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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Trying To Be Superwoman

I believe I’d look terrible in a cape. Imagine the wardrobe functionality problems – you couldn’t wear a skirt with a cape, you’d look like a fool. But, metaphorically speaking anyway, I’ve been donning the famous red cape for about a week now.

It started when I landed a temp job.

Of course I was pleased to finally have some money rolling in but I’d grown accustomed to a somewhat lazy routine over my two months of unemployment. I woke up around ten-thirty for Pop Master on Radio 2. I grabbed some porridge and caught up with Twitter, Facebook, BBC News – all the usual suspects. Then, as Jeremy Vine’s current affairs programme came on at twelve, I was ready to write.

After two hours of pottering around with my WIP I’d either go out for a coffee or spend a few hours reading. Add in a bath and dinner with the Gilmore Girls and we came towards the evening. Then I really woke up. Unfortunately, I’m a night-owl. If I sat down at my machine from nine onwards I could rattle off more words in a night than if you’d sat me down for a week of sunny afternoons. I think the daylight gets to me; I’m a regular little vamp. I would usually write until two or three o’clock then fall into a troublesome slumber filled with my characters yelling at me on several occasions.

Then came the job.

Suddenly I was expected to be up at half-six again. Fine, I thought, no problem. I’ll just curtail the amount of words I get done in a night. However, my expectations were a little difficult to reconcile with reality. At first, I was alright. I stuck to 1000 words for last Tuesday and Wednesday, 2000 for Thursday. Each time I just about hit the pillow before midnight. After a weekend away I decided to make my Monday count – 3000 words would be written between my getting home and going to sleep.

I worked like a madwoman (lucky this is only a first draft) but hit my target. As a reward I thought I’d give myself Tuesday off. I got home from work and… nothing. I felt useless; I had no point to my evening. I filled it with one episode each of Gilmore Girls, The Bill and Glee; a little reading; a lot of faffing around. I went to bed feeling distinctly unsatisfied with my night. I’d even written 600 words when I vowed not to!

Either I’ve lost the ability to relax or writing is my relaxation. The latter idea isn’t so bad but it is a bit problematic: I’m still happier with the stuff I write as the night draws on. I could walk around like a zombie all day and achieve a respectable word count or I could waste my evenings, still have trouble sleeping and spend the next day completely dissatisfied with my accomplishments.

Answers on a postcard?

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