This past week has been a week of two halves for me as far as writing is concerned.
Before the weekend, I was really finding myself struggling with the inevitable juggling that comes with being a stay-at-home mum to a toddler as well as an aspiring novelist. The edit itself was going brilliantly – I seem to have way more clarity this time round, noticing things that passed me by as I worked on the second draft and having no qualms about cutting things that I can now see are unnecessary. I’m also really enjoying elaborating where it’s needed, and I definitely feel as though the characters are springing into life much more convincingly as a result. In fact I’m enjoying it so much that actually I wanted nothing else but to hole up with my manuscript and my computer and just get on with it – let myself get lost in the words and the world I have created with them, just work and work until it’s done. And this is precisely where the problem lies.
Because I can only really work in chunks of a couple of hours at a time. If I’m lucky I’ll get two of those in a day, whilst Arthur’s napping in the sling and I can focus all my energies on the novel. More often it’s just one though – and sometimes not even that.
I know that I am incredibly lucky to be spending so much time with my little man. And I want to make sure that I make the most of it – that I’m truly present when we’re hanging out together. I worry sometimes that he’s missing out on the range of activities he’d get from being at nursery or with a childminder, so as well as the music and drama and gymnastics classes we go to I’m trying to find time to do arts and crafts together, to get outside as much as we can. And I think I’m getting there – but always swirling around with all of this is the desire to be writing, to be working on the edit. And the worry that maybe it just isn’t possible to juggle it all, that I’m going to have to admit defeat on one front or another. And that I really don’t want to do.
But then, just as my brain was about to explode, one of my oldest, bestest friends arrived for a visit with her family. Entertaining Arthur took care of itself – her older daughter is only a month younger than him, and it was lovely to watch them spend some quality time getting to know each other. She has a five-month-old too, who Arthur was completely rapt with, revealing a gentle, nurturing side to him that I haven’t really seen before. And us adults got to have lots of much-needed grown-up chats, about how hard it all was but how much we were loving it. And I remembered that it’s ok for the juggle to feel like a struggle sometimes and that I really should cut myself a bit of slack in my quest to be the perfect mum.
So whilst it’s now halfway through the week and the edit has remained untouched since Friday, I’m feeling pretty good about it all. My enthusiasm actually meant that I’d got through more than I’d thought I would before the enforced and much-appreciated break, and I reckon that if I can find a bit of extra time over the weekend I can make up for the time I’ve missed.
The chapter that’s currently staring at me from my desk, waiting for my scribbles before I rehash it in the electronic draft, is one of the most crucial overall. So I’m glad my head is a little less full as I turn my thoughts towards it.
And on that note, I had better stop my ruminations here and make the most of the rest of this nap. This edit won’t write itself after all.