I’ve not been a published author that long in the grand scheme of things. Sure, I’ve always been a writer, but that was just for fun. There were no deadlines or contracts or readers emailing demanding to know when the next book is coming. These days, it’s a job. The best freaking job in the world, admittedly, but a job all the same.
Now, getting this job done can sometimes feel like a breeze. You sit down at your desk and inspiration comes so fast, your fingers struggle to keep up. Incidentally, Microsoft Word, when I write ‘teh’, you know exactly what I’m getting at, so enough with the nonsense, yeah?
These are the best days to be a writer – days free of distraction, when you can really concentrate and immerse yourself in the work.
I don’t get many days like that any more though, because just over a year ago, I became a dad.
Now yes, I was aware of that Cyril Connolly quote, ‘There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall’, but I didn’t take it seriously. I was all, ‘Whatevs, Cizza. We’ll keep the pram in the porch so it won’t apply to me. Plus, no-one has ever accused me of making ‘good art’. I’ll be fine.
Well, to say it has been challenging since the birth of our son is an understatement. I usually get a bit of writing done first thing before I head off to the day job, but where I used to get a good five hundred words done, sometimes a thousand on a good day, now I’m lucky if I can get a couple of sentences down.
For those of you who have never had kids, the only way you can replicate it is to try writing a book whilst locked in a room with an angry gnome.
I’ll be sitting on the sofa desperately bashing words out when I have to stop and gently tease the laptop cable out of the little darling’s mouth before he electrocutes himself.
Then he’ll make a grab for my cup of tea (which I have about a 60% chance of saving) before whacking the keyboard a few time354y688gg##’l[[[s.
And as weird as it sounds, the quiet moments are even more unnerving because who knows what he could be doing? Eating dog treats he’s weedled out of the cupboard? Picking up a piece of toast from my plate and smushing it into the dog’s face? Escaping and recreating mediocre 90s comedy Baby’s Day Out? The mind boggles.
My attempts when I get home from work meet with a similar fate and it is only once the little man is tucked up in bed that I can get some serious work done. This means I have to work extra efficiently. Much less procrastination. Nobbing about on Facebook has had to be cut to the bone. Sometimes I’m like the 30th ‘u ok hun’ on a ‘grrr so angry rite now’ status, but it’s a sacrifice I’ve had to make.
Now, I know I sound like I’m complaining, so I should say this: being a Dad is the best. I spend most of my time laughing at the little bugger as he waddles around like a cross between John Wayne and Douglas Bader. Every milestone is a joy – his first tooth, his first laugh, the first time he weed right in my face while I changed his nappy. Then laughed. It’s all great.
And yes, writing two books a year whilst being a dad, a husband and holding down another job is a struggle, but it’s all worth it. In fact, it’s all made me so time-efficient that I’ve even managed to have a new author photo done.
So that’s it from me for another month. If you’d like to see an even more vivid depiction of parenthood vs creativity, you should check out my video. See you soon!