Over the last two weeks, it’s been a busy time for me with the day job which involves travelling all over Scotland. I’m an all or nothing kinda girl so I realised that I might have to put my WIP on hold whilst I concentrated on giving my work commitments 100%.
Also, my brain isn’t big enough to jump from training teachers in a numeracy programme to instantly switching to writing fiction. But ever the optimist, while I was on the road and staying away from home, I packed my notebook and laptop in case inspiration struck. However, the reality was that I was just too tired at the end of the day to feel creative.
One of the worst journeys I’ve ever encountered was a trip to Oban when I drove on completely untreated roads to battle through the snow. Between Callander and Tyndrum I forgot to breathe I was so tense. I still don’t know how my trusty wee beetle didn’t end up in a ditch like many cars I passed or stuck on a hill like the lorries littering the road. I drove the 100 miles with white knuckles and in 2nd gear most of the way, arriving at my hotel like a washed out dish cloth.
Imagine my disappointment to be given the smallest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in complete with its own distinctive stale soup ‘aroma’ at no extra cost. Thankfully, I’d packed my slippers as I wasn’t chancing a meet and greet between my feet and the dodgy carpet. The grim view of the fire escape did nothing to enhance a wet Wednesday night in Oban and the tired décor transported me back to the 80’s. Then there was the dog yapping in a room down the corridor and next door’s telly blaring. Inspiration had not checked into room 201 with me. It was a long restless night…
Awake most of the night, it gave me time to think. I’m in awe of the fact that Chekhov practised as a doctor throughout most of his literary career and said, “Medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress.” But I’m most definitely not one of the greatest writers of short stories in history and had absolutely no energy whatsoever for getting down and dirty with my WIP at the end of a hard day.
But I missed writing. I didn’t have the shakes but I did feel withdrawal symptoms of frustration. The only consolation is that I compensated for neglecting my WIP by reading more instead so that was a bonus. I’ve just finished one of the best books I’ve read in ages – Snowdrops by A.D. Miller. I was totally hooked from page one by the evocative descriptions of Moscow and the flawed characters in this fascinating psychological thriller.
So there are positives and negatives in every situation. The good news is that my diary is clear of work commitments for the near future so there’s no excuse for me not to get stuck into my WIP again. The bad news is that being self-employed means that no day job shifts is not good financially. But as Oprah says, “You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.”
Have you ever experienced writing withdrawal symptoms? Do you ever feel annoyed if you’re not able to work on your WIP? Or do you keep writing no matter what else is going on around you?