have taken time off work alternately to look after him. Usually with a day off, or a weekend day, there’s a certain self-imposed pressure to do something amazing, exciting, fun, memorable and educational all at once, to squeeze every ounce of benefit from the family time. Which is of course unrealistic.

        But looking after our son this week I have had virtually zero expectation of the time. We’ve mostly watched films, completed some funny sticker books, played on the Wii, and generally just chilled out, or chillaxed, as the kids might say. And because he’s been unable to go out, I haven’t felt guilty for not taking him out and doing different things.

        In other words, his chicken pox has provided that permission to do what we wanted and not feel guilty.

        So back to your writing, I think the key is to look at all the reasons why you write, and why you need to write books in particular, and all that will bring you, and then give yourself permission to do that. And not just a kind of one off permission – “Yes go ahead and write that book!”, but a regular permission in the form of certain times of the week that are blocked out in your diary just for this purpose.

        I remember having a coach some years back who went as far as suggesting we physically write out a permission slip for ourselves and pin it up somewhere, something like the slips we have to complete to say we’re happy to give permission to our kids to go on day trips at school etc.

        Seth’s post I linked to above is much the same – what we prioritise is what we give ourselves permission to above other things. We can’t do everything so we must choose wisely.

        Hope this helps!

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      2. Thanks for your kind words … and I hope the chicken pox has now ended! It’s funny how when I look back on the times when my children were little, although like you I tried to fill their time with all sorts of educational and worthwhile things, the times that I most remember are those times that you described above. The simple stuff. We lived in a tiny little cottage, the boys and I, and after all the sport and stuff on a Sunday and a big roast lunch, sometimes in winter we’d close the curtains, and all snuggle down on the sofa together, plus the dog and watch a lovely film together. Heaven. After a busy week of school, work etc etc it was truly wonderful.

        But you’re right, with the chicken pox, yes that did provide the permission. And now I need to do the same and some things will just have to go onto the back burner. Thanks so much for your advice. It’s appreciated. X

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    1. Oh my goodness yes, this is so true. Thank you for forwarding it on to me. I understand it completely. And although my writing is my priority, I haven’t made it clear to others that this is the case. Therefore, I am often making excuses. Frankly, I need to man-up and just speak my mind. As a people pleaser this can be quite hard. Thanks.

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  4. A couple of suggestions:

    Throw some money at yourself. In this way, you will need to spend time to make it “worth it.”

    Example: Get a cheap office, even an office-sharing situation or a friend’s house that is empty during the day (but for which you pay a nominal fee). You then go to work during the day like everyone else. (I do this, but it’s more like half-days and when I feel like it.) Regardless, you now have a place to go to get your money’s worth out of the rental.

    Second, hire a writing coach for some nominal fee (or use a friend). You then are tied into the coach’s deadlines for you, and you blame her for your need to get things done. After all, you want to get your money’s worth.

    My husband really understands the phrase “getting your money’s worth,” where some kind of nebulous writing goals don’t really appeal to him. I’ve used these tactics successfully for TWO YEARS without producing a book, so it really works. Also, my entire family and his kids all know that I may disappear at any time to work on my writing coach’s book. (That way, once again, I’m blaming someone else for my need to disappear. My writing coach doesn’t mind.)

    Try it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you’ve got something here! I like the idea of an enforced deadline … I think! Perhaps the reality is somehow slightly different, I don’t know! But historically I have felt such guilt at doing the things that I enjoy … a bit daft really! Thanks for all the ideas … I suspect you just might be right! X

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  5. You should take the time you need to write and don’t feel guilty. I have been blessed with very tolerant family who just know I need time to write. They are used to me getting up at 4am because I’ve got stuff bursting out that can’t wait. And me not being able to hold a conversation at breakfast because I’m still going. They pat me on the head and let me get on with it.
    I heard a writer on Desert Island Discs saying her children once made a ‘No Smoking’ style sign but with a pen in place of a fag, for when they really needed her to be there!!

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    1. I love that they pat you on the head! I wake up early too, but I don’t think that I put it to good use like you. I need to give myself a bit of a kick and use those opportunities better. That’s really helpful … many thanks x

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    1. Oh I long to be in your situation! Although, I have only two more chapters and an epilogue to do now. Hurray! I’m nearly there … I feel as though I am physically cycling to the finish line again. Dare I say (without sounding like a complete muppet) that I’m feeling slightly tearful? It’s rather like reliving the entire trip. Oh golly, I know what you’re thinking and you’re right, I need to pull myself together and stop imagining that I’m a female version of Shackleton! 😂😩😩

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