Thursday 20 July 2017

I is for ... Interruptions!

So... i was going to be for Inspiration, but looking at the time that's elapsed since the last time entry in the A to Z of Writing, I think I'd better explain myself. Which means, I is for ... Interruptions!

It may be a bit of a leap of faith to think I might have any readers left after leaving this blog gathering dust for nine months, but if there is anyone out there wondering what happened, wonder no longer.

Yes, that tiny, cross-looking bundle is my son, who arrived into our lives back in mid-November. These days he looks more like this:

It's fair to say he's cheered up a bit!

I was completely unprepared for just how much time a baby can absorb. Before he arrived, I harboured what I now know to be wholly unrealistic visions of myself merrily tapping away at the keyboard while my son dozed in his cot beside me. Ha! I was so naive.

Nothing is straightforward with a baby in the house. Everything takes three times as long, and requires five times as much energy. The simplest trip to the shops is doomed to failure without at least a solid hour's preparation. All those cliches about lack of sleep and perpetual exhaustion are true. There is, of course, an awful lot that compensates for this, but this is a writing blog, not a chirpy smug parenting one.

Fatherhood, the day job, trying to get my photography venture off the ground, and writing all compete for the limited time available. For the last eight months, it hasn't been possible. Something had to give, and it was, sadly, the writing.

I've kept my hand in, kind of. A few notes here and there, an idea or two floating around in my head. But no more than that. Initially I found it frustrating - I was beating myself up about not finding/making time to write. In the end I just had to accept that the stories, the novel, all of it, was going to have to wait. I hate the expression but I "gave myself permission" not to write. It's proved to be the most useful thing I could have done.

Because, to drag this post back on topic, I've realised it's a fact of life that we all get interrupted. Things beyond our control have a habit of cropping up, and there's never a convenient time for that to happen. Whether it's the arrival of a miniature person who gets more amazing and wonderful with each passing day or just a phone call right when you're in the middle of a key scene, you can't let the interruptions get to you. Everything will settle down again, eventually, and even if what they settle down to isn't anything like you imagined, you will get back to what you were doing. As writers we need to learn to roll with the interruptions, not fight against them.

Writing this post is a small victory for me, but an important one. It's been on my to-do list for at least a month. It's not going to win any awards. I don't even know if anybody will read it (do people still read blogs?). But it's confirmation that things are starting to settle down, little by little, and time and space might once again make themselves available for writing. I hope so. I feel like I'm well and truly ready for it.


Chloe said...

Some of us still have you on our blog readers! I feel for you. I know exactly what this is like. Having two boys in under 18 months I got so little done for the last few years. My youngest is almost two now and it doesn't get easy but it does get possible! The benefit I've found though is that when I do get to write something - usually only the tiniest bit of flash fiction - it has been floating around in my head a lot longer and is therefore actually better for it. I can't get over-enthusiastic and write a story before I'm ready to write it which is my default position! On the other hand I did actually manage to write a full draft of a novel last year... and it was crap because I was cramming it into nap times and between the boys' bedtime and housework and sleep etc. Look at your son's face though... adorable! Totally worth it!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Dan. I'm sure as well as causing interruptions, you'll find much inspiration from the little dude.

Douglas Bruton said...

All these interruptions will one day be food for your writing. Keep the faith.

Dan Purdue said...

Chloe - yes, he's a little superstar. I can fully understand what you mean when you say your ideas have far more time to mature these days (I can't imagine how anyone copes with more than one youngster at a time!) - and I'd agree that's probably a good thing. I've been convinced for a while there's a kind of Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest rule that applies to ideas. It's why I try not to worry too much about writing every idea I have down - I feel sure the good ones will stick with you, the others only seem great when you can't remember a single thing about them.

Ric - Thank you. I'm sure you're right. It's a good exercise to try to see things through somebody else's eyes, and I guess there's no better candidate for that than someone who's literally seeing things for the very first time.

Douglas - You're quite right. A life without setbacks and difficulties would make a dull autobiography, and doubtless the same applies to fiction.

Unknown said...

I read it! And since I wasn't a regular reader before, due to time, you've gained a reader :) I can sympathise - your whole life changes when you have a child and nobody can prepare you for that. You can never predict how big life changes with alter things. I never thought I'd all but stop writing when I split up from my husband but I realised years later that I wrote because I was unhappy, it was an escape. Now I'm happy I don't have that drive to write anymore. I do write occasionally but it is for very specific reasons. I'm sure you'll get back to it but don't be surprised if 10 years go by and your still wondering when you'll get time to write -eek!

Patsy said...

Yes, life is full of interuptions – but if it wasn't we wouldn't have much to write about, would we?