Monday, 18 July 2016

On being a mom and a writer - or, the joys of working at home!

It's mid-winter school holidays over here in New Zealand. Weather wise, I can't complain. Winter holidays in Scotland meant darkness, snow, black ice and freezing your backside off anytime you set foot outside the door! Winter in North Island, New Zealand, means the odd rainy day, wearing a cardigan (instead of a coat) and posting pics of frost on Facebook if you happen to get any! In fact, now that I think about it, Winter in North Island NZ is closer to summer in Glasgow... :)

Anyway, enough about the weather. The kids are off school for two weeks and I'm trying to work around them. It isn't going well. My eleven year old keeps interrupting me with random questions like: "Who invented the first engine? How do you make light-bulbs? Where does color come from?" Meanwhile, my six year old just comes into my office every five minutes to fill me in on what she's doing: "This thing happened with the Barbies, mum, it's so funny..." (For the record, it's NEVER funny!)

So far this week, I've rewritten the same sentence more times than I can count (and it still doesn't make sense) and I managed to change the name of the hero in my current manuscript to Lego without realizing.

my office whiteboard has become an art board

Meanwhile, the mess that has taken over the house - from toys, art materials, clothes and empty snack boxes - is beginning to encroach on my office. Yesterday, I threw myself onto my desk chair only to jump back up again in agony - there was a pile of Lego on the seat. When I got up to get something from my printer, I tripped over roller skates and hit my head on the wall. All my colored pens have mysteriously disappeared, along with my sticky tape, blue tack and post-it notes - I suspect they're in one of the "art piles" throughout the house.

The kitchen table has become art central

To help out, hubby has taken time off work this week to keep the kids occupied while I write. He's doing this by changing the water tap in the kitchen sink... Yeah, his time off has been swallowed by a new DIY project. He turned off the mains water supply to the house yesterday and it hasn't been turned on yet. There are words coming out from under the sink that the kids shouldn't hear - thankfully, they're in Dutch and going over their tiny heads right now. I'm waiting for him to throw in the towel and call the plumber. I love my husband. He's great at many things. DIY isn't one of them! We're talking about the man who has fallen through the same spot in our ceiling three times. The man who rewired the garage in the last house and we couldn't sell the place until we got a professional in to fix everything he'd done. The same man who destroyed the chicken coop while chopping down trees... yeah, that man! And do the kids ask him what he's doing under the sink? No. They come into my office and ask me!!!  

a very happy hubby currently destroying the kitchen

On top of all this, the kids are giving me writing advice. My six year old thinks there should be more words like "and" and "the" in my sentences. She also thinks I don't know how to use full stops. My eleven year old is totally convinced that I'd have a better chance at literary success if I just wrote more Harry Potter books. I've explained that I didn't write them in the first place (I wish!) and that I can't just take up where Rowling left off. Her advice was to change the names and set it in New Zealand. She's sure it will be a big hit. Plus, she tells me, I don't need to put any of that soppy kissing stuff in them...

So that's it. I write around the chaos all day long, stealing a sentence here and there in amongst discussions on plumbing, Lego, Barbie and how to use their various art materials. When everyone eventually goes to sleep at night, I fix everything I did during the day! I estimate that I'm getting about one useful sentence a day written right now. And I'm pretty sure that's better than average for most writing mothers! Only one more week of chaos to go... :)

the hall wall has been turned into a freeze full of aliens and planets (yet unfinished!)
p.s. in the time it's taken to write this post, I've admired an ambitious art project, showed shock over how little water the hot water tank actually holds, explained how blue-tack works, been a plumber's assistant and cut out aliens from card - and it isn't even lunch time yet!

1 comment:

  1. Hubby successfully changed the kitchen sink tap! It'a a miracle. I told him I would update you about his success. Encouraged by it, he's now decided to swap out the shower stall... not sure about this one! :D