Summer Holidays Week 1

Planning the Hell out of this Holiday!

Planning the Hell out of this Holiday!

It’s Day Six of the Summer Holidays and we’re all still here.

I have a plan and I’m sticking to it. It helps that I had Friday alone to write – that’s part of this year’s survival plan.

I can’t give up writing for the summer, much as I want to be that kind of parent: Last year I didn’t write properly again until January.

This is how the holidays are panning out so far:

Homemade Messenger Bag and Purse

Homemade Messenger Bag and Purse

Day 1:

Son at nursery, so daughter requested that we spend a day doing sewing on the machine.

We went to the knitting shop and bought three fat quarters (who knew material was soooo expensive!) and found an easy pattern online.

I have to do these activities early on in the holidays when my patience bucket is at its fullest.

Even so, I made the green purse by myself while my daughter did cartwheels. But she did help with the bag, including pressing it and gluing on the jewels.

Monopoly abandoned when crying started

Monopoly abandoned when crying started

Day 2:

Day started with Monopoly, followed by a trip to the Opticians (where daughter screamed the place down. Sigh), then to the sweetie shop and to a local garden centre to hear a friend play in the local festival.

A delicious lunch of pizza and ice cream followed, and I was feeling like a really good parent. Until we got home to pick up the swimming things and son and I fell out big style. I wouldn’t let him sit in the car without a t-shirt because I didn’t want the seat belt to cut him. He sulked and then asked if I was ready to apologise for being rude (or words to that effect).

Result: I exploded!

Ten minutes of screaming and ranting about ungrateful children etc etc. Sigh. We went swimming two hours later, but only so I could wear them out.

Day 3: Raining, but a good day because both children went to nursery!

Even though my daughter is too old now, the staff love her. My son’s keyworker was as excited as my daughter, and she invited her two daughters in to play too! A great day for all.

I wrote 8,000 words and still got the house ready for visiting rellies.

Day 4: Visiting rellies arrived overnight. I managed to stay awake until midnight to greet them. I also put a loaf on to cook at 7 a.m. and presented a breakfast suitable for Italians at 9 a.m. Then karate at 11 a.m. No idea what we did in the afternoon, slept probably. I still seem to be doing a lot of that this year!

Day 5: Invited my parents to lunch, so went for a run at 9 a.m. rather than cleaning the house. Bored of trying to keep the pigsty tidy already. Walked the dog and took kids to the supermarket to burn off some energy. It’s still raining. Cooked curry (dropped a whole jug of curry sauce all over the floor and DIDN’T CRY, despite taking my meds late on Friday. I did growl at the kids for spilling ink all over the table, but I’m only human.) and crumble and watched the kids pretend to be in a band. Slept from 4-6 p.m. Detecting a theme here…

Dog in her happy place

Dog in her happy place

Day 6: Pyjama Day planned, so I could do more writing. The dog got the hang of relaxing, and I slept curled up with her for an hour, but the children don’t really understand how it works.

Kept shooing them away, and we lasted until lunchtime, although the children ended up with me while I worked, so not sure how much I got done.

Quite proud of my latest story though – Moon Pony – and now just need to find someone to read it!

Pyjama Pancake Picnic in the Playroom

Pyjama Pancake Picnic in the Playroom

Lunch ended up being a pancake picnic in the playroom because I’ve given up trying to feed them healthy food already.

The fridge is empty and so is the fruitbowl. I’ve thrown away twice as much as they’ve eaten. I miss school meals when I didn’t have to know whether they ate or not.

We’re now heading off to the park because it’s finally stopped raining and I need to get us out the house. My son is running around in his waterproofs (which happen to be pink because he’s wearing his sister’s) yelling, “Super Pink! Super Pink!”

Only 38 more days to go. Not that I’m counting.

Making Butterflies

Today I made butterflies.

It seemed the only productive thing to do, and they look pretty.

Sometimes when my brain is full or aching or lost I find it soothing to sew things. I am rubbish at sewing, but I like having my hands busy and my mind blank. Well, never blank, but drifting, if you know what I mean.

I seem to have reached a crisis point in my life; a quiet creeping sort of crisis that has fallen on me like fog, rather than crashing into my life like a runaway train in a disaster movie as my crises normally do. It is a fog with all sorts of horrible things lurking in it. I hate horror.

All the things I have struggled with my whole life seem to have come crunching together this week. My lack of confidence and self-belief have crunched against my delusional confident sense of self. A see-saw of I’m a crap writer, I can write, I’m a crap writer, I can write. Alongside that, my lazy self is yelling at my hardworking persona. My lazy self says It’s good enough, just move on. My hardworking persona says; you know that’s rubbish. The whole thing needs tearing apart and putting back together again. My Mummy self says, give it up and focus on the children. My working self says; you gotta earn some cash.  My sensible self says, well you aint going to do that writing, which prompts the realistic voice to pipe up; best get a proper job if money is what you want.

In the end I arrive at the same point I have reached many times in my life. I want someone else to tell me what to do. So I read some blogs, some books, a load of web pages. I read the helpful feedback on my blog and on other blogs.

And then I go slightly crazy.

They say being a writer is a lonely business, but once you tentatively reach out to the internet, there are a million voices, all offering advice. I started listening to those voices sometime last week, and now my ears are ringing worse than tinnitus.

So I asked myself, what do I want? And here are my answers, in the order they came to me:

1. I want to make money

2. I want positive feedback from my endeavours

3. I want to write

Now even in my delusional state I know that those three things are in the wrong order, and actually the middle one shouldn’t be there at all.

I know that the only way to write anything worth reading is to do it because you are passionate about it, not for financial gain.

I know that if you rely on glowing reviews to give you confidence you are destined to be miserable forever.

I know that very very few people make a living out of writing.

I know all those things as facts, but I cannot change the way I feel. I cannot still the voice that wants those three things. And because those three things are, essentially, mutually exclusive, I am frozen.

Do I go back to attempting to write Mills & Boon, as the way most likely to provide an income, if I can hit upon the style of writing they are happy with?

Do I sign up to a course, such as the HTRYN that has been recommended to me, to beat my current WIP into shape, fixing all the things I know that are wrong with it, such as lack of a decent main character (It needs  lots of work to be the novel I know it can be)?

Do I tidy my novel up around the edges and keep sending it out to agents, hoping to get lucky because, hey, I’ve read a lot worse?

Or do I pack it all in for another year, as I did when my son was born, and focus instead on being the Mummy I should be, rather than the Writer I want to be?

I have no answers.

In the meantime, I will keep making butterflies. At least the kids agreed, when they got home, that they are pretty.