Learning to row and little ones growing up

Turns out rowing is in my family’s blood!

I must apologise for my prolonged silence. When my babies were born a childminder I met said, “As a parent of very young children your world will shrink to a tiny point where the only things that matter are whether they eat and sleep and are happy. As they grow older you will begin to remember that there’s a whole other world out there.”

As my son’s second birthday approaches (this Friday – I can’t believe it) that prophecy has become true. All of a sudden I have re-joined the human race. As a result, some things – like my writing and this blog – have been forced into the background, despite my best intentions that that wouldn’t happen. I’m particularly concerned that I have entered my young-adult novel Dragon Wraiths into the Mslexia competition without the final draft being completely finished. I’m taking a gamble that I’ll be able to at least fix any continuity errors before I might have to submit the full manuscript, which they estimate as being in November for the short list. To be honest I don’t really expect to make the short list so it will be a nice dilemma to have.

For those paying attention to my on-going ramblings about my young adult book I have had to forgo entering the Chicken House competition, as the final first draft came in a third over their word count limit of 80,000. I’m not an enthusiastic (or experienced) enough editor to lop off thirty-five thousand words in a month.

So what have I been doing in the real world?

Learning to row

I married into a family of rowers and always vowed I would learn one day. I vowed I’d learn Italian too (my husband is half-Italian) but that’s proving more tricky. My husband planned to teach me to row after our second child was born, but a premature baby and postnatal depression put paid to that idea.

Then this summer our local Adult Education brochure arrived and I read it cover to cover, as I always do. I’m an academic junkie as well as always being on the lookout for local Italian classes. No joy on that front but there was a five-week Ladies Only Learn to Row course. Fate.

I changed the kids’ nursery days, swore my husband to secrecy, and signed up. Three weeks in and I’m loving it: Now I can actually propel the boat without facing the prospect of a cold bath that is. The first two weeks were HARD. My brain wasn’t used to concentrating for two hours at a time and I got very cross with my lack of coordination. The lady from British Rowing seemed to think I was the antithesis of a natural.

Today, though, the boat flew. It was amazing. I rowed with my eyes closed. Literally. To start out rubbish and get better – to feel myself improve and to get instant feedback (if I sense I’m about to join the ducks I’m doing it wrong) – is exhilarating.

If only writing was like that. Or parenting.

After nearly four years of feeling like a failure it was fantastic to be proud of myself for once.

Little ones growing up

The other thing we’ve been doing this week is looking at primary schools for my daughter. Scary stuff. I’ve thought about where I would like my children to go to school pretty much since my daughter was born. Several of my friends are teachers and my sister moved her family to America partly because of a school she wants them to attend. Education is important.

I think back to the various schools I went to as a child and I can see the different shifts in my personality that came with each one. To make that decision now, when my daughter is not even four and my son (who will hopefully go to the same school) is not quite two, seems madness. Thankfully we are blessed with an array of great state schools around us so the choice is more small village school versus larger town school, and whether to take current friendships into account. No decisions yet. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime I am trying to get my head back into writing, to plod on with editing Dragon Wraiths (harder than I hoped it would be) and writing query letters for Pictures of Love (which I still intend to self-publish but, as I haven’t got time to do the final proof-read at the moment, I may as well rack up a few more rejection letters!)

Have any of you recently sent your first child to school or started a new hobby? What keeps you away from editing and blog writing?

8 thoughts on “Learning to row and little ones growing up

  1. Procrastination and wine keeps me away from my editing and writing! haha How is Dragon Wraiths going? I’m hosting writers on my blog in November and if you were interested I would love for you to be a part of it, all details are on my blog 🙂 have a good day and happy…rowing? I remember dying on those machines. In fact my body is probably still slumped over one.

    • Thank you for asking, Dragon Wraiths is going slowly! My main aim now is to at least get rid of any continuity errors and glaringly awful stuff before November, in the slim chance I am short-listed for the Mslexia thing. I did see the post on your blog for November and I was going to volunteer but I seem to remember you put something about being a regular blogger and I’m still a bit of a fair-weather blogger! If I manage to post once a week it’s more by accident than design…
      Thankfully the rowing I am doing is in a boat with other people, out on the river with swans and fighter jets going overhead! I’m not a big fan of ergo machines, I’m more a running machine person (there’s a new one purchased for my birthday sitting in its box in the garage! Waiting for hubby to put it together as it’s too heavy for me…)
      Have a great day. I’ll pop back to your blog and respond about November…

      • I only put active blogger so people who actually have a blog and want a sense of writing community would submit instead of someone who just likes the idea of just being featured if that makes any sense? I love your blog, you have good content up!

        You row on an actual boat that’s pretty cool. I am in general quite challenged when it comes to all sport so I admire people who can do things. In my head I want to do a marathon but I hope my head will find another idea! haha

      • In which case I would love to be involved with your blog in November in whichever capacity you think is the best fit. It’s lovely to hear that you like some of the content on my blog: It’s nice to get feedback!

        My husband is the really sporty one (black-run skiing, competitive rowing, mountain biking, you name it, he’s done it – though mostly before he met me and got lazy!). My main thing is hiking but we live in the flattest part of the country now and it’s just too dull. I’ve always fancied doing a marathon, or at least a half-marathon, but I don’t think my knees would manage it. We have bought the treadmill because it’s kinder on the knees, but I do hope to at least manage a 10km run one day. That would be something for me!! Rowing so far seems to be more about timing and concentration than physical effort but that’s probably because they’re taking it easy while we learn!

      • If I had to be sporty at something it would have to be hiking because I don’t notice it as exercise, lol. How do you feel about doing a guest post on something relating to writing since you won’t be doing NaNo? I had to miss NaNo last year so I understand what it’s like to have to resist it. Email me with some topics you are interested in and we’ll go from there 🙂 The plan is to have all November content done in advanced by October 20-25th.

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