Sunday, 4 October 2009

Writing versus welding

My car just failed its MOT in a it'll-need-welding-for-that sort of a way.

I can pretend it's cool to the kind of writer who drives a car with wing-mirrors held in place with black duct-tape. It means I'm a rebel with style. Well no, it's means I'm a writer and getting the wing-mirrors fixed when they've been broken by wanton vandalism ranks lower than getting the new tyres, or the wielding, done.

So after crowing about how easy it is to make my deadlines, I'm going to spend a lot of time tomorrow running between welders and garages - if they will give me appointments - to try and get the car fixed.

But how lucky you are, I hear many of you cry. I'm stuck in the office all day and I can never be home to see the repairman/go to the garage/run out for the mother in law's forgotten birthday present. Well, no, you can't. But then all the time you're sitting in your wee office you expect Mr/Ms Boss to be putting money into your bank account. I don't deliver I don't get money.

And here's one of the essential conundrums of being a writer, if you're working from home you end up dealing with all the home stuff and while you're dealing with the home stuff you're not earning the money to pay for it. Now, my partner doesn't drive, so I couldn't ask him to do the running around with the car, but even if I did his employer wouldn't let him out. The employer would argue, quite rightly, that he's paid to be within the office walls alleviating the sobs of people whose tech has just broken down in office hours.

However, try as I might to argue with the garage that they need to stay open late to let me do a full day's writing before having to dash out and pick the car up, they don't agree. I have the same trouble with the Emperor's school. All these places are so fixated on working only the hours between nine and five/three. Of course, everyone who has ever tried to get a dentist appointment or get to the store before they sell out of shoes/milk/the-latest-must-have-MacGuffin-that-their-kid-absolutely-must-have-or-the-universe-will end knows the feeling of frustration, but throw in the parenting and the self-employed aspects of being a writing Mum and boy - there are times when I feel like hitting my head off the table for half and hour just so I can feel the relief when I stop.

It's this kind of juggling that sees me writing at my desk when everyone else in the world is enjoying a post-prandial glass of something special.

It is, of course, my own fault for choosing such a deliciously precarious career, but next time you go round to a struggling writer's house and see they haven't hoovered for three weeks cut them a break and make them a cup of tea for once. Better yet, bring a bottle of wine with you and a spare cup of time.

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