20 Sep Why Writers Need a Cave
|Where books are getting written & too many Doritos are getting consumed.|
The other day a massive truck delivered a (rather hideous) orange and green box to my yard. My very own, brand new, writing office. A portable rental unit. “Surprise!” said the Hot Man. I can neither confirm nor deny whether I jumped up and down, screamed, did a celebratory dance of excitement on the front lawn with lots of uncool, unrehearsed moves. But the day got even better. We then went to Warehouse, made the most of their office equipment sale and returned with my very own, brand new desk, shelving, filing cabinets and other assorted super-cool writer gear. I then spent the next few hours setting up my office with the enthusiastic assistance of the Fab5. Bella kept bringing me stuff she thought would add to the writing ambience…a broken necklace to hang on my shelf, her teddy bear, a Dora coloring book ‘for when you get bored’, a bag of half-eaten chips ‘for when you get hungry’… She also kept making emphatic suggestions, “Dada, you need to get a fountain that sticks in the wall and Mama can turn it on and Diet Coke comes out!” ( This child knows me well.) And, “Dada, where is the toilet? Make Mama a toilet so she dont have to walk up the stairs inside the house to go pee. Cos the toilet is so far away she might have a accident.” (Umm, thank you for that helpful thought…I’m sure I can make it to the bathroom just fine…) Indeed the child’s helpfulness was generally driving me nuts and I was just begging for her to please GO AWAY and leave me in my nice new office by MYSELF!
This new (ugly orange box) cave marks a very significant milestone in my writing journey. I am now a bona fide, full-time, professional writer. Writing is not a hobby. Or a guilty pleasure. It is a real job that helps earn money to support my family. I am no longer stealing minutes and hours here and there from housework, childcare and scoping out random pics of SBW. I am not sleepless, writing words in a sleeping house on the quiet side of midnight because now – I go inside my office at 9am and finish work at 5pm. And then I shut the office door and leave my writing behind. The evenings and the weekends now belong with the Fab5 and the Hot Man.
In the past twelve months, I have published three books, gone to book launches in three different countries, signed hundreds of books for awesome readers at fabulous book signing events, been a guest speaker at conferences, workshops, schools and libraries all over the place, stumbled through lots of media interviews, and generally felt like a madwoman trying not to fall off a treadmill that’s going at Usain Bolt speed. It’s been a breathless, frantic twelve months with many highs – most of them because of YOU the fabulous readers and enthusiastic supporters.
But it has also been a breathless, frantic twelve months with many lows. Because my marriage and my children have borne the brunt of most of the crazy schedule that I keep. And they have paid the price for most of the exhausting days and sleepless nights. The Hot Man and I came very, very close to calling it quits on this wild ride called marriage. Some things had to change. My writing cave is more than just a box with beautiful office furniture. It represents a move in my life towards better balance, organization and structure. It makes a clear separation between work and family. It was the bestest surprise present the Hot Man could have given me because, as he asked for more time and attention to be given to family – he at the same time – said, Your writing, your work is important to me, to us. I believe in your dreams and I support them.
I love my work. Writing is my passion. And I have so many stories waiting to be written, so many characters that are waiting to find their place in a book. And now, I can live in my writing world for eight hours, five days a week. Write the next book in the Telesa Trilogy. And know that my family are okay with it.
Now, if I could just get one of those automatic Child-Freeze ray zap guns so Bella would stop knocking on the door every five minutes….