When Mummy goes to work in the morning, we explain to the three year-old that Mummy is writingwritingwriting. He’s used to it. He can spot Mummy’s book on Amazon and finds it normal (unlike Mummy). He also knows that while Mummy’s computer is primarily useful for looking at Barney and Sesame Street characters on YouTube (when not watching Japanese trains – he has eclectic YouTube tastes and is already a master with the tracker pad), occasionally it’s needed for writing books.
But Mummy has not been writingwritingwriting recently. Mummy has been PowerPointPowerPointPowerpointing. And it’s not the same thing.
Surely it’s easier to put together forty slides of pretty dresses, summing up everything I know and believe about fashion influences, than to write an actual book with a plot and everything? Well, apparently not.
The past couple of weeks have been surprisingly stressful. Finding the images. Negotiating use of the images. Importing the images, and, most of all, working out what order to put the images in. Like a real presentation with a structure and a point. Like the olden days, when I used to be a management consultant, in fact.
Then I finished the forty slides, filed them, and could get on with working out how book 3 is going to pan out. I wrote over 2,700 words today. They just flooded onto the page. Plottingplottingplotting. Complicated stuff. Four characters with developing lives and deep emotional journeys to make. Two continents. Twists and turns. And more of those dresses. I only stopped because the clock said 5 and that means tea-time and if Mummy isn’t home with the Barney machine, there’s trouble.
I should have been exhausted. I was elated. I skipped round the house and did useful things for the next four hours with a smile on my face.
Mummy likes writing very much. It’s complicated and tiring and not always easy. She’s seen all sorts of problems that need serious attention and she can’t wait to sort them out. She’s started to be schizophrenic again: seventeen year-old fashion maven by day, fish finger deliverer by night. Her rucksack is seriously heavy as she lugs the Barney machine, her notebooks, power cable, snacks, Grazia and the rest of it across the Common to the library. She’s got a twinge in her back.
But she’s happy again. Not writing has been deeply stressful. Much more tiring than actually doing it. Now she’s back in the familiar pattern. Yay yay yay!