Writing blind, running wet

Being self-employed is a world away does not equal working from home. And the sooner your author accepts this, the easier his life will become.

This week was my first week of supposed ‘freedom’. It’s been exhausting. And I haven’t written a single creative word. Although on Thursday I did utter some fairly creative words when I tasted the mystery substance that I had spooned into our dinner in the spirit of cross-cupboard-shelf diversity and exploration. Some lids are simply meant to be left sealed, kids.
I’m tired. Exhausted, in fact. Partly a stress hangover, partly not managing my time and sleep properly. I guess learning how to keep ongoing clients in time-windows is one of the first things I’ll need to master. And this will become more important as I start working with other people. I still find it slightly odd that I can (and have) pick up work simply by writing, talking and making people laugh.

I also have to learn how to re-integrate running into my life. I raced yesterday, for the first time since October. I haven’t been to the gym or done any significant running for a month. Since I came back from Devon I’ve been doing ‘morning pages’ (bar this week) when I would normally be down the gym and working silly hours trying to make the transition to self-employment manageable. I was nearly three minutes down on my time from the same race last year, and my legs are really stiff today.

It’s an odd race, running round a rowing lake. On the one hand, it’s as flat as a flat thing – on the other you spend at least 50% of the race running into a serious headwind, and yesterday it was cold and raining too. I tried to stick with the sub-45minute pacers for the first couple of kilometres and then simply caved when I met the wall of weather on one of the ‘return’ legs. I’ve been racing faster more or less continuously for two years now (albeit infrequently), so it was mentally a bit of a struggle to not pull out when I realised that I wouldn’t punch in a good time. However, I wheezed on, and dragged my sorry and wet backside round in 47.30ish. Sometimes it’s just about putting a marker down.

But the misery was good for me. And F enjoyed herself, which is always good to see. It’s made me look at my diary a bit harder, and I booked in for a couple of races later in the year – sadly the marathon I wanted to do is full, but there’s a half at the end of September where I will attempt sub 95, and a ‘revenge’ 10k in four weeks time where I will hopefully go sub 44. I’ve also looked up West 4 Harriers for the umpteenth time. Maybe I’ll join. Next week.

What else? The week has involved a couple of 13 hour days, two three-hour meetings, a re-discovery of poetry, seeing a phenomenal film on Sky (not a phrase you hear often) – Blindness, based on the Saramago novel (Nobel prize winner 1998) which is both deeply unpleasant and thought-provoking watch and a much more harrowing read (I’m told). When not watching adult Lord of the Flies-dystopia we also harvested our first ever cauliflower from the garden. And I had a haircut.

Yes, it’s been a real mongrel of a week. Lowlights – wrestling with email settings trying to get my iMac, Macbook and phone to leave my work stuff alone; no writing; being ineligible for both membership of the Society of Authors and the BBC Short Story Prize (but next year, my friends, next year…); the 9km marker at Dorney Lake. Highlights: meeting a prospective client at the National Gallery; F making something cool on her sewing machine; buying a ludicrously expensive audio recorder for no justifiable reason (other than to fill one entry in the Accounts software I also purchased for no reason other than to annoy myself).

So. Dull update, sorry folks. But next week is a new set of challenges. I’ve blocked out every minute of every day. And first up is the final edit on God’s Cobbler. Be excellent to each other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *